Details of a project I'm involved in which starts this coming weekend.
Hugh Miller from Cromarty was a highly influential figure in the second quarter of the 19th century. He was a self-taught geologist, writer and editor of a key Edinburgh newspaper in the lead up to the tectonic changes in the Scottish church that culminated in the Disruption of 1843. Miller was one of Scotland’s outstanding geologists, one of the first of many Scottish ‘citizen scientists’ and stands beside the greats of Hutton, Lyell and Murchison.
The Cruise of the Betsey took place the year after the Disruption, when 450 ministers broke away from the Established Church. Miller joined his boyhood friend the Rev Swanson, a keen supporter of the Disruption, who had been removed from his Small Isles parish and his manse on Eigg. Swanson used the Betsey as his ‘floating manse’ so that he was still able to serve his parishioners. The cruise was to visit Tobermory, Eigg, Rum, Glenelg and Isle Ornsay on Skye. Miller’s accounts record much about the social circumstances they came across as well as detailed descriptions of the geology, palaeontology and landscapes encountered. During the Cruise of the Betsey, Miller made many ground-breaking scientific discoveries. He wrote about his journey on the Betsey, and other travels through Scotland.
The Cruise of the Betsey voyage will take place between the 6th – 12th of September 2014, beginning at the North Pier in Oban. It is going to 'recreate' the voyage, 170 years after the original, and connect with community events on several islands.
It's led by the RSGS and the Friends of Hugh Miller, and supported by other organisations (see website)
Our sailing boat for the voyage is Leader – a gaff-rigged ketch, built in Brixham, Devon in 1892. Leader was one of the largest of the Brixham sailing trawlers, known, despite their Ketch rig, as the ‘Big Sloops’. For more information about Leader see www.trinity.sailing.co.uk
. She has a GPS tracker, so the journey can be followed.
The exact route taken will depend on weather and tidal conditions, but the intention will be to call in at some of the locations which Hugh Miller visited, and to connect with planned community events on Eigg and Rum.
I've created a set of educational materials for the project, which will be used in Scottish schools. Let me know if you fancy trialling them and I'll put you in touch with Joyce Gilbert from the RSGS.
I've also worked to help create the website: http://cruiseofthebetsey.wordpress.com/
I was also invited to go along on the voyage in person, but 'sadly' will be back at school in the 2nd week of the new term so will be following from afar and running the social media.
Follow us on @BetseyCruise14 on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetseyCruise14
or Like the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cruiseofthebetsey2014
It's going to be a great journey, with multi-disciplinary discussions and stories emerging from it....