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Highland Hermit

Highland Hermit [Kindle Edition]

James Carron
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

James McRory Smith lived for over 30 years at Strathchailleach, one of the most remote cottages in the Britain Isles. Standing in the shadow of the squat stone structure, it is hard to imagine a more isolated spot. The building sits alone in a vast tract of empty, featureless terrain to the south of Cape Wrath, in Sutherland. There is no access road, no running water, no electricity and no telephone.
Yet James McRory Smith survived here, battered by the elements and devoid of human company. His story is a fascinating account of a man pitting his wits against the wilderness, enduring endless isolation and existing, for a large part, off the land. James’ lifestyle belonged to a bygone age, yet he lived it in the 20th century, turning his back on the luxuries and conveniences of the modern world.
His way of life was frugal. He constructed furniture from fish boxes and driftwood washed upon on the coast. He kept warm by burning peat dug from the moor, and he ate trout caught from local lochs.
James survived everything Sutherland could throw at him. He arrived at Strathchailleach in the early 1960s, after leaving the army and embarking upon an itinerant lifestyle, moving from one abandoned, isolated property to another, and remained there until 1994 when ill health finally forced him back into society.
Behind this tale of survival there were two significant events that brought major change to James’ life and both involved women very close to him.
James was a complex character. He was intelligent and resourceful, artistic and creative, but he also drank heavily, resulting in regular confrontation with hillwalkers and anglers who visited his bothy home, and the law.
This biography traces James’ life, from his early years in Dumbarton, through his time on the army to the moment he decided to leave behind everything he knew for the isolation of Strathchailleach.
It seeks to answer why any man would take such a momentous decision and describes how James was able to exist for over 30 years in such a barren and unforgiving environment. It looks at the tools and life skills he developed to survive and examines how he was able to cope, both physically and mentally, with the challenges he faced on a daily basis.
This biography provides readers with an inspiring account of a modern day hermit. It offers a rare insight into an alternative way of life, one that is far removed from the norm. At a time when people are becoming increasingly concerned about consumption and consumerism, and their impact on the environment, James McRory Smith’s story demonstrates the practicalities and challenges of the frugal, self-sufficient lifestyle many people dream of. However, this is not intended simply as a social history, is also a true-life story of adventure and survival.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 496 KB
  • Print Length: 109 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Amenta Publishing; 1 edition (18 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004D4YB4K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,322 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

James Carron is a freelance writer, working mainly for consumer magazines, newspapers and book publishers. His interests include hillwalking and backpacking, Scottish history and conservation.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic! 25 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a fabulous book, armed with my brand new kindle this is the first book I downloaded. I read the whole book over two days and became completely absorbed in it. It is well written and researched and for me was perfect subject matter. I have a deep passion for the wild parts of Scotland and like many, a secret craving and fascination for this type of lifestyle. I was genuinely sorry to reach the end of the book and have long promised myself a trip to this part of the Highlands, when i do make this trip I will now have high on my itinary a search to pay a visit to this bothy. Its now stored on my Kindle and i suspect as such i may well read it again before long!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highland Hermit 4 Oct 2011
By dads
Format:Kindle Edition
I loved this book so much that a few months after I went on a bothy tour in the North-Western part of Scotland. We did 13 in total including Sandy's beloved Strathailleach. Each one had it's own character and they were all fantastic, Sandy's bothy has a very remote feel to it, snug, small, not as polished as the other but that adds to the experience. It's in a bit of a dip so you don't see it for quite a while and its quite a way in so your glad when you spot it. Marrying the words of James Carron to the actual place you understand how well the places and the atmosphere are described. You understand the hardships he must have gone through and why he most likely chose Strathailleach to be his home. It must have taken a lot of hard work and research to create a detailed book like this, so thank you James for your time and effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good. 26 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great book if getting out of the rat race is appealing, or if you have an affinity with the North West oast of Scotland. Despite having a certain 'school project' feel about it at times, its an intrigueing yarn. One cannot fail but wonder as to James McRorys daily struggles and motivations. Read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highland hermit 13 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a good read, it was one that you had to read to the end (excellent) i enjoyed
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the highland hermit 16 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I chose this rating because james Mcrory Smith is my uncle.
but also the description of the area where he lived was very interesting
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highland Hermit 27 Jun 2012
By S
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well written and very absorbing. I could fully imagine the wild landscape and the people. Atmospheric. It gave a well balanced and sympathetic account of both the hermits life and times and the affect of his choices on his friends, family and community.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grabs the reader 4 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is fantastic and takes you on a journey, like being a fly on the wall, i read this in two nights and i like others went on the net to find out more about this place where this man lived. Descriptions of places and other backpackers experiences make it a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anything Scottish 29 Dec 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was recommended to my father who in turn recommended it to me and although I was a little skeptical about the price and would it be worth it, I am pleasantly surprised and enjoying it as a good read. Anyone with a fondness for all things Scottish would enjoy this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Highland Hermit
Disappointing. Could have just said a man lived in a bothy for 30 years and drank himself to death. Didn't really need lists of all the people who had lived in the area for the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by D C Wainwright
4.0 out of 5 stars Now I know.
I bought this book because I visited this bothy recently and was interested to know the true story of it's former occupant whose fame/infamy is widespread in the hillwalking... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. B. Goldie
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story of an amazing character
At first I thought this was going to be a fanciful and glorified tale, but it was nothing of the sort. Read more
Published 5 months ago by P. Blunsden
1.0 out of 5 stars Just misses the mark
I thought when i bought this book that it would be about the lifestyle of a reclusive hermit in the highlands. Read more
Published 6 months ago by corey
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
a really good little book about the life of James Mcrory Smith [sandy] and how he lived in a remote bothy near cape wrath. Read more
Published 6 months ago by m williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Very interesting read, a must for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors especially the isolated areas of Scotland and the people who coped with hard living.
Published 7 months ago by F. O. Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars Highland Hermit by James carron
Fascinating read lovely storey made me chuckle in bits of it amazing to think how somebody could live without tv running water or heating gas or electric. He was a hardy man.
Published 17 months ago by shirley dunnett
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