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Taking the long drive home

There’s a song by Jim Malcolm, Losin’ Auld Reekie, which follows in the notable tradition of wistful, somewhat melancholic and yet not quite sad, singing about places and scenes in the home country. It charts a driver’s decision (implicitly, Malcolm himself as he leaves Edinburgh and its busy, business-oriented music scenes behind) to take the “lang way home”, whereby instead of taking the more direct route from North Queensferry up the M90 via Perth and Dundee to get to Forfar (short of 2 hours), they take a lengthy route along country roads, driving through a number of Scottish towns.

The drive sounds quite charming, and I’ve been meaning for years to give it a go one idle afternoon… though charting it on a map, it turns out they really, *really* took the long way, winging significantly west for the first half, and on the final lap, arcing much further north than one would expect to go through Kilry (if I transcribed the song correctly!). I would in fact have to consider giving it a full day’s worth, just to be sure I don’t roll in to forfar past dinner time!

So unlike our traveler, I *won’t* be holding out for a Forfar bridie the whole way !

I drew up a map, each red X is a place the traveler seems to have driven through, the blue X’s marking places mentioned, but not traversed. The last parts of Sma’ Glen, Amulree and Dunkeld look as though they were indeed driven through, though it is merely implied.

So what would I do on this trip? Well, in the spirit of the song, I would say it is about enjoying the ride. I might take a film camera to be old fashioned about it with two or three rolls of film, and take a few pics at each named destination, plus anything nice on the way, as well as a guitar should I be able to chance a song or two at my stops along the way.

And maybe I’ll make a point of baking some bridies before I set off.

Here’s the music video, and I’ve made some brief annotations on references in the song lyrics, as well as on some of the quintessentially Scottish words and curios, for those not attuned to the dialect.

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