This is a (hopefully) final draft of 5000 word essay for my M. Litt Scottish Cultural Heritage course. It does not yet have my list of sources/ references.
Alistair Evoking y Tref - Writing the Landscape
A place owes is character to the experiences it affords to those who spend time there - in turn to the sights, sounds and indeed smells that constitute its specific ambience. And these , in turn depend upon the kinds of activities in which its inhabitants engage. It is from this relational context of people’s engagements with the world, in the business of dwelling, that each place draws its unique significance. [Ingold:1993: 155]
To ask whether reality is intelligible is to ask about the relation between thought and reality. In considering the nature of thought one is led also to consider the nature of language. Inseparably bound up with the question whether reality is intelligible , therefore , is the question of how language is connected with reality, with what it is to say something. [Winch 1958/1990: 18]
I have used the first quotation above ( taken from Ingold’s text The temporality of the landscape) as a starting point for this essay since, in his Prologue, Ingold explains that he is of the school of thought which considers archaeology and social/ cultural anthropology as part of the same ‘intellectual exercise‘. I find this suggested connection useful since it provides me with a series of stepping stones between the critical approaches to the study of ‘culture(s)’ I was exposed to at undergraduate level (BA Religious Studies with Social Anthropology) at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and the graduate level critical approaches explored in the M.Litt. Scottish Cultural Heritage course.
Necessarily, given the gap (17 years) between then and now, I have had to retrace some of my steps before moving forward. In the course of researching this essay I have therefore re-read and attempted to re-construct my knowledge as it was then and find ways to bring that knowledge forward to the point where I can engage more confidently with the aims and learning outcomes of the course. I have also attempted (drawing on Ingold in particular) to reflect critically upon the extent to which my practice as an amateur/ local historian has (or has not) been informed by those aspects of recent archaeological and ‘cultural‘ theory generally which derive and share a common origin with the ‘Rationality’ and ‘Nature/Culture’ debates within social anthropology.
Finally, having retraced my steps , I have found in Winch some very useful guidance, hence the second quotation above. In this quotation Winch is drawing on the later Wittgenstein ( that of Philosophical Investigations: 1953) and the necessity of recognising and respecting the limits of language. However, although I explored the possibility of extending this ’philosophical investigation’ approach to ’writing the landscape’, in my readings and re-readings for this essay [ I have included, in References/ Sources , texts considered for inclusion as well as those actually used] the problem of ’understanding the many modes of discourse’ so revealed emerged as a constraint. As Winch puts it “A mode of discourse has to be understood before anyone can speak of theories and propositions within it.” [1958/1990: 110]. Therefore I have followed the earlier Wittgenstein of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and his (final) Proposition 7:
“What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”
[ Wittgenstein: 1921/ 1961 translation].
The Social Anthropology Debates
Reviewing these debates, it seems fairly clear that whilst they are philosophical in origin, what gave them currency ( and continues to do so) was their situation within the sphere of politics. For British social anthropology in particular, the ‘end of empire’ in the 1960s created problems of legitimacy and purpose. The ‘classic texts’ of British social anthropology ( e.g. Malinowski :Argonauts of the Western Pacific : 1922 and Evans - Pritchard: The Nuer: 1956, both of which were still key texts at SOAS in the late 1980s) were the product of anthropological field work carried out under colonial conditions. Whilst the work of Claude Levi -Strauss (see Knight: 1991 below) could , if only briefly, be associated with the revolutionary idealism of Paris 1968, and hence with the ‘continental’ critical theories as developed by Foucault, Barthes, Kristeva and Derrida, the ‘functionalist’ theory of British social anthropologists could not easily be separated from the strategy of ‘indirect rule’ pursued by the colonial administrators and district officers of the British Empire. [see Thomas: 1994: 107/129 for discussion of how functionalist anthropological theory informed colonial rule in early 20th century Fiji]
So, although Winch in ‘The Idea of a Social Science and its Relation to Philosophy’[ 1958/1990] drew on the later Wittgenstein [Philosophical Investigations: 1953] in his discussion of the concepts of ’understanding and intelligibility’ within the social sciences, the subsequent debate seems to have become polarised along ‘political’ lines, as has the Nature/ Culture debate. I consider However, before proceeding, I will attempt to summarise the positions as I understand them.
