Macc and Other Islands
- Graham Wilson
- Hardback (192pp)
- 01 Jan 2004
‘The slops of Heaval tumble down to Castlebay, across the harbour to neighbouring Vatersay, then on to the archipelago of islands that peter to the point where Scotland runs out. The names – Sandray, Pabbay, Mingulay, Berneray – trip off the tongue, spilling headlong to the fullstop that is the lighthouse at Barra Head.’
Not all the islands are the traditional variety – some entertaining definition-bending has gone on – but Macc and Other Islands is vintage Wilson, a stimulating brew of lyrical and satirical, with chasers of the unexpected.
‘I once nearly jumped on an eagle. It was hidden under the cornice of a peat hag, feeding on a dead sheep. I, late for my rendezvous, was running down the hillside, vaulting down the smaller eroded steps. The eagle must have been only aware of me at the last moment because as I took off, so did it. It was one of those slow motion moments that film-makers indulge in.’
And there are chirping rabbits, clingfilmed whisky, vengeful collies a disappointed bridge …
In Macc and Other Islands, Graham Wilson explores some of the remotest, most spectacular parts of Britain — the Hebrides, Orkneys and a couple of deserted Atlantic outposts. Landscapes, people and snippets of history are recalled with wit and affection: Rum, Eriskay, Mingulay, Jura, Sula, Arran, Hoy, Skomer and, above all, Barra.
Reaching even the inhabited islands is not always straightforward, especially if you forsake the car for the sake of the planet, are encumbered by a young family and have rashly decided to revisit scenes of summer pleasure in the depths of winter. Other islands, like Sula, are only visited by those driven by religion, ancient tradition or economic need.
Graham Wilson's climbing career began on the crags of the North East in the 1950s but it was not until he retired as Head of English at the King's School in Macclesfield that he started to write about his long acquaintance with the British hills. Since then, he has had seven 'outdoor' books published, as well as a collection of short stories, a study of Shakespeare and an appraisal of English rugby. His book A Rope of Writers was short-listed for the Boardman Tasker Prize.
He is an ardent Sunderland supporter and was also for many years an English Schools rugby selector. He has live in Macclesfield with his wife Trisha for over 40 years.
- Title: Macc and Other Islands
- Author: Graham Wilson
- Imprint: Millrace Outdoor
- ISBN: 9781902173153
- Publication date: 2004
- Title: Chris Bonington Mountaineer
- Sub-title: Thirty Years of Climbing on the World's Great Peaks
- Author: Chris Bonington
- Imprint: Bâton Wicks
- ISBN: 978-1-898573-87-6
- Rights: Worldwide (exc. North America)
- Publication date: June 1995. This edition, Oct 1996.
- Edition: Second
- Format: Paperback
- Size: 350mm x 235mm
- Extent: 192 pages; B&W and colour images
- Weight: 1,070g
- Retail price: £20 - See more at: http://www.batonwicks.com/books/categories/large-format-books/chris-bonington-mountaineer.html#sthash.DhezSY6b.dpuf
- Format: Hardback
- Size: 170mm x 120mm
- Extent: 192pp, B&W text and illustrations
- Weight: 320g
- Retail price: £14.95
'I advocate your journeying through interesting places with Graham Wilson. He knows where he is going, from shore to summit, from barren rocks to treasure islands, and wants to share outlooks and insights as well as views spectacular and views held. Here geography, biography, history and story are skilfully blended … This book that brings landscape and personalities to life needs to have a place on your shelf and a corner in your rucksack.'
John Humphries, John Muir Trust Journal