Inspired By Our Willie Shand

One of the great things about working in the Features Team is the exposure to so many interesting stories.

From writer Dianne Boardman first bringing Liz the story of the Winnie Mabaso Foundation to Marion’s visit to the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, it’s endlessly fascinating. Marion happened to discover that a German bomb had fallen in a small Perthshire village field near her home, probably dumped to save weight after a bombing raid on Glasgow.

Dianne’s Winnie Mabaso piece went on to become last year’s incredibly successful Hand of Friendship campaign. We’re always learning something new or speaking to new people and we’re always happiest when something we write or commission really resonates with you.

I’m a big fan of our Willie Shand’s work. He’s a regular visitor to the annual Peebles Book Sale, where he picks up armfuls of Scottish history books, amongst other tomes. As a result, he digests an enormous amount of this country’s history, which he shares in his travel features. You will genuinely not read much of Wilie’s information anywhere else unless you’re also rummaging through great dusty volumes in your spare time!

After last week’s video blog from Willie, I was inspired to visit the Airlie Monument. Being mid-February, it wasn’t quite the soft autumnal day our Willie had, but the views from the top were still stunning. My friend Niall and I both live in Fife, so were delighted to see the iconic Lomond Hills from the summit (is there any summit in Scotland you can’t see them from?), but the looking was good in every direction.

Our plan for the day was to cycle off away north along the ridge of hills and drop down into Glen Prosen via the “Minister’s Path”. These old rights of way fascinate me. I love to imagine a time when these were the highways of old, and residents of these glens would walk long, wild routes to see friends, family or go to church or pick up supplies.

This one was used by the Minister who would perform services in Glen Clova and Glen Prosen, a round trip of 8 miles over some high country. A hard life, but certainly one full of fresh air. A little too fresh today, with snow beginning to fall, so we didn’t do much hanging around.

It was only a wee local winter jaunt, but without Willie’s visit, we wouldn’t have been there. If you’ve been inspired by any of our travel features – or any of our charity features, do get in touch with us through the usual means and tell us your story!

Explore the Scottish Borders with Willie Shand! Take a unique journey via video with our travel writer today


Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.