Kyle of Lochalsh – Dan Boothby -Island of Dreams

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Why a booktrail?

Opportunity comes in the form of a tiny island in the Scottish Highlands

Story in a nutshell

Dan Boothby had been searching for the perfect place for years. He had no ties, family or possessions to speak of but just wanted the perfect place to land. The only thing he did feel connected to in a way was the book Ring of Bright Water Trilogy by Gavin Maxwell. When he got the chance to move to Maxwell’s former home on the tiny island in the Kyle of Lochalsh,he jumps at the chance.

He sets up home in the Kyleakin Lighthouse, the last home of the author and then he sets about creating his own story as he attempts to better understand the mysterious Gavin Maxwell.

Place and setting

SCOTLAMND

Kyleakin Island and its Lighthouse Where the author Gavin Maxwell last lived and where Dan now moves to Skye Bridge The controversial bridge which links the mainland to the island with “steel and concrete” Kyleakin, Isle of Skye The Brightwater Visitor Centre is the place to visit http://www.eileanban.org/visitor-centre.html
Kyleakin Island and its Lighthouse
Where the author Gavin Maxwell last lived and where Dan now moves to
Skye Bridge
The controversial bridge which links the mainland to the island with “steel and concrete”
Kyleakin, Isle of Skye
The Brightwater Visitor Centre is the place to visit
http://www.eileanban.org/visitor-centre.html

Eilean Bàn

Following the sites of your favourite author’s book? Going to see where he lived and wrote? Sounds like a booktrailer to us. But going to live in the lighthouse where the author last lived? Now that is dedication.

Reading about Maxwell’s adventures, I hankered after the life he described in the books: the romance of mountain, sea and rock, vivid colour and violent sky

Ring of Bright Water was the iconic book that detailed Gavin Maxwell’s first ten years  on the island and his experience of living in the remote but wildlife rich island of  Eilean Bàn.  He went to live in an abandoned home on a shingle beach and settled there with only the otters for company

The landscape is the main characters here from the seasons, to the Gaelic personalities each of them have (Skye is known as the Misty Isle)

Richly evocative of life – the island is awash with it and alive with sound. The wildlife of course is the main feature – from the otters, to the oystercatchers they become Gavin’s community.

There at last, at the mouth of Lock Alsh, sitting beneath the sleek , grey stretch of the Skye Bridge, The tiny lighthouse island. The windows of the cottage wink, the Cuillin mountains rise massive and disinterested behind.

The people – “the Wednesday work crew” are those who live off the island but who come each Wednesday to do what they can to keep things tidy and the plant life in order, particularly as it grows so fast they can barely keep up in the summer months. Each place has Maxwell’s footprints on it and the lighthouse has other literary links to it as well!

Further afield is the pilgrimage haunt  The remoteness and beauty of Camusfearna, the place called Sandaig near Glenelg which he also immortalised in his books.

Take the walk here – http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/kintail/Sandaig.shtml

This is the landscape of Gavin Maxwell and his ghosts but also a personal literary pilgrimage to Dan Boothby’s own story and a homage of love and devotion he gives to the very special island in his heart.

Visit Dan here –

Web – http://danboothby.weebly.com/

Twitter – @danrboothby

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