Scottish writer and publisher James Crawford has taken to the skies for a dramatic new interpretation of Scotland’s history.
In his new book and three-part TV series, Scotland from the Sky, best-selling author and Historic Environment Scotland publisher James Crawford takes readers and viewers on a remarkable voyage through time. Using the HES archive of aerial photography and a decade of research and writing James guides us through a century of photography that has charted and influenced the ever-changing face of Scotland’s rural and urban landscapes.
Beyond images of Scotland’s stunning scenery—past and present— lie the tales of the people behind the lenses: stories of First World War aerial photographers dodging bullets in the skies over the Somme; the planners who use the view from above to create the places we live; and the Historic Environment Scotland aerial survey team searching for ancient remains from the skies. James combines his first-person account of filming the series—including flying in a one-hundred-year-old Bristol Fighter and a vintage Tiger Moth—with the history of aerial photography in Scotland.
“It is remarkable, but largely unknown, just how much today’s landscapes have been shaped by the view from above. Huge tracts of the Highlands were transformed with the help of aerial photography, while post-war planners looked to the skies for the solutions to redesigning our greatest cities. At the same time, the aerial view has revolutionised our understanding of the past, resulting in the discovery of tens of thousands of ancient sites that could never have been spotted from the ground.”
This beautiful book is illustrated with hundreds of newly released historical and modern images from the HES aerial archives. And you can watch a trailer for the programme here.