Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (with apologies to James Boswell and Samuel Johnson)

Highlands By Nicola

"The roads are neither rough nor dirty; and it affords a southern stranger a new kind of pleasure to travel so commodiously without the interruption of toll-gates. The carriages in common use are small carts, drawn each by one little horse; and a man seems to derive some degree of dignity and importance from the reputation of possessing a two-horse cart." So wrote James Boswell and Samuel Johnon of their 1773 trip to the North of Scotland and the Western Isles. A couple of weeks ago my dh and I set off in our motorised carriage to follow in their footsteps! 

Our first port of call on the journey up to the Hebrides from Glasgow was the town of Inverary. Inverary Inverary Old Town, a Royal Burgh, was swept away between 1753 and 1776 when the 3rd Duke of Argyll decided to replace his ancient castle with a beautiful new mansion complete with landscaped grounds and in doing so relocated the ancient town so he could have a bigger garden! Inverary New Town is absolutely charming, painted black and white with some impressive arches over the road and a gaol where you can experience the full eighteenth century prison regime. It struck me as a wonderful place to set a book. Samuel Johnson and James Boswell stayed at Inverary Castle on their travels. Johnson wrote:  "At last we came to Inverary where we found an inn, not only commodious, but magnificent. The difficulties of peregrination were now at an end. Mr. Boswell had the honour of being known to the Duke of Argyle, by whom we were very kindly entertained at his splendid seat, and supplied with conveniences for surveying his spacious park and rising forests." We surveyed the spacious park under our own steam but have to agree that lunch in the pub at Inverary was excellent! 

IMG_3881 _2 From Inverary we headed to Oban, where we embarked on the ferry for Mull. We were staying at "The Library" in Carsaig, a house which belonged to the MacLeans of Duart Castle, with whom Boswell and Johnson also stayed on their trip to Mull. The MacLean family crest, with its wonderful motto "Virtue Mine Honour" was on all the buildings at Carsaig, including this ancient boathouse. Of more modern note was the connection between Carsaig and the classic 1945 film by Powell and Pressburger "I Know Where I'm Going." In this photo I am channelling the heroine of IKWIG as she looks out to the island of "Kiloran" from the pier at Carsaig! In reality "Kiloran" was theIMG_3832BW_3 Isle of Colonsay and it was visible from our window. I also persuaded my dh to retake other stills from the movie, including the iconic "telephone box beside the waterfall" shot. We wanted to visit Moy Castle, another of the sites featured in the film, but it is being restored and isn't currently open to the public. Instead we went to the ruin of Aros Castle which is extremely atmospheric. Two strange writing co-incidences occurred at Carsaig – one was that I discovered that the pier had originally been built by French prisoners of war in the early nineteenth century and the POWs in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars is the background to my current manuscript. The second odd co-incidence was that I read that Robert Louis Stevenson had written his classic adventure story "Kidnapped" just down the road at Erraig and I had brought with me a copy of my own book Kidnapped, which is set in Wester Ross and the Isles and is a "homage" to the RLS book.

Torosay castle gardens Also on my "Castles tour" were Duart and Torosay. The picture is of the splendid formal gardens at Torosay. The two castles formed a perfect contrast to one another in my opinion, Duart being the classic sort of "ancient" castle with battlements and dungeons, and Torosay being a Victorian country house. I loved the friendliness of Torosay and the fact that you could leaf through the family albums and even sit down in their drawing room if you needed a rest from all the overwhelming Victoriana, the mounted stags' heads and stuffed birds that had been shot on the estate!

Later in the holiday we set off in the wake of Boswell and Johnson again, setting sail on the ferry for the Isle of Iona which was probably quicker and more comfortable than B & J's little sailing boat! Iona cloisters Like our predecessors we walked along the pilgrim route to Iona Abbey, the Sraid Nam Marbh or "street of the dead." The wonderfully peaceful and beautiful abbey was a ruin when Johnson and Boswell visited. Both of them wrote at length about Iona, Johnson noting that the abbey ruins were full of rubbish and that the nunnery chapel was being used as a cow-shed! These days the abbey has been restored to glory and the nunnery ruins are set within a lovely garden.

IMG_3918_4 After lunch we embarked for the Isle of Staffa. Johnson and Boswell had tried to land on Staffa to visit Fingal's Cave but had been beaten by heavy seas. We were luckier; we were able to spend an hour on land and approached the cave along the rather hair-raising walkway. It was one of the most amazing places I have ever Kidnapped - UK seen with its vertical basalt cliffs. One of my fellow tourists was an expert on the romantic poets and the composers who had been inspired by the cathedral-like cave and the music of the crashing waves.

