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Lost Horizon or Living Landscape: Place, Time and People in Gaelic Scotland by Virginia Blankenhorn

James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon, set in the mountains of Tibet, created the fictional ‘Shangri-La’ – a place of the spirit, seemingly outside time, where people lived long lives in a fastness far removed from a world beset by war. For most visitors and many Scots, the Highlands of Scotland – the Gaidhealtachd – seem to suggest a similar refuge. And today, the Gaidhealtachd – like Shangri-La – is for the most part a safe place. You won’t see anyone remotely like William Wallace and his blue-painted, half-naked clansmen, pursuing vengeance across the mountainsides, as portrayed in films like Braveheart.

This might actually be a relief.

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