The Rationality Debate
This began as a dispute between two philosophers, Peter Winch and Alasdair MacIntyre, in the 1960s. The focus of the dispute was the problem of translation. Winch (following the later ‘ordinary language philosophy of Wittgenstein) suggested that whilst translation between words for objects in different languages is fairly straightforward, can we be sure that the translation of ideas from one language to another is so straightforward ? Winch used ‘cow’ and ‘ghost’ as examples of the problem, illustrating his point by an attempt at translation taking place ‘in Africa’ between a European and a native. The European can point at an animal and say ‘cow‘ and the native can reply with his own word for ‘cow‘. Thus there is translation. But what if the word to be translated is ‘ghost‘? How can one point at a ghost ? How can one be sure that the European’s ‘ghost’ is the same as the African’s ‘ghost’?
Responding to Winch , MacIntyre drew on the work of social anthropologist Evans- Pritchard and his books ‘The Nuer’ (a cattle rearing Sudanese people who had individual names for each of their cows and bulls) and ‘Magic and Witchcraft amongst the Azande’ ( which discussed the Azande people’s ideas about ghosts). The dispute then turned into a philosophical argument about the nature of ’reality’ - e.g. are ’ghosts’ real’ and Evans- Pritchard (and thus the anthropological community) were drawn into the debate. Tambiah [1990:117] provides ( as I subsequently discovered ) a useful summation :
While Evans-Pritchard did subscribe to the notion that there was a context-independent notion of “reality” (the “reality” truth “science” establishes) against which the rationality of Zande notions of witchcraft and magic and oracles could be judged and found wanting, Winch held that there is no reality independent of the language games and forms of life of a given language community/ MacIntyre drives a wedge into Winch position by demonstrating that there is a dialectical and reflexive character to understanding and that the privileging of the native’s categories does not, and cannot, imply the abdication of the investigator’s categories.
To crudely summarise (but see Tambiah:1990: 115/6 for expansion) the ‘Rationality Debate’ the opposing positions as they have developed are:
There is but one possible and universal ‘rationality’ based on that developed historically by ’Western’ / ’Euro-American’ societies and cultures from its origins in ancient Greece.
There are many possible and local ‘rationalities’ which evolved and developed independently in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australasia and even Europe.
The Nature: Culture Debate
This debate within social anthropology has its origins within the work of French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss. Although Levi-Strauss did little in the way of actual anthropological field work, he did ‘revolutionise’ anthropological theory through his analysis of ‘mythology’ . Mythology here meaning the folk-tales, especially the ‘origin’ tales of pre-modern societies and cultures as recorded by anthropologists.
As recorded, such ‘mythologies’ appear incoherent and irrational, but Levi-Strauss argued that they were not. Indeed, he suggested that when critically analysed, they revealed a set of universal ‘structures’ . At the heart of these structures (following Freud) he found an ‘incest taboo’ which distinguishes ourselves as human beings from our pre-human ancestors. The structure Levi-Strauss discerned involved a fundamental distinction between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. In the state of ‘nature’ , he argued, our ancestors had no ‘incest taboo’. Human culture only emerged out of human nature when brothers exchanged rather than slept with their sisters. Levi-Strauss expressed this as :
Nature is to Culture as Kinship is to Marriage
Although this formulation was first set out in Levi-Strauss The Elementary Structures of Kinship in 1949,
Structuralism became fashionable in the 1960s when -as the consequences of the post-war colonial revolution worked through the discipline -social anthropology began seeking new reasons for its existence. Seeming to offer intellectual integrity and lofty, planet-embracing objectivity , the new movement addressed its appeal not to colonial administrators but essentially to western intellectuals attempting to redefine the relationship between their own imperialist, nature-denying, nuclear -age mono-culture and the fast disappearing kaleidoscope of non-industrial cultures of the planet. Promising to make anthropological grand theory a respectable pursuit again , it gained an enthusiastic following within literary circles and amongst many social anthropologists from about 1960 until the mid-70. Concurrent with those political developments which were to culminate in the French revolutionary upheavals of May 1968, structuralism fostered a widespread atmosphere of intellectual excitement and anticipation…
[Knight: 1991: 72]
Knights reference to ‘colonial administrators ‘ above is significant. Although British anthropologists like Evans-Pritchard were not directly engaged in the management of the British Empire, through institutions like the School of Oriental and African Studies their knowledge (gained through field-work) of how individual ‘tribal societies’ functioned was used to control and manage colonial subjects under the imperial strategy of ’indirect rule’. [see Thomas: Colonialism’s Culture: 1994 for details].
