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Ken and Sheena's Excellent Adventure in the Scottish Highlands

  • In Perth, we had dinner at the Hightower Hotel with my long-lost, DNA-found cousin Jim McGugan.
  • In Sutherland, we visited Dunrobin Castle, the most politically incorrect edifice in Britain.
  • In Helmsdale, by about an hour, we missed coincidentally encountering our Orcadian pal, historian Tom Muir . . . and so failed to meet his new wife!
  • We almost got killed when, on a narrow two-lane road, with a rock wall on our side, the driver of an oncoming camper-van decided to pass a group of cyclists and swung out into our lane. I managed to slow just enough . . . .
  • At a bank machine in Stornoway, while withdrawing funds, we encountered Toronto writer Heather Birrell, who is sojourning on the Isle of Lewis. 
  • While staying at Fort William, we made our way to the top of a mountain in the Nevis Range. All right, all right: we rode a gondola
  • At Waterstone’s Books in Oban, in a section called Recommended Reading, we came upon five copies of Fatal Passage. This was after we found two copies at a bookstore in Portree. Hats off to Bantam Books for keeping the work alive after fifteen years -- and to my agent, Beverley Slopen, for bringing that team aboard.
  • In Helensburgh, we visited a National Trust property, Carisbrooke House, and got inside an addition created by William Fraser, Sheena’s architect grandfather.
  • Along the way, somehow, we amassed an unconscionable pile of obscure books.
  • As to how it all fits together, well, that will emerge in due course.

Ken McGoogan
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Unknown said...

Heather Birrell taught me short fiction at U of T years ago. And I'm super glad you didn't die.

Denis St-Onge said...

Glad you survived all of that all that scotch.

Charlie said...

Amazing that we just missed you on this trip - although you traveled far wider and longer than we did!

Before turning mainly to books about arctic exploration and Canadian history, Ken McGoogan worked for two decades as a journalist at major dailies in Toronto, Calgary, and Montreal. He teaches creative nonfiction writing through the University of Toronto and in the MFA program at King’s College in Halifax. Ken served as chair of the Public Lending Right Commission, has written recently for Canada’s History, Canadian Geographic, and Maclean’s, and sails with Adventure Canada as a resource historian. Based in Toronto, he has given talks and presentations across Canada, from Dawson City to Dartmouth, and in places as different as Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Hobart.