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Return to Muck tells of Marg’s experiences as a solo, older woman traveller in some lesser-known Scottish islands in the Inner and Outer Hebrides. On a budget, she mostly stays in hostels and bunkhouses, travels by car within the islands (except Muck) but takes no carbon-emitting flights.
She walks, wanders and wonders, talks to islanders (age range from 5 to 97); comes across, usually by chance, stunning geographical features, exciting wildlife, ancient stones, folktales and other finds, many of which lead her to research and more discovery. Unusual subject matters include finding the connection between goose barnacles and barnacle geese; learning about Gaelic song; and stumbling across a lighthouse optic in a stately home garden. Two of these ‘finds’ become sources for poems.
From this, an increased creativity emerges, some of which is a natural progression from her poems: that of composing songs and teaching them at other island schools as well as the Muck school.
She bases the lyrics of these songs on a folktale pertaining to the particular island, thus allowing the pupils to express themselves musically and learn about their local folklore at the same time. She describes her own experiences of teaching the songs.
This book offers a perspective only a lone woman traveller can give. It can serve both as a memento to those who know the islands well, and provide an introduction for anyone who has yet to discover them, especially those who yearn to travel alone.
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