I suppose the Stuart stories could be set almost anywhere, Miss Walkinshaw, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s mistress was from Glasgow and he died in Rome but it’s the Highlands I want to set them in. I’ve travelled through several times, but would like to go back. With other members of the Stobehaven Yacht Club, I sailed through the Caledonian Canal some years ago, and when I saw the Caledonian Discovery advert for a barge trip through that, I thought, that’s for me. Instead of being a deck hand, I can laze my way though and soak up the magic of the Great Glen. If there is anywhere that magic still lives, it’s among the gleams of sunlight that split the mist among the lochs and bens and glens of Dalriada. I can’t imagine seven men landing anywhere else and proposing to conquer Britain, as Charlie did in 1745. I’d be reluctant to write a story about a man cutting open a pony, gutting it and pushing a woman and her child inside, to save them from dying in the snow, and setting it in the Lowlands, or the English Midlands, but it happened in the Highlands.
Trouble was, I wanted to go in May/June to avoid the midges, but then came this pandemic and the trip was put on hold. I just hope it’s not booked solid for the next two years or something.
In the meantime, I must get The Show Might Go On into its best form for submission to Birlinn. It’s a good tale about a village fighting to keep its identity. It’s full of the kind of incident I remember from my boyhood in the 1950’s and, from what research I’ve been able to do, just the kind of thing Birlinn print.