Monday, 20 September 2010

First Review and more

You might like to visit The Scotsman newspaper online - there you`ll find the first review of Ribbon of Wildness, in last Saturday`s issue. See what you think - I`m well pleased with it.
Then there will be STV this coming Wednesday from 5.00 - 6.00.
And Glasgow members group of Scottish Wildlife Trust on the same evening.
Waterstone`s now has it on the shelves, and of course Amazon is doing a roaring trade.
Murrayfield Rotary has me to look forward to.
The Scottish conference of The Duke of Edinburgh`s Award will be seeing a bit of me as book sales person.

So you see, I`m ready and willing!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Grand Linear Launch - 5th September

With the book appearing from the printer on Friday 3rd, the scene was set for the big launch on Sunday 5th September.
Over 70 people gathered at lunchtime in the very grand setting of the City of Edinburgh Council`s main Council Chamber. Erin had produced a very professional Powerpoint to illustrate what was happening, and who was involved. Dave was chairing the event. Twelve small groups of people - friends, family and supporters, were at the ready, on the tops of hills spread the entire length of Scotland from the English Border to Duncansby Head.
Robin Harper MSP, who has written the foreward to the book, welcomed everyone, and gave a short appealing introduction.
Over the next hour or so the phonelink to those who were on the hill tops was activated, the Powerpoint took the audience on a visual journey along the Watershed, I gave a series of short readings from the book,and this was interspersed with question and comment.
Ribbon of Wildness - Discovering the Watershed of Scotland, was duly launched amid rousing applause, to what is hoped will be an inquisitive and receptive public.
Some 80 copies were sold and signed there in the City Chambers.

Edinburgh Internatioanl Book Festival

It was a sellout!
On 25th August, the Peppers Theatre in the Book Festival in Charlotte Square was packed with people ready to hear more about both my Ribbon of Wildness, and Emma Wood`s Plague Peatbogs and Potatoes. Both of us presented an outline of our books, then the proceedings were thrown open to questions. There were no awkward silences!
All in all, and excellent public introduction to Ribbon of Wildness - it augeres well for the future.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Book Festival Sellout

Yes, the Edinburgh International Book Festival event on 25th August involving Ribbon of Wildness was a sellout - a few folk were unable to get in. The feedback received has been very positive, with many `congratulations`, some talk of `enthusiasm coming across, loud and clear`, the observation of having `whetted the appetite, your book will get into many homes`, and even `a remarkable journey, by a remarkable man`. So all in all Ribbon of Wildness got a good first airing (even if it wasn`t actually in print at the time).
Simultaneously, went live. This graphically illustrated website presents more information about the book, the watershed, the epic walk, and the proposed Ribbon of Wildness Trust. A visit would be well worthwhile.
And Sunday 5Th September will see upwards of 70 people in the very grand City Chambers in Edinburgh at lunchtime, taking part in a highly original event. For they Will be joined by phone link with 12 small groups of passionate supporters on strategic tops running the entire length of Scotland. Places are still available - email - immediately. And its free!
So Ribbon of Wildness - Discovering the Watershed of Scotland is receiving a big start in life, as the book which may transform the way we see, understand, and experience much of the landscape of Scotland.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


The final proofreading is taking place today - maps have been produced, design options for the cover done, and choices made. So it should all go off to the printers by close of business today. The new Ribbon of Wildness website is well on its way to going live too - later this week or early next.

There are still a few spaces left in the Linear Launch for Ribbon of Wildness on Sunday 5th Sept in the very grand City Chambers in Edinburgh. Drop me an email (see last blog) if you and your pals would like an invitation.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Longest Linear Launch in Living Memory

Invitations are now being sent out for the big Launch event. If you would like to be there, help launch the book - and take part in an unusual happening, please email

Monday, 19 July 2010

Linear Launch - Help Wanted

Plans for the grant Linear Launch on 5th September are coming along well. Lunchtime in the City Chambers, Edinburgh, with up to 15 groups of supporters out there on the hills, ready to do their bit to help launch Ribbon of Wildness.
Now I`m getting down to the nitty gritty! Urgently looking for someone to help with the technical side of things. So I`m on the hunt for for an eager volunteer who has plenty of savvy about phone systems, who can also source (scrounge) the necessary equipment. The system will need to be able to recieve and hold more than one mobile call at a time, and then be linked up to some form of P.A system in the hall.
I`ll also need someone with good telephonist/call centre skills to opperate the system.
Not asking for much, eh!
Anyone out there who can help?
I`d love to hear from you.

Monday, 31 May 2010

The Great Linear Launch on 5th Sept

I`m still looking for some small groups to take part in a few of the remaining locations:
Ben Tee in the Great Glen
Ben Attow (or Fhadda)
Ben Hee in the far North West
Duncansby Head
Around 1.00p.m on Sunday 5th September.

Any takers?

The other 11 locations are now pretty much spoken for.


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

No crowds on Ettrick Pen

Yes, I spent about 6 hours up on the southern part of `the Ettrick Horshoe` on Monday. Good views - The Cheviot, Lakeland Fells, Solway, Criffel, Galloway Hills, and so on right round to The Eildons and Tweed valley. Good dry walking with hardly a bog in sight. Now remember, this was on Bank Holiday Monday, and the weather was fine - so imagine my surprise that I saw not a single soul until I got back down to the read. Where have all the walkers gone?

Friday, 30 April 2010

Off to the hill with two names.