Samuel Johnson commented on the "unkind climate" of Mull but we had some lovely weather whilst we were there and if our holiday diary is not perhaps up to the standard of Boswell or Johnson's writings we have at least recorded our wonderful trip so that we can relive it in the future! I was struck anew by the beauty of the Scottish landscape. We've asked it before and no doubt we'll ask it again: Are there any other places that can rival Scotland as a romantic setting for historicals or does it win hands down on romance and history and pure rugged wildness? What do you think?

90 thoughts on “Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides (with apologies to James Boswell and Samuel Johnson)”

  1. Wonderful post, Nicola. I thoroughly enjoyed your (and Boswell’s and Johnson’s) descriptions. They’ve left my feet thoroughly itchy to get traveling again, and to go to Scotland, where I lived a year as a child. Certainly Scotland rings the bells (and pipes) for me as a romantic place, though with an air of tragedy as well. So many sad stories, so much heartbreaking history. Thank you

    Reply
  2. Wonderful post, Nicola. I thoroughly enjoyed your (and Boswell’s and Johnson’s) descriptions. They’ve left my feet thoroughly itchy to get traveling again, and to go to Scotland, where I lived a year as a child. Certainly Scotland rings the bells (and pipes) for me as a romantic place, though with an air of tragedy as well. So many sad stories, so much heartbreaking history. Thank you

    Reply
  3. Wonderful post, Nicola. I thoroughly enjoyed your (and Boswell’s and Johnson’s) descriptions. They’ve left my feet thoroughly itchy to get traveling again, and to go to Scotland, where I lived a year as a child. Certainly Scotland rings the bells (and pipes) for me as a romantic place, though with an air of tragedy as well. So many sad stories, so much heartbreaking history. Thank you

    Reply
  4. Wonderful post, Nicola. I thoroughly enjoyed your (and Boswell’s and Johnson’s) descriptions. They’ve left my feet thoroughly itchy to get traveling again, and to go to Scotland, where I lived a year as a child. Certainly Scotland rings the bells (and pipes) for me as a romantic place, though with an air of tragedy as well. So many sad stories, so much heartbreaking history. Thank you

    Reply
  5. Wonderful post, Nicola. I thoroughly enjoyed your (and Boswell’s and Johnson’s) descriptions. They’ve left my feet thoroughly itchy to get traveling again, and to go to Scotland, where I lived a year as a child. Certainly Scotland rings the bells (and pipes) for me as a romantic place, though with an air of tragedy as well. So many sad stories, so much heartbreaking history. Thank you

    Reply
  6. Inverary is beautiful, I was there is
    sptember, we had really warm sunny days and the views were tremendous.
    It must have been fun travelling in the footsteps of
    boswell and
    johnson and comparing.

    Reply
  7. Inverary is beautiful, I was there is
    sptember, we had really warm sunny days and the views were tremendous.
    It must have been fun travelling in the footsteps of
    boswell and
    johnson and comparing.

    Reply
  8. Inverary is beautiful, I was there is
    sptember, we had really warm sunny days and the views were tremendous.
    It must have been fun travelling in the footsteps of
    boswell and
    johnson and comparing.

    Reply
  9. Inverary is beautiful, I was there is
    sptember, we had really warm sunny days and the views were tremendous.
    It must have been fun travelling in the footsteps of
    boswell and
    johnson and comparing.

    Reply
  10. Inverary is beautiful, I was there is
    sptember, we had really warm sunny days and the views were tremendous.
    It must have been fun travelling in the footsteps of
    boswell and
    johnson and comparing.

    Reply
  11. Nicola,
    Loved your blog. Several years ago, my sister, cousins and I traveled around Scotland, our main destination- Isle of Mull. My favorite movie is IKWIG and I had to see Moy Castle. We even stayed in the hotel, of course I forget the name. In order to see the castle, we had to tramp through grass, since there’s no road to drive up to it. It was all boarded up, so we could only walk around the outside, but it surely felt like finding the holy grail to me. I’ll never forget it.

    Reply
  12. Nicola,
    Loved your blog. Several years ago, my sister, cousins and I traveled around Scotland, our main destination- Isle of Mull. My favorite movie is IKWIG and I had to see Moy Castle. We even stayed in the hotel, of course I forget the name. In order to see the castle, we had to tramp through grass, since there’s no road to drive up to it. It was all boarded up, so we could only walk around the outside, but it surely felt like finding the holy grail to me. I’ll never forget it.

    Reply
  13. Nicola,
    Loved your blog. Several years ago, my sister, cousins and I traveled around Scotland, our main destination- Isle of Mull. My favorite movie is IKWIG and I had to see Moy Castle. We even stayed in the hotel, of course I forget the name. In order to see the castle, we had to tramp through grass, since there’s no road to drive up to it. It was all boarded up, so we could only walk around the outside, but it surely felt like finding the holy grail to me. I’ll never forget it.

