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Dunbeath publisher's new book will appeal to kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts

By David G Scott

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Whittles Publishing based in Dunbeath has just released a new book described as a story of enlightenment and an opening of heart and mind to the wonders of the Highlands.

Kayaking the Sea Roads is a personal journey by sea kayak into the heart of the sea roads that make up the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Blending the intensity of the journey with a careful observation of the natural world and first-hand knowledge of the challenges of living and working in this place, the author reminds us that Mother Nature, vast and resilient, is still out there beyond our mobile phones and urban lives. For those with the eyes to see, its natural rhythms can awaken a deep sense of wonder and give us cause to become part of the environmental recovery so sorely needed.

Kayaking the Sea Roads, exploring the Scottish Highlands by Ed Ley-Wilson.
Kayaking the Sea Roads, exploring the Scottish Highlands by Ed Ley-Wilson.

Author Ed Ley-Wilson is a former crofter, salmon farmer, small business owner and has a string of expeditions to mountains and seas around the world to his name. He has also run 1200 miles of the Great Wall of China and the 2000-mile length of the Himalayas.

With Ley-Wilson, we travel low in the water with the restless sea ever present and we camp with him on remote rough shores. We share his feelings of wonder at the natural world, his fear at the exposure to rough seas and we encounter with him not just the myriad animals and birds that share his every day but also the people, their communities and the often gnarly rural issues impacting on human and animal alike.

Whittles publishers is based at Dunbeath. Picture: DGS
Whittles publishers is based at Dunbeath. Picture: DGS

Alongside a deeply felt appreciation of the natural environment is a first-hand insight into the environmental and land management issues pertinent to the Highland coast. By exploring, for instance, the impact of native versus non-native species, of community land ownership, of tourism, hunting and the varied other uses and indeed non-uses of coastal lands and seas, the readers' eyes are opened to a Scottish Highlands that is so much more than just a pretty view.

At the surface, this is an adventure story, but at its heart, it is a tale about belonging and a deep sense of place; and it is a journey home, home in the end to where the author's Highland love affair began.

Kayaking the Sea Roads will appeal to kayakers, and those with an interest in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, the natural environment and the outdoors in general.

ISBN 978-184995-563-8, 216 × 138mm, 208pp, 60 colour photos, 9 maps, 8 chapter head drawings, softback £16.99.

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