The Hebrides

The Hebrides by Paul Murton

05 January 2018

Price: £14.99

Author: Paul Murton

Publisher: Birlinn

ISBN number: 978-1780274676

If you’ve enjoyed watching Paul Murton’s Grand Tours of Scotland BBC television series, you’ll also enjoy reading this handsome book. Covering the islands of the west coast of Scotland, Paul travels from Gigha off Kintyre to North Rona, via Islay, Jura, Mull, Skye, the Western Isles and many other smaller islands. The glorious photographs showcase the stunning beauty of these islands with their white sands and turquoise seas, their hills, lochans and the green machair carpeted with wildflowers. 

The book is full of interest, with Paul’s amiable and informative voice demonstrating a strong connection to and appreciation of the landscape and the people who live, or lived, in these islands. Paul climbs hills, meets a wide range of local people, unearths old tales and searches out the history and archaeology of these remote places.  Most of these islands were inhabited for millennia, and although some communities do still hang on, and in a few places are even thriving, the thread running through the text is inevitably of the Clearances. It’s a story of reduced populations and abandoned, ruined villages, crumbling back into the land they came from. 

Inevitably, attempting to cover more than 60 islands in a single book is a challenge, and as a result, the text only just scratches the surface for most of the islands, but there’s a good reference section suggesting further reading. However it’ll certainly whet the appetite for a trip to these isles, and the book’s also great for dipping into, perhaps to remind yourself of your own travels along the western edge of Scotland. Helen Todd