    Reply
  14. Nicola,
    Loved your blog. Several years ago, my sister, cousins and I traveled around Scotland, our main destination- Isle of Mull. My favorite movie is IKWIG and I had to see Moy Castle. We even stayed in the hotel, of course I forget the name. In order to see the castle, we had to tramp through grass, since there’s no road to drive up to it. It was all boarded up, so we could only walk around the outside, but it surely felt like finding the holy grail to me. I’ll never forget it.

    Reply
  15. Nicola,
    Loved your blog. Several years ago, my sister, cousins and I traveled around Scotland, our main destination- Isle of Mull. My favorite movie is IKWIG and I had to see Moy Castle. We even stayed in the hotel, of course I forget the name. In order to see the castle, we had to tramp through grass, since there’s no road to drive up to it. It was all boarded up, so we could only walk around the outside, but it surely felt like finding the holy grail to me. I’ll never forget it.

    Reply
  16. What a wonderful journey, Nicola! You’re certainly right about “atmospheric.” I’ll never forget the rain clouds breaking up and late afternoon sunshine over Mull. And I had the best (and freshest) fish dinner of my life in Tobermory, which was memorable in a different way. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. What a wonderful journey, Nicola! You’re certainly right about “atmospheric.” I’ll never forget the rain clouds breaking up and late afternoon sunshine over Mull. And I had the best (and freshest) fish dinner of my life in Tobermory, which was memorable in a different way. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. What a wonderful journey, Nicola! You’re certainly right about “atmospheric.” I’ll never forget the rain clouds breaking up and late afternoon sunshine over Mull. And I had the best (and freshest) fish dinner of my life in Tobermory, which was memorable in a different way. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. What a wonderful journey, Nicola! You’re certainly right about “atmospheric.” I’ll never forget the rain clouds breaking up and late afternoon sunshine over Mull. And I had the best (and freshest) fish dinner of my life in Tobermory, which was memorable in a different way. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. What a wonderful journey, Nicola! You’re certainly right about “atmospheric.” I’ll never forget the rain clouds breaking up and late afternoon sunshine over Mull. And I had the best (and freshest) fish dinner of my life in Tobermory, which was memorable in a different way. *g*
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. I’m so glad that the post stirred some happy memories and wanderlust for you, Anne! Scotland really has such a rich and deep history it is difficult to top it as a setting. And the fresh fish is definitely memorable in a different way isn’t it, Mary Jo! We had fish and chips in Tobermory as well and it was delicious!

    Reply
  22. I’m so glad that the post stirred some happy memories and wanderlust for you, Anne! Scotland really has such a rich and deep history it is difficult to top it as a setting. And the fresh fish is definitely memorable in a different way isn’t it, Mary Jo! We had fish and chips in Tobermory as well and it was delicious!

    Reply
  23. I’m so glad that the post stirred some happy memories and wanderlust for you, Anne! Scotland really has such a rich and deep history it is difficult to top it as a setting. And the fresh fish is definitely memorable in a different way isn’t it, Mary Jo! We had fish and chips in Tobermory as well and it was delicious!

    Reply
  24. I’m so glad that the post stirred some happy memories and wanderlust for you, Anne! Scotland really has such a rich and deep history it is difficult to top it as a setting. And the fresh fish is definitely memorable in a different way isn’t it, Mary Jo! We had fish and chips in Tobermory as well and it was delicious!

    Reply
  25. I’m so glad that the post stirred some happy memories and wanderlust for you, Anne! Scotland really has such a rich and deep history it is difficult to top it as a setting. And the fresh fish is definitely memorable in a different way isn’t it, Mary Jo! We had fish and chips in Tobermory as well and it was delicious!

    Reply
  26. Hi Margaret! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Inverary. I wish we’d had a bit more time to look around. It was such a charming little town. And Kit, another fan of IKWIG! I think it is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and it was a great pleasure to visit (almost) all the places it was filmed. There are self-catering places to stay at Carsaig House too, which featured as Catriona’s house in the film. I even met the Laird of Carsaig walking his Labradors on the beach. I know I sound like a fangirl but it is a classic romance and I found it very inspiring!

    Reply
  27. Hi Margaret! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Inverary. I wish we’d had a bit more time to look around. It was such a charming little town. And Kit, another fan of IKWIG! I think it is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and it was a great pleasure to visit (almost) all the places it was filmed. There are self-catering places to stay at Carsaig House too, which featured as Catriona’s house in the film. I even met the Laird of Carsaig walking his Labradors on the beach. I know I sound like a fangirl but it is a classic romance and I found it very inspiring!