However, the same ‘political developments’ of the late 1960s which Knight [ a Marxist anthropologist] describes also gave rise to a politically engaged feminism. By the late 1970s feminist anthropological critiques of Levi- Strauss began to emerge. A key argument was that the role of women in structuralist theory was reduced to that of ‘objects to be exchanged between men’. This seemed to displace women from the possibility of any active role in the creation or construction of ’culture’. When followed through into field-work carried out by feminist anthropologists, the universality of a ‘nature: culture’ divide was questioned. [See MacCormack and Strathern: Nature, Culture and Gender: 1980 for detailed exposition].
Urban is to Rural as Hackney is to Castle Douglas
Whilst Winch and Wittgenstein’s (and I suggest, Ingold’s) concern about the ‘intelligibility of reality’ exists at the level of rather ’difficult’ philosophical discourse, it can also be experienced as part of the discourse of everyday life.
Once a [council housing] estate acquires more than a certain proportion of disadvantaged tenants -perhaps say one-fifth or one-quarter- it can find itself trapped in a descending spiral which may continue until it is demolished or massively rehabilitated. The preponderance of single parent-families with conflicts caused by low income or unemployment weakens parental discipline so vandalism and crime are more prevalent. The atmosphere of demoralization and the culture of silence make it harder to form effective tenants’ organisations to press for maintenance, or for individual tenants to get their own repairs done. The ‘better’ tenants , with higher incomes, savings or skills , or more persistence over getting a transfer , move out and are replaced by more disadvantaged people . The estate acquires a reputation, usually worse than the reality, which discourages those with any hopes for their own future from even viewing a flat there. It is exactly the same sifting process, in miniature, as that which creates and maintains the inner city as a whole. [Harrison: 1983: 227]
Between 1985 and 1995, Hunsdon Estate on Brooke Road in the London Borough of Hackney (the ‘inner city’ borough which Harrison’s book describes) , was as described above. However, as a resident of Hunsdon Estate, I was also aware of its history. The estate was built around 1955 in the grounds of a former ‘lunatic asylum’ (although one much smaller in scale than that of Dumfries’ Crichton) dating from 1758 and which occupied the site of Brooke House. The earliest parts of Brooke House were built around 1476 and it was bought by Henry VIII in 1535, although he rarely stayed there. The ‘brooke’ of its title was the Hackney Brook, one of London’ ‘lost rivers’. [Barton: 1992; for history of Brooke House see http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/tudorhackney/localhistory/lochhy2.asp ]
As I discovered through further local history research, Harrison‘s ‘inner city’ Hackney had its origins in an Anglo-Saxon village built on the western edge of the Lea Valley. In the 12th century, Hackney lay on the edge of a Royal Forest (originally called Waltham Forest , now called Epping Forest) created by Henry 1. Gradually, the better drained, gravel soil areas of Hackney were built on. Large mansions houses were constructed for City of London merchants. As late as 1850, when the North London Railway was built to connect London’s docks with the London and Birmingham and Great Northern Railways, it ran through open countryside and extensive areas of water cress beds. It was not until the development of London’s tram system in the 1880s that the poorly drained clay soils (which make up most of Hackney) were over-laid with miles and miles of cheaply built rows of terraced housing and Hackney was finally absorbed as a working -class suburb of London. Almost immediately it became home to an immigrant community - Eastern European Jews escaping ‘pogroms’. This original Jewish community (some of whom still survive as an ultra-orthodox remnant ) were successively replaced by other immigrant communities so that by 1990 only one third of the population of Hackney had English as a first language. In this context, any notion of new arrivals integrating into a ‘mainstream’ British or English national culture was fantasy. There was no ‘mainstream culture’. Instead there was a confusion of many cultures, no one of which could be claimed as locally ‘authentic’.
In the case of Hackney then, there would seem to be little scope for an archaeologist or local historian to ’read’ or ’write’ Hackney as a ’passive’ or ’timeless’ natural landscape. It would seem to be the very model of a postmodern environment, an unstable place of multiple meanings and many languages. Yet even in Hackney the heritage industry has been at work. Sutton House (built in 1530) on Homerton High Street, which I remember as a punk squat, was reclaimed by the National Trust in 1991 and has since been fully restored complete with an ‘authentic Tudor kitchen’ and wood panelling retrieved from an architectural salvage yard.
