Poetry and Murder

27 January 2017

 beach books

Many people look forward to a holiday for the simple pleasure of curling up with a decent book. Fortunately then Scotland has no shortage of interesting books to read and peaceful, relaxing places to read them. These are a few of our favourites.

The Hebrides are the location for Peter May’s bestselling Lewis Trilogy. The books, which will be filmed for the BBC this year feature landmarks all over the islands and have been responsible for a massive increase in interest in visitor numbers. Uig on the west coast of Lewis is the setting for a number of pivotal scenes in the books and also the four star luxury cottage of Taigh nan Eilean. Relax by the peat fire and immerse yourself in the world of Peter May, then step outside and experience it for yourself.

Ian Rankin and his fictional detective Rebus have dominated the Edinburgh literary landscape for decades. Fans of the books will find much to interest them in the city with bars, and murder locations a plenty. The seedy underbelly of the city so vividly described in the books can be safely explored by taking one of the many literary tours on offer.  When the criminality of the big city gets too much then Denfind House, just a short train journey up the coast makes the ideal getaway. Peace, privacy and tranquillity and a walled garden to read in the sun.

At the Loch of the Green Corrie is the story by the Scottish novelist Andrew Greig of a trip to Assynt to fish at a secret loch on behalf of the ailing poet Norman MacCaig. It is a biography of MacCaig as well as a beautiful depiction of the North West of Scotland and an ode to trout fishing. Seahorses, near Drumbeg has stunning views over the Assynt mountains, it is easy when looking at the panoramic vista from here to see how so many writers have been inspired by the landscape.

The film version of Under The Skin was released last year and filmed in Glencoe and Glasgow but the setting for the original novel is altogether different. The A9 north of Inverness has lesser known attractions and the author, who lives in the area, has managed to capture its subtle beauty perfectly. Driving north to a house like the Old Salmon Bothy you will pass many landmarks mentioned in the book.

Alan Warner is a native of Oban and the town is fictionalised in his novels as “The Port”. The most famous of these, Morvern Callar was also filmed in the area but it is the sequel These Demented Lands we would most recommend. This stunningly evocative novel gives a quirky look at the eccentricities of isolated west coast communities. Just a short hop from Oban you can experience the locale of the book for yourself from the comfort of Cuan Choluim Chille on the Isle of Mull.

2015 sees the publication of the 31st Hamish Macbeth book. The series which follows the adventures of a rural policeman, in the fictional village of Lochdubh, is a gentle and light hearted look at west coast Scotland and was filmed for the BBC in Plockton.  Couldoran House is less than an hour’s drive away; its remote location and surrounding landscape, a constant reminder to guests of part of the reason for the global success of the series.

Photo Credit: Pixabay