    Reply
  28. Hi Margaret! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Inverary. I wish we’d had a bit more time to look around. It was such a charming little town. And Kit, another fan of IKWIG! I think it is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and it was a great pleasure to visit (almost) all the places it was filmed. There are self-catering places to stay at Carsaig House too, which featured as Catriona’s house in the film. I even met the Laird of Carsaig walking his Labradors on the beach. I know I sound like a fangirl but it is a classic romance and I found it very inspiring!

    Reply
  29. Hi Margaret! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Inverary. I wish we’d had a bit more time to look around. It was such a charming little town. And Kit, another fan of IKWIG! I think it is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and it was a great pleasure to visit (almost) all the places it was filmed. There are self-catering places to stay at Carsaig House too, which featured as Catriona’s house in the film. I even met the Laird of Carsaig walking his Labradors on the beach. I know I sound like a fangirl but it is a classic romance and I found it very inspiring!

    Reply
  30. Hi Margaret! I’m so pleased you enjoyed Inverary. I wish we’d had a bit more time to look around. It was such a charming little town. And Kit, another fan of IKWIG! I think it is one of the most romantic films I’ve ever seen and it was a great pleasure to visit (almost) all the places it was filmed. There are self-catering places to stay at Carsaig House too, which featured as Catriona’s house in the film. I even met the Laird of Carsaig walking his Labradors on the beach. I know I sound like a fangirl but it is a classic romance and I found it very inspiring!

    Reply
  31. IKWIG sounds like a film I ought to see but what is the proper title, surley not IKWIG. Next year I’m going back there and staying at Loch Awe, it would be fantastic if the weather is as good as it was in September.We also get to visit the Isle of Mull.I love Oban too.
    ikwig

    Reply
  32. IKWIG sounds like a film I ought to see but what is the proper title, surley not IKWIG. Next year I’m going back there and staying at Loch Awe, it would be fantastic if the weather is as good as it was in September.We also get to visit the Isle of Mull.I love Oban too.
    ikwig

    Reply
  33. IKWIG sounds like a film I ought to see but what is the proper title, surley not IKWIG. Next year I’m going back there and staying at Loch Awe, it would be fantastic if the weather is as good as it was in September.We also get to visit the Isle of Mull.I love Oban too.
    ikwig

    Reply
  34. IKWIG sounds like a film I ought to see but what is the proper title, surley not IKWIG. Next year I’m going back there and staying at Loch Awe, it would be fantastic if the weather is as good as it was in September.We also get to visit the Isle of Mull.I love Oban too.
    ikwig

    Reply
  35. IKWIG sounds like a film I ought to see but what is the proper title, surley not IKWIG. Next year I’m going back there and staying at Loch Awe, it would be fantastic if the weather is as good as it was in September.We also get to visit the Isle of Mull.I love Oban too.
    ikwig

    Reply
  36. LOL, Margaret, IKWIG is just the handy acronym for “I Know Where I’m Going,” as Mary Jo said. I have to admit that I am a very late convert to IKWIG and wasn’t aware of it until this year. There are many people, however, who have been IKWIG fans for years. I found the heroine very headstrong and didn’t like her very much although she gets there in the end. The hero is a Scottish laird and is lovely. The real star is the scenery! I hope you enjoy it, Mary Jo!

    Reply
  37. LOL, Margaret, IKWIG is just the handy acronym for “I Know Where I’m Going,” as Mary Jo said. I have to admit that I am a very late convert to IKWIG and wasn’t aware of it until this year. There are many people, however, who have been IKWIG fans for years. I found the heroine very headstrong and didn’t like her very much although she gets there in the end. The hero is a Scottish laird and is lovely. The real star is the scenery! I hope you enjoy it, Mary Jo!

    Reply
  38. LOL, Margaret, IKWIG is just the handy acronym for “I Know Where I’m Going,” as Mary Jo said. I have to admit that I am a very late convert to IKWIG and wasn’t aware of it until this year. There are many people, however, who have been IKWIG fans for years. I found the heroine very headstrong and didn’t like her very much although she gets there in the end. The hero is a Scottish laird and is lovely. The real star is the scenery! I hope you enjoy it, Mary Jo!

    Reply
  39. LOL, Margaret, IKWIG is just the handy acronym for “I Know Where I’m Going,” as Mary Jo said. I have to admit that I am a very late convert to IKWIG and wasn’t aware of it until this year. There are many people, however, who have been IKWIG fans for years. I found the heroine very headstrong and didn’t like her very much although she gets there in the end. The hero is a Scottish laird and is lovely. The real star is the scenery! I hope you enjoy it, Mary Jo!

