It all began with a visit to Iona in 1989. Since then I’ve returned to the islands every year. In 1995 I realized I needed to write about these visits before the memories faded, but I never produced anything readable. But a trip to North Rona in 2002 was so inspiring that I wrote an article about it in one night. It was published in the magazine Scottish Islands Explorer (SIE).

That led to placing several more articles in SIE and the Scots Magazine. In 2004 I put 25 articles in book form, titled it 'Exploring the Isles of the Magic West', and over the next seven years approached about 15 publishers. I was rejected by them all. Of course during that period more islands were visited, and by 2011 the book had doubled in size to 60 chapters, nearly 150,000 words. It was getting too big, and I had lost hope of finding a publisher. But then John Humphries, who’d just taken over SIE, suggested I try The Islands Book Trust on Lewis.

I sent it to the Trust and they decided to publish it in two volumes. That was another beginning. Where this next journey will end remains to be seen, but it should be a wonderful ride. I started this blog to share some of what’s not in the books: both stories and photos. There are 250 black and white pictures in the books, and my intent here is to share colour versions, along with other images not in the books, and some of the stories behind them.

I can be reached at:  exploringtheisles@gmail.com


  1. It's so good to be able to turn to a fellow-blogger and to learn more about people and places, islands and islets. Marc and I are both blogspot-based and consequently hosted at a website enjoying PST - Pacific Standard Time. Should that actually stand for Preferred Scottish Themes?

  2. "Where this next journey will end remains to be seen. . . " that's wonder and magic of journeys. May this one be as magical as your books!

  3. Terrific blog, terrific photos, terrific books: all of them evocative of well-remembered and often-experienced scenes. Am looking forward to more.

    Martin Margulies

    1. Thanks Martin. And thanks for all the tips on hiking on South Uist.