Standing one calm autumn day some years ago on the Moot Hill in Scone, I became aware that the falling leaves from the surrounding Beech trees were landing gently on the very site where the old Kings of Pictland had been crowned.
I noticed, from the apparent lack of interest shown, that none of the tourists wandering around the hill were giving much thought to the momentous deeds and events that had taken place there in Scotland’s distant past and I confess that I felt a little sad. There was the odd comment about Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, having been crowned there, but nobody seemed to care about the Picts.
Then it came to me that, in fairness to those visitors to Scone that sunny late September day, I shouldn’t be surprised, for how could they be expected to show an interest in a People and a history about which they knew next to nothing? To all intents and purposes the Picts, even by the vast majority of Scots, are considered a forgotten race and a people of the past. Doomed, one might say, to oblivion.
I wished that somehow there were something I could do personally to make people more aware of the Picts, to bring them back from the ‘Abyss’, as it were. It was at that moment, while looking at the settling leaves, that I felt the inspiration to write their history down, for I recalled a short poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and I remember thinking at the time, ‘how very, very apt’.