In 1769, driven by a curiosity in natural history, Thomas Pennant (1726–1798) travelled through Scotland, especially to the Highlands.
He obviously enjoyed himself, returning again in 1772. His aim in both tours was to describe and understand Scotland, something that is borne out well in each of his publications. Indeed, reader reception was favourable, with the first (on display) termed:
‘the best itinerary which has hitherto been written on that country’ (Critical Review, Jan 1772, 28).
Even though Dr Johnson termed Pennant ‘A Whig, Sir; a sad dog’, he was complimentary about his books:
‘But he’s the best traveller I ever read; he observes more things than anyone else does’ (Boswell, Life, 12 April 1778).
Here is Pennant on the character of the Highlander and their sports.
Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Scotland MDCCLXIX. 5th ed. Vol. I. London: Printed for Benjamin White, 1790.