    Reply
  40. LOL, Margaret, IKWIG is just the handy acronym for “I Know Where I’m Going,” as Mary Jo said. I have to admit that I am a very late convert to IKWIG and wasn’t aware of it until this year. There are many people, however, who have been IKWIG fans for years. I found the heroine very headstrong and didn’t like her very much although she gets there in the end. The hero is a Scottish laird and is lovely. The real star is the scenery! I hope you enjoy it, Mary Jo!

    Reply
  41. Great post, Nicola. I haven’t yet been to Scotland – it’s on my travel “wish list,” – but it’s definitely a wonderful setting for historical romance. My favorite place to both read and write about though, has to be Ireland. Such a very haunting place, with sadness intermingled with joy and hope. The music, the mythology, the wild landscapes and those “forty shades of green,” the castles, the cottages. It touches my heart as nothing else ever could. And I got to see it for the first time last July!

    Reply
  42. Great post, Nicola. I haven’t yet been to Scotland – it’s on my travel “wish list,” – but it’s definitely a wonderful setting for historical romance. My favorite place to both read and write about though, has to be Ireland. Such a very haunting place, with sadness intermingled with joy and hope. The music, the mythology, the wild landscapes and those “forty shades of green,” the castles, the cottages. It touches my heart as nothing else ever could. And I got to see it for the first time last July!

    Reply
  43. Great post, Nicola. I haven’t yet been to Scotland – it’s on my travel “wish list,” – but it’s definitely a wonderful setting for historical romance. My favorite place to both read and write about though, has to be Ireland. Such a very haunting place, with sadness intermingled with joy and hope. The music, the mythology, the wild landscapes and those “forty shades of green,” the castles, the cottages. It touches my heart as nothing else ever could. And I got to see it for the first time last July!

    Reply
  44. Great post, Nicola. I haven’t yet been to Scotland – it’s on my travel “wish list,” – but it’s definitely a wonderful setting for historical romance. My favorite place to both read and write about though, has to be Ireland. Such a very haunting place, with sadness intermingled with joy and hope. The music, the mythology, the wild landscapes and those “forty shades of green,” the castles, the cottages. It touches my heart as nothing else ever could. And I got to see it for the first time last July!

    Reply
  45. Great post, Nicola. I haven’t yet been to Scotland – it’s on my travel “wish list,” – but it’s definitely a wonderful setting for historical romance. My favorite place to both read and write about though, has to be Ireland. Such a very haunting place, with sadness intermingled with joy and hope. The music, the mythology, the wild landscapes and those “forty shades of green,” the castles, the cottages. It touches my heart as nothing else ever could. And I got to see it for the first time last July!

    Reply
  46. Oh, I’m so jealous. believe it or not, the setting for my current wip is an imaginary island in the Hebrides. I’ve been to Scotland, but never the islands, so I’ve watched all the YouTube clips I could and am currently reading Adam Nicolson’s Sea Room. I didn’t start the book until I was more than half-way through writing my own, and I’m glad to see his descriptions match my mind’s-eye.
    Scotland is breathtaking. Its only rival (in my opinion) is Cape Breton in Canada, settled by Scots (many from the islands, I believe).

    Reply
  47. Oh, I’m so jealous. believe it or not, the setting for my current wip is an imaginary island in the Hebrides. I’ve been to Scotland, but never the islands, so I’ve watched all the YouTube clips I could and am currently reading Adam Nicolson’s Sea Room. I didn’t start the book until I was more than half-way through writing my own, and I’m glad to see his descriptions match my mind’s-eye.
    Scotland is breathtaking. Its only rival (in my opinion) is Cape Breton in Canada, settled by Scots (many from the islands, I believe).

    Reply
  48. Oh, I’m so jealous. believe it or not, the setting for my current wip is an imaginary island in the Hebrides. I’ve been to Scotland, but never the islands, so I’ve watched all the YouTube clips I could and am currently reading Adam Nicolson’s Sea Room. I didn’t start the book until I was more than half-way through writing my own, and I’m glad to see his descriptions match my mind’s-eye.
    Scotland is breathtaking. Its only rival (in my opinion) is Cape Breton in Canada, settled by Scots (many from the islands, I believe).

    Reply
  49. Oh, I’m so jealous. believe it or not, the setting for my current wip is an imaginary island in the Hebrides. I’ve been to Scotland, but never the islands, so I’ve watched all the YouTube clips I could and am currently reading Adam Nicolson’s Sea Room. I didn’t start the book until I was more than half-way through writing my own, and I’m glad to see his descriptions match my mind’s-eye.
    Scotland is breathtaking. Its only rival (in my opinion) is Cape Breton in Canada, settled by Scots (many from the islands, I believe).

