GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / BOOK MY PLACE – Holidays, when I was small, meant camping in the Scottish Highlands and one of the most memorable was a camping cum sailing and climbing holiday on the shore of Loch Hourn.
We were enthralled by the otters that approached our dinghy when we were sailing and read, with great delight, Gavin Maxwell‘s Ring of Bright Water, in which he told of his life with Mijbil, the otter he had brought back from Iran.
Dan Boothby, in Island of Dreams, recounts how he, too, was thrilled by Maxwell’s books and first drawn to the Highlands on a quest to visit Sandaig, one of the islands Maxwell lived on.
Later Boothby occupied the lighthouse-keeper’s cottage on Kyleakin Island, the tiny island that now lies below the bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh to Skye. In the course of his descriptions of his life there, he introduces information about Gavin Maxwell’s life and loves and his series of disasters which are the focus of Raven Seek thy Brother, the first Maxwell text that enchanted Boothby.
With the rain, the fogs, the midges and the relatively unwelcoming local community, we are taken right into the world of Maxwell.