THE FALSE MEN:
I first met the False Men during my 2017 book tour. I was in North Uist, Scotland, tramping around the mountains in sunshine, rain and storm (all in the matter of an hour) when a brief rainbow lit up the drizzling sky and I saw them – standing stones aligned in a neat row, pointing to a silver lochan.
Only the heads of these stones are visible now, their secrets buried deep beneath a few millennia of peat layers. Peat builds quickly here so the stones have largely become part of the earth that supported them for so long.
But I was excited to stand in that mysterious place which inspired the title of my novel.
Equally welcome was meeting the owner of the land under which the stones are buried. At the Lochmaddy book launch I apologised for my enthusiastic trespass on his land and he replied with a gracious ‘not at all’. I was reminded that in the Outer Hebrides there is no concept of that foreign common law system where property defines the person, so free roaming is not disapproved of.
DISCOVERING STANDING STONES:
I had a second encounter with this ancient past on the west coast when we discovered two standing stones which had not been noted on the Scottish database. These enigmatic stones (pictured below) now officially constitute a ‘new discovery’. It’s believed they are markers for some ancient local Bronze Age culture – perhaps a gateway.
But as well as exploring Highland mountains and forests, I was delighted to meet so many interesting and wonderful people at my book launches in Glasgow, Inverness and Lochmaddy.
(Highland river, Ross and Cromarty)
I am grateful to Waterstones book stores at Inverness and Glasgow, Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Lochmaddy, Dr John Dempster of Highland Lit, Julie Lewis of AN Radio and Seonaid Francis of ThunderPoint Publishing, for hosting the launches of The False Men.