    Reply
  50. Oh, I’m so jealous. believe it or not, the setting for my current wip is an imaginary island in the Hebrides. I’ve been to Scotland, but never the islands, so I’ve watched all the YouTube clips I could and am currently reading Adam Nicolson’s Sea Room. I didn’t start the book until I was more than half-way through writing my own, and I’m glad to see his descriptions match my mind’s-eye.
    Scotland is breathtaking. Its only rival (in my opinion) is Cape Breton in Canada, settled by Scots (many from the islands, I believe).

    Reply
  51. I love the idea of “forty shades of green” in Ireland, Cynthia! It certainly does rival Scotland as a stunning setting. I’m so pleased you had a great visit!
    Maggie, Sea Room is one of my favourite books. I think Adam Nicolson’s writing is so evocative and I seriously envied him having a family island of his own! Some people are very lucky indeed!
    Am wondering why Wales is not as popular a setting as Scotland and Ireland. It’s Celtic and stunningly beautiful. Cornwall too…

    Reply
  52. I love the idea of “forty shades of green” in Ireland, Cynthia! It certainly does rival Scotland as a stunning setting. I’m so pleased you had a great visit!
    Maggie, Sea Room is one of my favourite books. I think Adam Nicolson’s writing is so evocative and I seriously envied him having a family island of his own! Some people are very lucky indeed!
    Am wondering why Wales is not as popular a setting as Scotland and Ireland. It’s Celtic and stunningly beautiful. Cornwall too…

    Reply
  53. I love the idea of “forty shades of green” in Ireland, Cynthia! It certainly does rival Scotland as a stunning setting. I’m so pleased you had a great visit!
    Maggie, Sea Room is one of my favourite books. I think Adam Nicolson’s writing is so evocative and I seriously envied him having a family island of his own! Some people are very lucky indeed!
    Am wondering why Wales is not as popular a setting as Scotland and Ireland. It’s Celtic and stunningly beautiful. Cornwall too…

    Reply
  54. I love the idea of “forty shades of green” in Ireland, Cynthia! It certainly does rival Scotland as a stunning setting. I’m so pleased you had a great visit!
    Maggie, Sea Room is one of my favourite books. I think Adam Nicolson’s writing is so evocative and I seriously envied him having a family island of his own! Some people are very lucky indeed!
    Am wondering why Wales is not as popular a setting as Scotland and Ireland. It’s Celtic and stunningly beautiful. Cornwall too…

    Reply
  55. I love the idea of “forty shades of green” in Ireland, Cynthia! It certainly does rival Scotland as a stunning setting. I’m so pleased you had a great visit!
    Maggie, Sea Room is one of my favourite books. I think Adam Nicolson’s writing is so evocative and I seriously envied him having a family island of his own! Some people are very lucky indeed!
    Am wondering why Wales is not as popular a setting as Scotland and Ireland. It’s Celtic and stunningly beautiful. Cornwall too…

    Reply
  56. What a wonderful trip, Nicola. Having traveled through Scotand a number of times, I have to agree with you about it being the absolute perfect setting for a romance novel. The craggy cliffs, the wind-whipped lochs, the heathered moors, the misty seas—it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I took a boat from Oban to the island of Islay (for golf, of all things) The island is known for its distinctive whisky. As we drove along the road, the air was redolent with the smell of burning peat drying the grains used in the distilleries. (the smoke give the Islay malts their distinctive salt/earthy taste.) Also, it was fun to see the sheep digging out little hollows in the sides of the hills to get protection from the wind. That’s the orgins of bunkers on a golf course!
    Now you’ve made me want to go to Mull and the other islands to do the castle tour.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  57. What a wonderful trip, Nicola. Having traveled through Scotand a number of times, I have to agree with you about it being the absolute perfect setting for a romance novel. The craggy cliffs, the wind-whipped lochs, the heathered moors, the misty seas—it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I took a boat from Oban to the island of Islay (for golf, of all things) The island is known for its distinctive whisky. As we drove along the road, the air was redolent with the smell of burning peat drying the grains used in the distilleries. (the smoke give the Islay malts their distinctive salt/earthy taste.) Also, it was fun to see the sheep digging out little hollows in the sides of the hills to get protection from the wind. That’s the orgins of bunkers on a golf course!
    Now you’ve made me want to go to Mull and the other islands to do the castle tour.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  58. What a wonderful trip, Nicola. Having traveled through Scotand a number of times, I have to agree with you about it being the absolute perfect setting for a romance novel. The craggy cliffs, the wind-whipped lochs, the heathered moors, the misty seas—it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I took a boat from Oban to the island of Islay (for golf, of all things) The island is known for its distinctive whisky. As we drove along the road, the air was redolent with the smell of burning peat drying the grains used in the distilleries. (the smoke give the Islay malts their distinctive salt/earthy taste.) Also, it was fun to see the sheep digging out little hollows in the sides of the hills to get protection from the wind. That’s the orgins of bunkers on a golf course!
    Now you’ve made me want to go to Mull and the other islands to do the castle tour.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  59. What a wonderful trip, Nicola. Having traveled through Scotand a number of times, I have to agree with you about it being the absolute perfect setting for a romance novel. The craggy cliffs, the wind-whipped lochs, the heathered moors, the misty seas—it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I took a boat from Oban to the island of Islay (for golf, of all things) The island is known for its distinctive whisky. As we drove along the road, the air was redolent with the smell of burning peat drying the grains used in the distilleries. (the smoke give the Islay malts their distinctive salt/earthy taste.) Also, it was fun to see the sheep digging out little hollows in the sides of the hills to get protection from the wind. That’s the orgins of bunkers on a golf course!
    Now you’ve made me want to go to Mull and the other islands to do the castle tour.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  60. What a wonderful trip, Nicola. Having traveled through Scotand a number of times, I have to agree with you about it being the absolute perfect setting for a romance novel. The craggy cliffs, the wind-whipped lochs, the heathered moors, the misty seas—it doesn’t get any better than that.
    I took a boat from Oban to the island of Islay (for golf, of all things) The island is known for its distinctive whisky. As we drove along the road, the air was redolent with the smell of burning peat drying the grains used in the distilleries. (the smoke give the Islay malts their distinctive salt/earthy taste.) Also, it was fun to see the sheep digging out little hollows in the sides of the hills to get protection from the wind. That’s the orgins of bunkers on a golf course!
    Now you’ve made me want to go to Mull and the other islands to do the castle tour.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  61. I had no idea that bunkers on the golf course originated from the sheep digging little hollows for protection against the weather, Andrea. What a fascinating fact! I guess they need all the protection they can get in that climate. They must be very hardy. Even here in the south of England the weather can be wild and the other day all the animals in the fields were lined up with their backs to the wind and rain, sheep, cows, horses all in a row! They looked very cute and they simply stood there until the storm had died down.