To move from Hackney to Castle Douglas (as I did in 1997) is to encounter and experience a very different form of reality. Here the impression is of an unchanging relationship between a natural looking farmed landscape and a town which has grown at no more than a glacial pace from its late 18th century origins as a planned village. In Hackney, 200 000 lived within an area of 8 square miles. Here no more than 5000 people lived within a similar area. In Hackney, the growth of late Victorian housing had occupied every available space, leaving only three public parks and a cemetery as open green spaces. In Castle Douglas, the equivalent expansion had extended the built up area by only a few hundred yards along the main roads.
This contrast between Hackney and Castle Douglas intrigued me. In Hackney any attempt to continue its local history beyond the point reached by Harrison in 1983 seemed impossible and indeed I never even attempted to move from the research phase to the writing phase. The reality of Hackney was simply too ’fragmented’ to be reconstructed as local history. But surely here in Castle Douglas it should be possible to achieve such a reconstruction, to trace and follow the interaction of the various environmental, social, economic, political and historic forces which had shaped the town and its surroundings? To ‘understand the many modes of discourse’ as Winch had put it. And this is what I began to do in 1997.
However, by January 1998 the project was put on hold. I discovered that the village school in Dundrennan (close to Dundrennan Abbey, founded by Fergus of Galloway in 1142) was threatened with closure and joined the campaign to save it. Here, as with subsequent involvement in six or seven other ‘community campaigns’, I found that the skills of critical / theoretical analysis of complex texts I had acquired at SOAS could be usefully deployed. I found I could read local council committee reports, local and nation planning policies , rural development reports and surveys, ‘translate’ their bureaucratic and formal language into everyday language and so discuss them with campaign members around a kitchen table or in a village hall. I could then take the outcomes of such informal discussions and translate them back in to formal language as a Planning Objection or similar response. In the Dundrennan case, this contributed to a temporary ‘saving’ of the village school. Unfortunately the reality of an ever diminishing school roll led to its ultimate closure.
In two particular cases, the Allanton (Castle Douglas) Roadside Service Station and Motel development and Aucheninnes Landfill Extension development proposals, I attempted to use arguments based on the importance of local ‘cultural heritage’ in Planning Objections.
The Allanton Service Station and Motel Development
This would have been located on the eastern approach to Castle Douglas on the A 75. The proposal was for a mini ‘motorway service station’ style filling station, shop and motel complex. Through participation in the public consultation on the Dumfries and Galloway Structure Plan, I was aware of the planning process, but had never engaged with it directly. In researching my Objection, I discovered that a review of National Planning Policy Guideline 18, which covers conservation areas and historic environments, was underway and that the review was considering the possibility of extending NPPG 18 to include a category ‘historic landscape’ . This would have been in addition to the protection already afforded to areas of ‘natural heritage’ importance [NPPG 14] and of individual archaeological importance [ NPPG 5]. Unfortunately, although Dumfries and Galloway Council had commissioned a detailed ‘Landscape Assessment’ ( which identified four broad regional character types divided into 31 landscape types and subtypes) for the Structure Plan, this was produced by Scottish Natural Heritage and so did contain any historic or cultural (I.e. . Ingold’s ‘taskscape’ ) information. However, I was able to establish via RCHAMS that a local ‘historic landscape use’ survey was planned, but that it would focus initially on the proposed (now existing) local National Scenic Areas of East Stewartry Coast, Fleet Valley and Nith Estuary.
The case I made was based on my discovery that [Macdowall: 18xx]the Charter Book of Lincluden Collegiate Church contained a rental list from 1556 of all the lands held by Lincluden and that this included all the farms surrounding the proposed development. I also pointed out that the original gift of lands to Lincluden was made by Uchtred, son of Fergus of Galloway circa 1170 to establish a Benedictine nunnery there. The nunnery was later suppressed by Archibald Douglas , builder of Threave castle, in 1390. He claimed that the nuns were leading immortal lives.
Unfortunately, the Council Archaeologist argued that since the present day farms and farmed landscape are early 19th century in origin, the ‘landscape’ was not sufficiently historic to be afforded protection under NPPG 18. Fortunately, Objections based on less interesting but more relevant planning polices were upheld and the developer withdrew the planning application.
