Alec Finlay and Ken Cockburn - the road north


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Alec Finlay and Ken Cockburn - the road north

Published 2014. Paperback, 136pp, 8.5x5.5ins
ISBN 978-1-84861-358-4 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
Ten years ago, living by The Meadows with their gean-blossom walks, I dreamt up a project, to take Basho’s Oku-no-Hosomichi as a routemaster for Scotland, traveling as he and Sora had, from the capital, Edinburgh for Edo, on the road north to the Western Isles. And now I’m ready.
Now Ken and I will swap roles, Basho & Sora or Sora & Basho, and take to the road. In the planning the scope of our ploy has grown: making a word-map of Scotland that pairs one Scottish location with each of Basho’s 53 stations. On the way we will meet folk, drink 53 types of tea and 53 kinds of whisky, share conversation, and blog our way north. At the end of it all there will be poems – as skylines, audio and a map – all for free. For the opportunity, we have to thank a Creative Scotland Vital Spark award.
And so in 2010, on this anniversary of Basho's departure, 16 May, our year-long journey began, in Ken’s second-floor flat on Bonnington Rd. These are some things we packed for the journey:
old pink & new orange maps
the dog’s picnic blanket
Rescue Remedy spray
miso packets
flasks and chocolate
compass, watch,
gazetteer and notebook,
hokku-labels for trees
and paper wishes.

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