I'm walking the West Highland Way in September (soft option - B&B all the way).
I would like to read about the history of the area as I go so can any of you guys recommend any books on historical events associated with the region?
I'm carrying all my kit so no heavy hardback tomes please. All suggestions gratefully received.
Not sure about historical books but you've surely got to take "The Hills are Stuffed with Swedish Girls"!
Not strictly historical and not exclusively confined to the WHW area, but a fair amount of Tom Weir's writings (Weir's Way, Highland Days etc) cover outdoors and climbing, natural history and local history/anecdote of that area. As does one of my favourites, Alastair Borthwick's 'Always a Little Further'.
John Prebble covers much highland clan / Jacobite history, specifically with 'Glencoe' dealing with the massacre, and more generally 'The Highland Clearances', but tbh I always found his writing a bit dry.
well, John Prebble's Glen Coe (story of the massacre) is a good read... not too thick a tome
edit Matt posted whilst I was typing/browsing elsewhere
Jock Nimlin's biography, "May the fires always be lit" is a tremendous read - one of the legendary pioneers of Scottish climbing and writing about climbing. Tough doesn't come close. See here or buy it here.
You absolutely must, must, must bring with you "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson. (remember that "Treasure Island" is also by him.) It's set all around the WHW area, and you can buy a beautiful, tiny, wonderfully printed copy of it for around £7.99 from the Collector's Library. I have been taking these books with me (or their predecessors - the World's Classics) all my life. I'd hardly ever set out on a walk without one.
It is a really great, riveting tale, immensely readable, about wandering around and sleeping out in the mountans, and one of the main reasons why we all love this part of Scotland.
to quote wikipedia:
As historical fiction, it is set around 18th-century Scottish events, notably the "<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appin_Murder" title="Appin Murder">Appin Murder</a>", which occurred near <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballachulish" title="Ballachulish">Ballachulish</a> in 1752 in the aftermath of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_Rising" title="Jacobite Rising">Jacobite Rising</a>. Many of the characters, and one of the principals, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Breck_Stewart" title="Alan Breck Stewart">Alan Breck Stewart</a>, were real people. The political situation of the time is portrayed from different viewpoints, and the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Highlanders" title="Scottish Highlanders">Scottish Highlanders</a> are treated sympathetically.
Sorry this is all linky. I'd have tidied it up but some of the links might be useful.
Thanks for the suggestions, guys.
Some excellent ideas - looks like Prebble is a popular choice for history.
Kish, I had completely forgotten about Kidnapped. Good idea - I haven't read it since I was at school.
I know the semi recent history of the area hasn't been at all jolly, but really not sure if the Glencoe massacare is precisely inspirational holiday reading! Ditto anything about the clearances....
Kidnapped Yes - good suggestion - been meaning to reread it for a while too.
Callout by Hamish McInnes is good - about the early days of GlenCoe MRT - with stories of hair raising winter rescues and members floundering around Rannoch Moor
Rob Roy is another swashbuckling classic set in the area.
Martin Carpenter wrote (see)
That's OK - I'm English so it'll be a welcome bit of Schadenfreude.
I expect all the bad stuff gets blamed on us anyway...
Well us and the sheep that is! Actually, being basically English but with some distant ancestory having suffered at Glencoe, I get to worry about persecuting myself
Just remembered one I read a while back...
"Children of the Dead End" by Patrick MacGill. Novel based on the authors own memories of his life in Ireland and Scotland in the early 1900s including his time as a a navvy building the Blackwater Dam above Kinlochleven.
Oh I suspect I'd rather like most of those books, but the clearances really are a rather depressing moment in our history.
The others do sound like good ideas.
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