‘Reading Haldane has transformed the way I understand the Highlands. He taught me how to follow on foot the routes of the drove roads, and to look for the patches of open ground that would have been the “stances” of the drovers: the resting-places, close to water and on level ground, where the men could sleep and the livestock could graze. And he introduced me to the drovers themselves: these hard men, the long-distance lorry-drivers of their day, accustomed to the boredoms and rigours of their journeys, and equipped with internalized sat-navs of astonishing accuracy. They navigated not from maps but from memories, stories and gossip . . .’
Robert Macfarlane explores the Cairngorms along the well-travelled paths of the drovers – ‘the men who moved livestock through Scotland in the centuries before refrigerated trucks, licensed abattoirs, the A9 and the M80’. His article on A. R. B. Haldane’s The Drove Roads of Scotland was published in Issue 36 of Slightly Foxed, and was illustrated with these Highland cows by Kathleen Lindsley.