    Reply
  62. I had no idea that bunkers on the golf course originated from the sheep digging little hollows for protection against the weather, Andrea. What a fascinating fact! I guess they need all the protection they can get in that climate. They must be very hardy. Even here in the south of England the weather can be wild and the other day all the animals in the fields were lined up with their backs to the wind and rain, sheep, cows, horses all in a row! They looked very cute and they simply stood there until the storm had died down.

    Reply
  63. I had no idea that bunkers on the golf course originated from the sheep digging little hollows for protection against the weather, Andrea. What a fascinating fact! I guess they need all the protection they can get in that climate. They must be very hardy. Even here in the south of England the weather can be wild and the other day all the animals in the fields were lined up with their backs to the wind and rain, sheep, cows, horses all in a row! They looked very cute and they simply stood there until the storm had died down.

    Reply
  64. I had no idea that bunkers on the golf course originated from the sheep digging little hollows for protection against the weather, Andrea. What a fascinating fact! I guess they need all the protection they can get in that climate. They must be very hardy. Even here in the south of England the weather can be wild and the other day all the animals in the fields were lined up with their backs to the wind and rain, sheep, cows, horses all in a row! They looked very cute and they simply stood there until the storm had died down.

    Reply
  65. I had no idea that bunkers on the golf course originated from the sheep digging little hollows for protection against the weather, Andrea. What a fascinating fact! I guess they need all the protection they can get in that climate. They must be very hardy. Even here in the south of England the weather can be wild and the other day all the animals in the fields were lined up with their backs to the wind and rain, sheep, cows, horses all in a row! They looked very cute and they simply stood there until the storm had died down.

    Reply
  66. What a fascinating account – I’m particularly envious of your visit to Fingal’s Cave. It inspired a Mendelssohn overture which I used to play with the youth orchestra and I always wondered what the place itself was like. Thanks for feeding my imagination. You have a real gift for weaving visual images with words, which is one of the reasons I love your ‘Kidnapped’ so much.
    On the subject of sheep and inclement weather, I remember visiting a farm near my grandmother’s house shortly after lambing as a very young child and there had been a sudden unexpected drop in the temperature. The farmer’s solution was to cut holes in garbage bags, and all the lambs were gambolling around – or whatever it is lambs do – wearing bright blue plastic ‘coats’. So funny. I’ve never forgotten that image.

    Reply
  67. What a fascinating account – I’m particularly envious of your visit to Fingal’s Cave. It inspired a Mendelssohn overture which I used to play with the youth orchestra and I always wondered what the place itself was like. Thanks for feeding my imagination. You have a real gift for weaving visual images with words, which is one of the reasons I love your ‘Kidnapped’ so much.
    On the subject of sheep and inclement weather, I remember visiting a farm near my grandmother’s house shortly after lambing as a very young child and there had been a sudden unexpected drop in the temperature. The farmer’s solution was to cut holes in garbage bags, and all the lambs were gambolling around – or whatever it is lambs do – wearing bright blue plastic ‘coats’. So funny. I’ve never forgotten that image.