Aucheninnes Landfill Case
In this case I was acting for an existing local (Dalbeattie) campaign against the extension of an existing landfill site at Aucheninnes Moss just outside Dalbeattie. The planning Objection centred on the existence of a possible early medieval chapel site adjacent to the entrance of the landfill site and its connection with a uniquely detailed set of place names evidence from 12th century charters. Specifically, that in 1927 R.C. Reid had identified the modern locations of the place names used in a charter dated to the reign of Alexander [ruled 1214 - 1249] which confirmed a grant of land made by Uchtred of Galloway [died 1174] to Holm Cultram abbey. The following is from the evidence I submitted in support of the Planning Objection:
The road leading from the bridge of Polatkertyn to Crosgile ultan, thence by the straight way to Cloenchonecro, and going down by the steam called Grenethfalde, as the stream runs into the water that comes out of Lochart[ur] and as Polnechauc falls into the same water at the foot of Locharthur, and from Polnechauc to the Munimuch, and from Munimuch by the top of the hill to Glastri straight to Poldere-duf, and so across to the source of Poldereduf, and as Poldereduf falls into the great water which runs between Culwen and Boelwinin, and then down the water which runs between Blareguke and Halthecoste, and so up the middle of the alderwood to the great moss, and across the moss to Polnehervede, and as Polnehervede falls into Polchillebride, and the last into Dufpole and so up steam to Polatkertyn.
The Dufpole is identified by Reid as the Kirkgunzeon Lane [or Dalbeatttie Burn], the Polnehervede as the Arnmannoch Burn, and the Polchillebride which links these two, as the Little [Kirkgunzeon] Lane. The Little Kirkgunzeon Lane flows through Aucheninnes Moss and past the existing Aucheninnes Landfill site. Reid translates Polchillebride as "St. Bride's Kirk burn".
Since the charter quoted above [Register of Holm Cultram No. 129] was one obtained from Alexander, King of Scots [reigned 1214-1249] confirming an original charter granted by Uchtred of Galloway [died 1174], it would seem reasonable to assume that a church or chapel dedicated to St. Bride existed in the Aucheninnes area in the 12th century. This church or chapel gave its name to the stream.
However, although a ‘chapel- site of ‘ was recorded by the Ordnance Survey in 1850 and shown on pre-1900 OS maps, its precise location was disputed by Dumfries and Galloway Council Archaeologist. The location I established [using the OS ’Old Maps’ website] for the chapel site was NX 84779 60945. However the Council Archaeologist argued its was in fact NX 8464 6098. This placed the chapel site on the far side of the B 793 and therefore outwith the immediate proximity of the landfill development and therefore not a relevant planning factor.
Reflecting on these experiences I began to construct my own explanatory / theoretical model to be applied in future to my own practice.
On the problem of rationality, the difficulty seemed that although formally constructed as a logical and rational set of rules and guidelines within a legal framework of relevant Acts of Parliament [UK and Scottish] , the planning process itself was a ’political’ one. The key driver was economic development which existed as an ’unexamined’ factor. The location of economic developments could be guided by the planning process and, in some cases, political pressure could be used by campaigning groups to influence the outcome of a planning decision. But where ( e.g. case of Castle Douglas Tesco or the Aucheninnes Landfill Extension) the planning process involved strong economic development factors, these prevailed.
It may have been (and probably was) the case that my use of place names, historical and archaeological evidence was never very strong in the first place. However this is not always so. I found a case from Wales [ Heather James - Gwaun Henllan - the Oldest Recorded Meadow in Wales: 1998] where place name evidence had played a part in preventing an open-cast mining development. I concluded that whilst, at the level of philosophical debate, the ‘one or many rationalities’ question remains undecided/ undecidable, in practice, there are competing rationalities and logic systems. And that where these come into conflict, political/ economic power rather than reference to an overarching ‘Rationality’ determines the outcome of such disputes.
On the ‘Nature/ Culture’ debate, the fact that a detailed (natural, I.e. produced by Scottish Natural Heritage) ‘Landscape Assessment‘ was already part of Dumfries and Galloway’s Structure Plan and planning process seemed significant. Structure Plans provide guidance for development over at least ten years. Since it was only given Scottish Executive approval in 2000, even if a ‘Historic Land Use Assessment’ existed [I.e. in 2002, at time of Aucheninnes campaign)], it would lack formal legal status. So that, although ‘recent’ social anthropological critical theory may have challenged the Nature/ Culture division, it was in practice, already embedded in planning policy and would remain so for some years to come.
