It began with a chance find in a second-hand bookshop, a small soft-covered booklet of 64 pages, purchased for £3. ‘A Scottish Farmer’s Ride Through England: 100 years ago’ was printed in 1906, and the journey in question took place in April and May 1802.
As a travel diary it makes interesting reading in itself, in the form of Andrew Blaikie’s observations as he travelled from his home in Bowdon, Roxburghshire to London and back.
The contents of the book are described on The Journal page, where a scanned copy is available for download. The entire contents have also been transcribed in a series of blog posts and pages on this site.
In transcribing the full text I have made some alterations where I felt this was necessary. These mainly take the form of altering place names where the printed version was either a spelling variant no longer used, or where Mrs Lang seemed to have mis-transcribed a place name from her ancestor’s handwritten original; the most notable example is the mysterious ‘Baniel’, which is probably meant to be Barnet, based on its location and distance from London as Andrew Blaikie describes it.
I have also added some illustrations – the portrait above is the only one which appears in the original book. These are from a variety of sources, and are all somewhat later in date that 1802, but are, I hope, not inconsistent with the sights he would have seen.
Where possible, I have also linked the first mention of each place to an entry in the excellent Vision of Britain Through Time website, which provides background information, maps and statistics about each place. As the author of the entry for his home parish in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, I am sure that Mr Blaikie would have approved!