The Scottish landscape has been a source of inspiration to artists, writers and musicians for hundreds of years. From the Viking sagas to the present day success of television programmes such as Outlander our countryside has an amazing and long lasting impact on those who visit.
1984, probably one of the most important novels of the 20th century was written by George Orwell while living on the Isle of Jura. A near death experience with the Corryvreckan whirlpool is said to have been particularly influential in his terrifying depiction of a nightmare future. Ardlarach Lodge on the nearby island of Luing is the perfect place to relax in front of the fire with a good book and if you are feeling adventurous then boat trips to see the famous Corryvreckan whirlpool leave from nearby Easdale island. The whirlpool is one of the biggest in the world and is truly an awe inspiring sight but thankfully not as dangerous an undertaking as in Orwell’s day.
Going to the cinema to see a western featuring one of the biggest movie stars in the world you might not expect to see the mountains of the west coast of Scotland. Slow West, stars Michael Fassbender and was partially filmed in the village of Achiltibuie. The mountains are instantly recognisable to anyone who has visited the area and the white sandy beaches look as appealing on the big screen as they do in real life. To check them out for yourself why not stay at Culkein Lodge and immerse yourself in this historic landscape.
Black Rock Gorge in Evanton is the source of an enduring local myth regarding its most famous inhabitant, none other than the devil himself. This was used as the backdrop to local writer George Robertson’s award winning tale of madness and religious faith. The Testament of Gideon Mack updates the myth and explores the significance of stories like these to small highland communities. The gorge can be easily visited from any of the LHH properties on the Black Isle, The Burrow, for example is less than 10 miles away.
Sorley Maclean was born and raised on the island of Raasay with Gaelic as his first language. He would later become one of the most influential Scottish poets of his generation publishing many volumes of work in both English and Gaelic. The highland clearances are central to his writing with the landscapes of the north and west having a profound effect on him. The Beach House on Skye looks over to the isle of Raasay. It’s a short hop by ferry from Sconser (or a longer paddle) to get to this intriguing place which was also the location for the bestselling non-fiction book Calum’s Road.
Katie Morag is the title character of a series of children's picture books written and illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick. The author lived and worked on the west coast of Scotland for many years and her experiences of the joys of island life come through in her stories. The books are set on the fictional Isle of Struay, but were actually filmed for TV on the island of Lewis. Kneep Cottage is right in the middle of where the filming took place so is the perfect place to stay while checking out the surrounding area and taking the children to see all of the places they will be familiar with from watching the TV series.
One of the most famous of all Scottish writers, Sir Walter Scott lived in the borders at Ashiestiel House from 1804 to 1812. It was here that he wrote Marmion, reputedly while sitting under the Marmion oak by the banks of the river Tweed. This epic poem about the battle of Flodden features the line “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!” one of the all-time most quoted excerpts of Scottish poetry and is recommended reading for any guests planning to stay at this magnificent house.