Evoking y Tref
The practical starting point for what became ‘Walking y Tref’ was to support a proposal my brother and myself had made to Castle Douglas Community Initiative in January 2003 . This was for the construction of a new footpath to link the town with the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Estate and Threave Castle. The proposal has been achieved. The new footpath was officially opened on 8 August 2006.
At the time the footpath was proposed , I saw it as simply adding an extra layer of ‘authenticity’ to the promotion of Castle Douglas as a Food Town (an idea I had proposed in June 2000). The theory was that by linking the town to the natural ( I.e. wildlife and wetlands ) heritage of Threave Estate, which includes part of the Ken/Dee Marshes Special Protected Area and the Threave/ Carlingwark SSSI, and the cultural/ historic heritage of Threave Castle, value would be added to the town as a visitor destination. As such, the proposal was (from Don Macleod ‘s discussion of local ‘Theme Towns’ in his lecture) part of the ‘commodification of heritage’ necessarily implicit in the re-invention of Castle Douglas as a ‘Food Town’.
However, by the time I was working on the final drafts of ‘Walking y Tref’, I had become aware that Tesco had submitted ( February 2004) a planning application for supermarket, café and petrol filling station
to be built on the edge of Castle Douglas. Furthermore, from a telephone conversation with one of Tesco’s PR team, I discovered that their market research had established that Castle Douglas Food Town had ‘national recognition’ and that Tesco were committed to supporting (rather than competing against) the Food Town. I was very doubtful of these claims. Perhaps, I wondered, the ‘commodification’ of Castle Douglas had been too successful. Could the town really survive as an ‘authentic’ rural market town once Tesco had moved in? [As a consequence of these doubts I started what became a very high profile but unsuccessful, ‘Save our Stewartry Shops’ anti-Tesco campaign ].
But what could possibly resist the process of ‘commodification’? ‘Myth’ was the only answer I could come up with. I recalled reading, or rather trying to read, Julia Kristeva’s “Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art” and her suggestion that “it is impossible to formalize poetic language according to existing logical (scientific) structures without distorting it” [1980: 70]. Although Kristeva does not go on to equate ‘poetic language’ with ‘myth’, I made the link. It seemed to me that the very ambiguity of poetic language (which Kristeva discusses as ‘ambivalence‘ - 1980:68) and hence (arguably) of myth resists commodification. Myths are slippery and elusive, they cannot easily be ’pinned down’, they offer as many possible meanings and interpretations as poems do.
Yet some myths overlap with physical objects. Cauldrons are an example. Green [1992: 37/8] discusses the significance of cauldrons within ’Celtic’ myth and legend, relating the ritual placing of cauldrons within lakes and bogs to the mythico-religious concept of the ‘rebirth of the dead in an Otherworld’. Amongst the actual ( archaeological) cauldrons recovered from bogs and lakes, Green mentions the Carlingwark Loch Cauldron. Carlingwark Loch is part of Castle Douglas. Indeed, the origins of the present day town can be traced back to the sale in 1789 by Alexander Gordon of his marl works (within a partially drained Carlingwark Loch) and the marl workers’ village of Carlingwark to William Douglas. The Carlingwark Cauldron itself was recovered by two fishermen from the loch in 1868 close to the site of the Carlingwark Loch crannog . It is now displayed in Edinburgh as part of the National Museums of Scotland collection.
The Carlingwark Cauldron is therefore present only as an ‘absence’, as a ‘myth’. So long as it remains in Edinburgh (which it is likely to do -see letter from NMS attached as appendix) the cauldron cannot be locally ‘ommodified as part of the town’s heritage. Nor, in the absence of the Carlingwark Cauldron, can the idea of Castle Douglas as successor to the hypothesised ‘y Tref’ [Brooke: 1991: 330] be physically rather than linguistically commodified as part of the cultural heritage of Castle Douglas and Threave.
To conclude; although the walks described in ‘Walking y Tref’ exist and can be used to explore what Ingold would call the ‘taskscape’ of the Castle Douglas/Threave area, ‘y Tref’ itself will not be easily found. Rather, and (as I have now only realised in the writing of this essay) it exists as a ‘myth’, as that which lies beyond and before the commodifcation of heritage, in the ambivalent [Kristeva: 1980] realm of poetic language, of a discourse which, although expressed in the functional language of a ‘walking guide to local heritage’ written by an amateur local historian, still manages to elude closure.