“Night Falls on Ardnamurchan: The Twilight of a Crofting Family”
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is truly a hidden gem of Scottish writing. The poet, Alasdair Maclean, writes with such emotion and description that it almost feels like music rather than a deep, personal story. Ardnamurchan is the most Westerly point in mainland Britain. Located in Scotland, about halfway up and all the way West, it is a stunningly beautiful, remote, and wild place. I picked up this book at the Ardnamurchan lighthouse shop when spending a week near the little township of Portuairk, near Sanna Bay. It was early June, and the weather was stunning. I read this little book on Sanna Bay, in the dunes, along the cliffs and whilst bobbing in the sea on my packraft.
Maclean describes the history of Ardnamurchan, the people, and the way of life as a crofter living in such a remote and isolated place. As an accomplished (though little known) poet, Maclean delivers writing that will make you laugh out loud, and even in places, bring a tear to your eye.
Ardnamurchan is a part of the world everyone should visit, and they should read this book when they are there! You will be intoxicated by them both, and afterwards, as you walk the streets in whatever urban landscape you occupy, you will not help but smell the summer honeysuckle, hear the crash of the Sanna waves, or smell the briny air.
A truly beautiful, personal, and educating read.