The Highlands of Scotland is a spectacularly beautiful, awe-inspiring landscape.
It is widely perceived as a region of rugged mountains, dark lochs and valleys, windswept moors, rushing rivers and remote forests, circled by eagles and inhabited by isolated human settlements and wildlife of all kinds. It is Europe's last wilderness. Much of this vision is certainly true, which is why the region attracts so many visitors and tourists, keen to visit nature at its most untamed.
However, what is rarely appreciated is its diversity − in physical, cultural and economic terms − which quickly becomes evident to visitors to this north-western corner of Britain. From sheltered fishing villages to baronial mansions, fertile farmland to massive oil rig yards, miles of sandy beaches and small holiday resorts to forbidding peat bogs, bustling market towns to dolphins cavorting in the offshore waters... and so much more.
In this new guide to the region, two native Highlanders − one a broadcaster and journalist, the other a writer and publisher − present their selection of twenty-five areas, in order more fully to understand the rich variety which the Highlands has to offer the traveller. These are the places which everyone should visit to appreciate and enjoy this stunning land.
In 'Where Seagulls Dare', Iain and Rab describe, in an entertaining, anecdotal and informative manner, the fascinating history and the current reality, complexity and often unequalled beauty of the Highland region. It is a book which should be read by all visitors to the Highlands.
Paperback: 224 pages
'Both talented writers give their viewpoints on different towns, areas and villages across the region, giving their own personal insights via anecdotes and potted histories. I found myself laughing out loud at some of their yarns... an ideal book for tourists looking to get more out of a visit, but also a gem of a book for locals who will enjoy reading informative and entertaining yarns about the Highlands and Islands' Book of the Week in the Press & Journal
'It is a rare guidebook that can get to the heart or the humour of the resident population, let alone reveal some of those more obscure facts and folklore about the region – from why it is unwise to play the piano in Cromarty to the unique languages of Caithness and Stornoway and Loch Ness monster wars. Filling that gap with a healthy helping of humour is Where Seagulls Dare by Lewis-born broadcaster and journalist Iain MacDonald and Invernessian writer and publisher Rab MacWilliam... alongside the quirky and the curious, there are also some serious undertones, mostly related to who owns the land and how it is used.' Highland News
'A Highlands and Islands story in which personal anecdotes rub shoulders with cruel history. Both authors are alive to the 'self-seeking hyperbole, misleading myths, romantic but error-strewn' histories of the region... an eccentric approach which shouldn't really work but it does, A welcome new adition to the guidebook genre.' Sunday Herald