In part, this book is about a sea kayaking trip undertaken by Alastair Dunnett and James Adam during the 1930s when both were young men. The trip was proposed by them to earn enough money to repay debts incurred during the brief life of an adventure magazine known as `The Claymore'. The proposal involved them canoeing north from the Clyde via the West Coast to the Hebrides and earning money by writing for the `Daily Record' along the way. This book was written by Mr Dunnett about that three month journey and is perhaps one of the most unusual travel books written about Scotland. This book was first published in 1950 as `Quest by Canoe', and this edition has been edited and introduced by Ninian Dunnett.
This book is worth reading for a number of reasons: the adventure itself; the observations of life in the distant and diverse communities visited; and as an example of the wonderful descriptive prose used by Alastair Dunnett during his long and distinguished career.
As the trip commenced, Alastair's Great Aunt Mary (then aged 80, and blind) asked: `Could you get nothing better to do?' I am pleased that he and James did not take her advice.
Alastair Dunnett himself went on from this journey to make an outstanding contribution to Scottish culture and public life. To read this book is to simultaneously step back some 70 years in time while recognising that the adventuring spirit for many is constant. I am delighted that this work has been republished for a new generation to enjoy.
`Opportunities abound, and all things are possible, even to those who may not wait for calm weather.'