    Reply
  68. What a fascinating account – I’m particularly envious of your visit to Fingal’s Cave. It inspired a Mendelssohn overture which I used to play with the youth orchestra and I always wondered what the place itself was like. Thanks for feeding my imagination. You have a real gift for weaving visual images with words, which is one of the reasons I love your ‘Kidnapped’ so much.
    On the subject of sheep and inclement weather, I remember visiting a farm near my grandmother’s house shortly after lambing as a very young child and there had been a sudden unexpected drop in the temperature. The farmer’s solution was to cut holes in garbage bags, and all the lambs were gambolling around – or whatever it is lambs do – wearing bright blue plastic ‘coats’. So funny. I’ve never forgotten that image.

    Reply
  69. What a fascinating account – I’m particularly envious of your visit to Fingal’s Cave. It inspired a Mendelssohn overture which I used to play with the youth orchestra and I always wondered what the place itself was like. Thanks for feeding my imagination. You have a real gift for weaving visual images with words, which is one of the reasons I love your ‘Kidnapped’ so much.
    On the subject of sheep and inclement weather, I remember visiting a farm near my grandmother’s house shortly after lambing as a very young child and there had been a sudden unexpected drop in the temperature. The farmer’s solution was to cut holes in garbage bags, and all the lambs were gambolling around – or whatever it is lambs do – wearing bright blue plastic ‘coats’. So funny. I’ve never forgotten that image.

    Reply
  70. What a fascinating account – I’m particularly envious of your visit to Fingal’s Cave. It inspired a Mendelssohn overture which I used to play with the youth orchestra and I always wondered what the place itself was like. Thanks for feeding my imagination. You have a real gift for weaving visual images with words, which is one of the reasons I love your ‘Kidnapped’ so much.
    On the subject of sheep and inclement weather, I remember visiting a farm near my grandmother’s house shortly after lambing as a very young child and there had been a sudden unexpected drop in the temperature. The farmer’s solution was to cut holes in garbage bags, and all the lambs were gambolling around – or whatever it is lambs do – wearing bright blue plastic ‘coats’. So funny. I’ve never forgotten that image.

    Reply
  71. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of the lambs scampering around in their little blue plastic coats! Very resourceful!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. Fingal’s Cave is a stunning piece of music and it was wonderful to see the place that inspired it. Oh, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed “Kidnapped.” Thank you!

    Reply
  72. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of the lambs scampering around in their little blue plastic coats! Very resourceful!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. Fingal’s Cave is a stunning piece of music and it was wonderful to see the place that inspired it. Oh, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed “Kidnapped.” Thank you!

    Reply
  73. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of the lambs scampering around in their little blue plastic coats! Very resourceful!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. Fingal’s Cave is a stunning piece of music and it was wonderful to see the place that inspired it. Oh, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed “Kidnapped.” Thank you!

    Reply
  74. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of the lambs scampering around in their little blue plastic coats! Very resourceful!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. Fingal’s Cave is a stunning piece of music and it was wonderful to see the place that inspired it. Oh, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed “Kidnapped.” Thank you!

    Reply
  75. Sarah, I LOVE the idea of the lambs scampering around in their little blue plastic coats! Very resourceful!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post. Fingal’s Cave is a stunning piece of music and it was wonderful to see the place that inspired it. Oh, and I’m so pleased you enjoyed “Kidnapped.” Thank you!

    Reply
  76. I am just now seeing this. I was on Mull and Iona in May and it was – quite possibly – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you for your post which brought back such lovely memories.
    And, yes, Scotland is pretty much the best place to set a novel. 🙂

    Reply
  77. I am just now seeing this. I was on Mull and Iona in May and it was – quite possibly – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you for your post which brought back such lovely memories.
    And, yes, Scotland is pretty much the best place to set a novel. 🙂

    Reply
  78. I am just now seeing this. I was on Mull and Iona in May and it was – quite possibly – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you for your post which brought back such lovely memories.
    And, yes, Scotland is pretty much the best place to set a novel. 🙂

    Reply
  79. I am just now seeing this. I was on Mull and Iona in May and it was – quite possibly – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you for your post which brought back such lovely memories.
    And, yes, Scotland is pretty much the best place to set a novel. 🙂

    Reply
  80. I am just now seeing this. I was on Mull and Iona in May and it was – quite possibly – the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Thank you for your post which brought back such lovely memories.
    And, yes, Scotland is pretty much the best place to set a novel. 🙂

    Reply

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