Literature in Argyll & The Isles

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  • Looking across to a snow covered Beinn Dorain Munro between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy, Argyll & The Isles
    A view of a snow covered Beinn Dorain Munro between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy
  • Looking along a garden path to a doorway in to Inveraray Castle, Argyll & The Isles
    A garden path leading to a doorway in to Inveraray Castle
  • Para Handy Cottage in Inveraray - the birthplace of Neil Munro, Argyll & The Isles
    Para Handy Cottage in Inveraray - the birthplace of Neil Munro
  • The S.S. Sir Walter Scott sailing at teh east end of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs
    The S.S. Sir Walter Scott sailing at Loch Katrine in the Trossachs
  • The famous Vital Spark boat at low tide, part of the Inveraray Maritime Museum, Argyll & The Isles
    The Vital Spark at low tide, part of the Inveraray Maritime Museum

Steeped in history, culture and heritage, Argyll & The Isles boasts an abundance of attractions to visit associated with great authors whose works, inspired by the region’s outstanding natural beauty, give a remarkable insight into the days gone by. Learn about Argyll & The Isles’ literary connections and explore the snapshots of the past life.

Transport yourself to the world of writer Neil Munro as you visit Inveraray. Explore the unique Inveraray Castle on the shore of Loch Fyne along with Crombie’s Land, now known as Para Handy Cottage, and what is the birthplace of this worldwide famous author.

His works reflect the influence of the exceptional beauty of Inveraray and Glen Aray where Munro spent much of his childhood. The most-loved ones, written under the pen-name of Hugh Foulis, are short tales about Para Handy and the crew of the Vital Spark. Why not follow the Para Handy Trail to retrace ‘the smertest boat’s’ steps and experience this stunning corner of Scotland for yourself?

Don’t forget to also visit Inveraray Jail as it seems likely Neil lived there for some of his life as his mother appears to have been employed at the site.

While walking the West Highland Way, take a small detour to hike Beinn Dorain. To best appreciate its beauty, read the Praise of Ben Dorian poem written by one of the most renowned Scottish Gaelic poets, Duncan Ban MacIntyre. See this imposing mountain set in the Bridge of Orchy hills through his eyes as he celebrates and vibrantly evokes an image of a hunt for deer and other wildlife that roamed its wooded slopes. Or why not visit the monument erected in honour of this Gaelic poet near Loch Awe?

If you are on a quest for Gaelic prose, head to Carnasserie Castle. Perched atop a hill overlooking the enchanting Kilmartin Glen, this today ruined castle is where the very first Gaelic printed book to appear in Scotland was produced. The John Knox’s Book of Common Order was translated by the powerful and influential bishop John Carswell in 1560.

Pay a visit to Fingal’s Cave in the Isle of Staffa whose weed-covered chambers and marvellous basaltic pillars fed the French writer Jules Verne’s imagination during his 1859 sea voyage through Isle of Mull, Iona, Staffa and probably Oban. The site is believed to have given the origin to his Le Rayon Vert novel.

Follow in the footsteps of famous poets and writers and discover fascinating literary connections to this unique region or celebrate the inspiring beauty of Argyll & The Isles by writing your own piece.

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