“I had the hardiness to venture on a journey to the remotest part of North Britain, a country almost as little known to its southern brethren as Kamschatka. I brought home a favourable account of the land. Whether it will thank me or not I cannot say, but from the report I made, and shewing that it might be visited with safety, it has ever since been inondée with southern visitors” Thomas Pennant
The Curious Travellers project is led by P.I. Dr Mary-Ann Constantine (CAWCS) and Co-I Professor Nigel Leask (Glasgow). The project team includes Dr Elizabeth Edwards and Dr Ffion Mair Jones of CAWCS, Aberystwyth, with Dr Alex Deans, Dr Vivien Estelle Williams, and Dr Luca Guariento providing Scottish expertise, transcriptions, and technical support in Glasgow. Kirsty McHugh received a fully-funded AHRC Post-Doctoral studentship to work with the team. Constantine and Leask have been writing separate monographs on the Welsh and Scottish tours respectively, and the research fellows and our doctoral student have produced several articles over the course of the four years: you can find a list of our publications to date here. The main outputs of the project are digital editions of a selection of Pennant’s extensive and scattered Correspondence, and of some twenty-five previously unpublished Welsh and Scottish Tours by other writers. We are continuing to add to these. Our website aims to be a lively source of information about the experience of travel in Scotland and Wales in the period, and includes clickable maps of selected routes.
Over the four years of funding the project held a number of events and exhibitions based in national and local museums and libraries across Wales and Scotland, highlighting the visual and material aspects of the tour, from landscape-painting to geology and natural history. Creative events have included artists and writers retracing Pennant’s itineraries (in all weathers) to create their own modern versions of the Tour: you can read their blogs here.
Our project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and our project partners include Oxford Cultures of Knowledge, whose Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO) site houses a growing database of Pennant’s correspondence, and the National Library of Wales, who have kindly allowed us to use images from the digitised illustrated Tour in Wales. We also have close links with Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museums Wales, the National Library of Scotland and Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum. The Thomas Pennant Society have been a particular source of encouragement and support.