My childhood was spent in Galloway. Its hills, rivers, tidal flats formed my understanding and love of the natural world. The Biblical stories I learnt before I could read mixed freely with the tales and legends learnt about the land around me to the point that Galilee and Galloway were one and the same. Was it the Boy David who confronted Goliath at Loch Trool or was it Robert the Bruce who faced the Philistines on the banks of the Jordan? When I learnt about Saint Ninian landing at the Isle of Whithorn bringing Christianity to our heathen forefathers, I assumed he was one of the Apostles and that he had just sailed across that Sea of Galilee. As for Tam o’Shanter, was he Old or New Testament?
At the age of 11 my family moved away. But that heady brew of wild landscape, Biblical stories, poetry, a sense that one was put on earth to do the right thing and the temptations of the flesh were always at hand has infiltrated and informed everything that I have done or attempted to do since. And then of course there was the work ethic.
And on the subject of work, everything I have done since the late 1990s has been framed within the context of The Penkiln Burn. This in one sense is an old fashioned publishing house and in another an online brand as artwork. The Penkiln Burn is also a small river that rises in the Galloway Hills and flows down into the River Cree at Minnigaff. It was on the banks of the Penkiln Burn that many of my boyhood adventures took place, a place that still fires my imagination to this day.
I am aware that if had spent my teenage years in Galloway my sense of it would be totally different, and that I would have probably viewed it as a cultural backwater that I could not wait to escape. But that was not the case.
As for Dumfries, that was another country altogether.
Bill Drummond, 3 October 2012.
A truly memorable film of Parton to Kirkcowan by way of Newtown Stewart aboard a steam train way back in 1965 – accopanied but the track Madruga Eterna by The KLF.