We often get asked whether we have any recommended reading, so while this is by no means an exhaustive list, we’ve put together a collection of books which will help you get you in the mood for your Scottish holiday with Argyll Cruising. Whether a guide to the local geography, flora and fauna, accounts of travels in the area, fiction set in and around the highlands and islands, or even some pre-holiday baking suggestions, we hope there’ll be something for everyone.
If you’re in Dunoon before or after your cruise and want to have a browse, we have a wonderful independent bookshop here called Bookpoint. They have a lovely selection of books and are always delighted to give recommendations, so do stop by if you can. And if you’re beginning your cruise from Oban, there’s a very nice branch of Waterstones on the main street with knowledgeable and helpful staff.
This book list is ever-evolving, so if you’ve read anything you think would be interesting for us and our guests, please do let us know. We love a book recommendation!
The Scottish Islands: The Bestselling Guide to Every Scottish Island by Hamish Haswell-SmithDetailed information and maps on every Scottish island, illustrated with the author’s own paintings throughout. An essential companion for your Scottish Cruise reading list.
Self-explanatory, but good to know what you’re looking for when bird-spotting.
A small book focusing on those more common birds that you’re likely to see in Scotland and quick and easy ways to identify them, as well as a few rarer ones.
In Calum’s Road Roger Hutchinson recounts the extraordinary story of one man’s remarkable devotion to his visionary project to single-handedly build a road from Torran to Fladda and encourage new generations to return to the north end of Raasay.
The story of seabirds from the award-winning nature writer, it looks at the pattern of their lives, their habitats, the threats they face and the passions they inspire – all beautifully illustrated throughout.
At the age of just twenty-one, Nicolson inherited the Shiants, three lonely Hebridean islands set in a dangerous sea off the Isle of Lewis. This is his account.
Another one by Adam Nicholson, this time exploring the wonders that we can find on our shorelines.
Fourteen centuries ago, Irish saints brought the Word of God to the Hebrides and Scotland’s Atlantic shore. From the barren Garvellachs and the ‘great garden’ of Lismore to the haunting calm of Iona and the grandeur of Applecross, Alistair Moffat travels by foot, boat and ferry in search of these elusive men.
While we don’t actually make it to Soay on our cruises, this book is a great account of a transition from a busy urban lifestyle to one of rural isolation, something a lot of us might dream of. Anne Cholawo was on holiday on the Isle of Skye in 1989 when she saw an advert for a property on the Isle of Soay, accessible only by fishing boat. She was immediately drawn to the island and is still there now.
A guide through this special island, including some wonderful illustrations and photographs. And our leading lady Splendour even features in a photo of Lunga – see if you can spot her!
Written to accompany the TV series from a few years back in which Paul Murton visits each of the Hebridean islands in turn, introducing their myths and legends, history, culture and natural beauty.
An extraordinary journey deep into the history and landscape of the Hebrides, exploring the islands’ turbulent history, the spread of their influence, and how they shaped the nations of Britain.
Written as a companion to Peter May’s bestselling crime series set on the Isle of Lewis (which we’ll get to later on in this list), the author takes us on a odyssey through a history of the islands and his own personal connection with them.
A quirky, off-beat tour boat-hopping around the coasts and canals of Scotland.
The story of Islay, Jura and Colonsay, one of the most fascinating amongst all the Hebrides.
The author and illustrator of childhood favourites the Katie Morag books, Hedderwick embarks on a six-month-long journey to forty islands from Arran to Lewis, recounting her pilgrimage around the archipelago of the Western Isles with which she has had a lifelong love affair. And of course the book is full of gorgeous landscapes illustrated by her, which capture the truly magical beauty of the Hebrides.
The first book in Peter May’s crime trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis.
The first book of an eleven part (so far) crime series set in Kintyre where D.C.I. Jim Daley is sent from the city to investigate a murder after the body of a woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the West Coast of Scotland.
A Richard and Judy bookclub pick a few years ago, The Summer of the Bear is a beautiful story of a family recovering from loss on a remote Scottish island.
A thriller set on the Isle of Mull.
Inspired by family holidays on Arran, this is a love story written by journalist Kirsty Wark.
Set on a fictional Scottish island this is a lovely escapist read for your Scottish cruise reading list.
Born and raised on the Isle of Lewis, in The Hebridean Baker, Coinneach shares both his fabulous recipes and fascinating stories of island life, offering a true taste of Scotland’s wild and windswept Outer Hebrides.
A second book from Coinneach Macleod with even more recipes and stories from his life on Lewis.
Compiled by Gaby Morgan, with an introduction from the National Poet for Scotland, Makar Jackie Kay, this collection is bursting at the seams with the strongest voices in Scottish poetry.