Madeleine Bunting wanted to find out more about her late father, John Bunting, the sculptor and art teacher, what motivated and drove him. In doing so she decided to look at the plot of land that he bought at Scotch Corner and why he built a chapel on it.
What we are given is part biography and part history as she delves further into the land. This may not sound like everyones cup of tea - but what we are given here is something highly interesting and thought provoking. Not only does Bunting show what has happened on the plot of land itself over the millennia but also what has happened in the surrounding area. From drovers passing through and monks starting a community we also have the battle between Robert the Bruce and Edward II, which led to the latters ignominous escape. This area of land doesn't just show local history but some of the more broader aspects which have shaped the history of the British Isles. We are forced to think about what is real untamed wild land and what is really shaped by man, indeed so much that we take as the natural land has actually been made by us over the centuries. From this we also have to think about how we use the land and what impact our actions can have with any changes that become apparent climate change.
Farming has always been difficult in this part of North Yorkshire and with people willing to buy up farmhouses as weekend retreats and farmers trying to survive we are shown the problems of this area, also what effect has been made by tourism and those who shoot grouse. I must admit that I wasn't sure whether I would really like this book when I got it but after starting it I was fully immersed and absorbed, and was really glad that I ordered it. Admittedly this is never going to be a huge seller but if you like such tv programmes as 'Coast' and 'Countryfile', or just history you will probably enjoy this.