Monday, November 16, 2015

A Stag from Rum

I just read A Stag from Rum - An Essay in Poaching, by Robert Atkinson, which was published by the Islands Book Trust. All who love the Scottish islands have a copy of his classic book Island Going (1949), and this newly published book is as good. At 85 pages it is a short book that I read in one sitting.  

A Stag from Rum
The book is a exciting tale about a poaching adventure in 1938 to the 'forbidden isle' of Rum. Here is the description from the Book Trust's website:

Contents: This tale of youthful derring–do, successful poaching and extreme sailing is published for the first time, as a tribute both to Robert Atkinson and his fellow bold spirits, John Naish and Hugh LeLacheur; who between them brought the fictional poacher ‘John Macnab’ to life on the forbidden hills of Rum. 

About the author: Robert Atkinson first came to the Hebrides in 1936 when he was twenty-one and was immediately smitten by the islands and their people, returning every summer up to the outbreak of WW2. In those years he travelled throughout the islands, reaching even the remotest of the uninhabited outliers. As an escape from the stresses of wartime he wrote both Island Going and A Stag from Rum while on active service in the RNVR. The former became a travel classic and is still in print while A Stag from Rum lay unknown and unread until just before his death in 1995.

In reading the book I was delighted to discover that Atkinson's poaching adventure was at Kilmory on the north end of Rum; an area I'd been to a couple of times. Someday I'd love to go back and camp where Atkinson and his friend Hugh LeLacheur did, above the little beach on the east side of Kilmory. You can order a copy of A Stag from Rum from the Islands Book Trust here.

Kilmory - the small beach in the distance is where Robert Atkinson & Hugh LeLacheur camped in 1939
Kilmory village ruins and burial ground

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