Tar­bert poet is hon­oured at Makars’ Court

The Oban Times - - News -

ONE OF Tar­bert’s finest word­smiths has been hon­oured in Ed­in­burgh af­ter his words were set in stone on the streets of the city.

Ed­in­burgh’s Makars’ Court has now wel­comed Ge­orge Camp­bell Hay, 1915-1984, to its il­lus­tri­ous ranks with the un­veil­ing of a memo­rial to the fa­mous Scots poet.

Makars’ Court, de­scribed as Scot­land’s an­swer to Po­ets’ Cor­ner in West­min­ster Abbey, pays trib­ute to Scottish writ­ers by pre­serv­ing the words of the coun­try’s finest writ­ers in stone in the heart of Ed­in­burgh’s Old Town.

Camp­bell Hay was brought up in Tar­bert where, af­ter study­ing at Oxford Uni­ver­sity, he re­turned to de­velop a life­long love of the Gaelic lan­guage and cul­ture.

He was a multi-lin­gual poet and was a cham­pion of Scots and Gaelic lit­er­a­ture, though lit­tle of his work was pub­lished in his life­time. Al­though a mem­ber of the renowned Scottish lit­er­ary re­nais­sance, Camp­bell Hay was more in­ter­ested in the Gaelic lit­er­ary tra­di­tion and lin­guis­tic de­vel­op­ment, rather than folk tra­di­tion.

Renowned as a pas­sion­ate na­tion­al­ist, Hay be­grudg­ingly joined the Bri­tish Army dur­ing the Sec­ond World War and served in North Africa – an ex­pe­ri­ence which gave rise to some of his best work. Mochtar

is Dughall, an epic about a High­land sol­dier and a North African Arab in the Sec­ond World War, is per­haps Hay’s best known work, though it was never fin­ished be­fore his death in 1984. The flag­stone plaque at Makars’ Court, ac­knowl­edges Camp­bell Hay’s in­flu­ence and last­ing legacy in Scottish lit­er­a­ture.

Anne Ar­tymiuk, who spon­sored the trib­ute to Ge­orge Camp­bell Hay, said: ‘He was a ma­jor Scots poet of the 20th cen­tury, one of the few writ­ers Scot­land has had who wrote, and wrote well, in all three of Scot­land’s lan­guages.

‘His pro­file has been low, prob­a­bly be­cause af­ter the Sec­ond World War, which in­spired some of his best work, he strug­gled with men­tal ill­ness.’

The com­mem­o­ra­tions have been cre­ated with the sup­port of the Makars’ Court com­mit­tee of the Scottish Saltire So­ci­ety and spon­sors Anne Ar­tymiuk and the Friends of the Wil­liam Soutar So­ci­ety.

Ge­orge Camp­bell Hay and the un­veil­ing of his com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque.

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