Elizabeth Cameron from Laidhay said: ‘'We are delighted to be involved with the production of Last Footsteps of Home. It will certainly be a great boost for the museum in highlighting how people lived, worked and how Laidhay fitted into the local community. I feel very confident that people will receive the finished film positively.” Nearby Laidhay is Dunbeath Heritage Centre offering a wealth of information through its manuscripts, photographs and items of local culture as well as displays. Giving a wider context to the Highland Clearances, the centre is also a repository for writer Neil M. Gunn, whose reputation as one of Scotland’s most important twentieth century authors was established in books such as The Silver Darlings and Morning Tide. A few miles further south is Badbea, a former Clearance village by the cliff tops. The village was populated when the staths of Langwell, Ousdale and Berridale were populated in the 18th and 19th Century by families evicted from their homes cleared for the establishment of sheep farms. The evicted tenants who settled in Badbea worked out plots of land on the notoriously steep hillside. It was reported that the women would tether their children and livestock to the rocks while gutting the fish. I first visited Laidhay and explored the surrounding area as a teenager and then many times as an adult. When I started writing Last Footsteps of Home there was only one place I had in mind for our heroine to begin her emotional journey. As the landscapes, seascapes and hinterland of Dunbeath once inspired a giant of Scottish writing, it has me also. Without the much-valued work of these small but so important museums we simply could not tell our story as imagined. For that I will be eternally grateful.
© 2017 Robert Aitken