Forecast for Sunday and Monday in the Border Hills is good. Its the holiday weekend. I`m desperate to pick up where I left off last year, at Ettrickhead. So come Sunday I`ll be off to Over Phawhope Bothy for the night, then up on to `The Pen of Eskdalemuir`, now more commonly known as Ettrick Pen. Brilliant.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Ribbon of Wildness - the Long (linear) Launch

1. Edinburgh International Book Festival - Wednesday 25th August at 11.00. The first appearance of Ribbon of Wildness.
2. Sunday 5th September around noon - the formal big long launch.
Central event in Edinburgh (venue to be decided) - all welcome.
Groups of supporters and well wishers at 15 locations spread the entire length of the Watershed - mobile phones at the ready. As follows, from south to north:
Peel Fell (602m) on the Border
Ettrick Pen (692m) Southern Uplands - Jono Ellis and the Borders Exploration Group.
Craigengar (519m)south Pentlands - Penny Radway and family(s) plus Green Team party.
Carleatheran (480m) Campsies - Elric Honore and party
Ben Lomond (974m) western side of Loch Lomond
Stob Ghabhar (1,090m) Black Mount - Kate Dix and Venture Scotland party.
Ben Alder (1,131m) Central Highlands
Ben Tee (901m) Great Glen
Ben Attow (1,032m) Kintail
Sgurr Choinich (999m) West Monar - James Wright and MBA party.
Sgur Mor (1,110m) The Fannichs
Seana Bhraigh (927m) or Conival (949m) - Kenneth Wright and party.
Ben Hee (873m) west of Crask
Carn an Feidh (730m) s.w end of Ben Klibreck - Jim Shedden and party.
Duncansby Head (63m) overlooking `the strait of the land of the Picts.

So, 7 locations covered as of 9th April - 8 still to be bagged!

Your chance to take part in one of the more innovative book launches in recent years, and to help convey `Message from the Wild` (thats the current working title).

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Of a clear coast, and a set stage.

Following on from the very positive meeting with the Luath Press team, the coast is now clear, and the stage is set, to get down to organising the fairly innovative `linear launch` of Ribbon of Wildness on 5th September. Now that may seem like its a long way off, but the plan is certainly ambitious and will involve a fair number of people. So it needs to be good - it needs to work!

So. . . .

Watch this space. Keep the date clear (please), be prepared to get your boots ready for action, and have some fuel for your stove to hand. Oh, and you might need some for your car too.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Jings! Things are all of a sudden much more real - its moved on from being an idea, a bit of research, and hours spent on the computer, to something tangible at last. The draft Information Sheet has been sent to me by the publisher. And. . . It includes the first draft of the book cover. Amazing.
Just about to set off for a meeting with the publisher. Brilliant.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Edinburgh International Book Festival

Here`s a date for your diary - Wednesday 25th August @ 11.00 in the Peppers Theatre. Thats when and where Ribbon of Wildness will have its first airing. So I guess I`ll have about 25 minutes to say a bit, read a bit, and enthuse a bit. The co-presenter will be Emma Wood, with her `Peatbogs, Plague and Potatoes`.

So get ready to book your seat(s) at this auspicious event! The Book Festival programme wil be out in due course, and booking arrangements advertised. A full-house would be very encouraging.

And then there wil be the formal launch in early September . . .

Monday, 22 March 2010

Final Edit!

Getting nearer, but not quite there yet!
Yes, I spent 3 days last week, refining, checking, reviewing, corretcting and even editing, but its not quite done yet. I`m pretty pleased with all that I`ve written -currently standing at about 86,000 words. The notion that `more is better` does not hold true here, so just adding more words to expand a point, or develop something new, would seem to be a bad idea. So I resolved to add no more.
Now I`m down to the finer points of punctiuation. This will make quite a difference to the flow and sense of it, so it will be worth the time and effort.
Guess what I`ll be doing this weekend?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

About to embark on (what I hope will be) the final edit of the text - have set aside a few days, which I will spend in rural seclusion. Log cabin, wood-burning stove, laptop, pot of coffee and no distractions. Its almost as daunting as the day I set off on the long walk in January 2005. This time the thoughts are less about the unknown of what lies ahead: more about whether I`ve got this right. And the occasional thought of what the buying public, if there are any/many, will make of it. Too late now for any major changes. Each time I read the text, I`m pleasantly surprised with what I have written; thats a good indicator. So enough of this pondering - time to look out for typos, missing commas, mis-spellings of all those gaelic mountain names, and any contradictions or repatitions. Down to business on monday.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Publication Schedule

Well, I met with the publisher on Tuesday, and a timetable for the publication of Ribbon of Wildness has been agreed, contract signed, and the whole thing set in motion. From this, I need to do a final edit by the end of March, but the 85,000 words, pics, and general structure will form the main content. The book will appear at the event I`m contributing to at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this August, and the wider launch will then take place in early September - more about this in due course.

Its taken a while to get to this stage, but I`m delighted that the way is now set for Ribbon of Wildness to appear. Its only the start, of course - more, much more,about this in due course too.

Right now though I`m just a bit frustrated as Watershedepic II is on-hold. I broke a bone in my left foot 3 weeks ago, so can`t walk very far (getting grumpy). Watershedepic II is, as the name implies, my second walk along the 1,200 km Ribbon of Wildness - but doing it North to South this time round. So far I`ve covered the Laich March (central belt) from Balfron Station, and well into the Reiver March (Southern Uplands) to Ettrick Head. So as soon as this foot heals, I`ll have my pack on my back and boots on my feet, bound for the Southern end. Then I`ll start on the Heartlands March - mor about his in due course too.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Discover the Watershed of Scotland

It runs from one end of Scotland to the other - 1,200 km of bog, rock, mountain and forest.
The unique distinction of the Watershed is it`s continuous environmental character, as a Ribbon of Wildness meandering all the way from the English Border to Duncansby Head. But it is the sleeping-giant of our landscape, which we can waken through public awareness, appreciation and involvement.

Please visit for the start of this story, and to set you on your own journey of discovery