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15 May 2018

Neil Oliver shares what he loves about Scotland

Written by Neil Oliver
Neil Oliver, President at the Trust
Neil Oliver, President at the Trust
With our ‘For the love of Scotland’ campaign underway, Trust President Neil Oliver writes about his passion for Scotland. ​

What moves me most about Scotland is the great depth of history. Our landscapes have been touched and shaped by humankind for many thousands of years.

By now, in fact, there’s surely not a rock or a shoreline or a mountain that does not bear our mark or those of our ancestors, however faint. And all of that time, the land has cradled us and ours. We are bound to Scotland by ancient ties.

I think I became an archaeologist because I feel all of that very deeply. From the ephemeral traces of hunter gatherers who moved across the landscape, to the castles of the Middle Ages and right up to the present day, this place is our handiwork and, more than that, it’s our responsibility.

I grew up in a family that spent a lot of time travelling around Scotland. We had our weekends and holidays here - close to home in Dumfriesshire, on island of Arran and in many places further north. With my own family, with our children, we make a point of showing them what’s to be appreciated here.

From my own childhood my memories are almost too numerous to make it possible to choose favourites. I certainly have very clear memories of being at Culloden with my dad when I was about 12. My mum is connected to the Cameron Clan and there’s a picture of me crouched down by the Clan Cameron grave stone. The battlefield is a powerful place that resonates with the echoes of all that happened there.

This year, when we get the chance, it would be my hope to continue what we began when our children were born - showing them the incredible heritage that is all around. The places the Trust takes care of are as much their responsibility as they are the responsibility of all who make a life here and call Scotland home. If I got the chance, I’d take them to Culloden for sure, but there’s all manner of places we’d stop at along the way.

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