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The Canoe Boys: The First Epic Scottish Sea Journey by Kayak

The Canoe Boys: The First Epic Scottish Sea Journey by Kayak [Kindle Edition]

Alastair Dunnett , Ninian Dunnett
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Quite enthralling. I have read it with unfailing interest and unflagging pleasure.' Eric linklater 'One of the most unusual travel books published in a long time - Only those who have sailed among the Western Isles in substantial craft can realise the full implication of a trip there in a frail canoe. Such a method of voyaging in these waters seems fantastic. Yet it was done - absorbing reading.' Glasgow Herald 'A daring feat.' Sunday Times ' - spacious, humorous, penetrating log-book - the observant eye as well as the racy pen. New Books 'Adventure surely was part of the story, and that aspect of it is given full prominence. But there was more to it than adventure; there was a purposeful determination to discover personally the causes contributing to the depopulation of the Highlands.' Sunday Mail 'The purpose and spirit of the book stand forth inspiringly.' Daily Record 'A memorable cruise - he hotly denies that Highlanders are sly ne'er-do-weels; he rails at authority for its neglect of Gaeldom.' Evening Dispatch 'As a record of what must have been a very hazardous voyage, this is first-rate and exciting reading. It is, in the highest sense, a fine travel book.' Evening Citizen 'The charm of the book as a record of experience does not obscure the value inherent in its assessment of conditions and potentialities in a beautiful but long neglected area.' Scotsman

Product Description

It's too late in the year!' they were advised, but they still did it. By canoe from Bowling to Kyle of Lochalsh with numerous stops along the way, Alastair Dunnett and Seamas Adam spent a heady Autumn in the 1934 meandering up the glorious West Coast of Scotland. On their way they sent reports back to the Daily Record informing the readers of their progress and the people they met along the way. Their account makes fascinating reading as they were hailed by onlookers and bystanders wherever they went as 'The Canoe Boys'. Escapades as varied as running the infamous tide-rush of the Dorus Mhor to a balmy harvest working on Calve Island off Mull, quenching their thirst with a mug of drammach (oats and water) are related in superb, lyrical style by Dunnett. This is an adventure story of youthful exuberance and of how life once was lived before the war changed everything for ever. Fully illustrated with archival material and contemporary press cuttings, this cult travelogue will find a new market among the growing number of adventure kayakers taking to Scotland's coastal waters.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 16862 KB
  • Print Length: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Neil Wilson Publishing; New edition (14 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00796E4PA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,424 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER
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.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a journey 20 Dec 2012
By Invicta
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Read this while stuck in hospital and what a great choice. As a kayaker myself I was particularly interested in the boats and the journey; just amazing that the boys only had one near-capsize, considering the weather they went out in. Non-boaters will enjoy the quality of the writing, the understated humour and the social commentary. The photos don't reproduce very well on a Kindle but I haven't seen a print edition to compare.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canoe Boys - A Boy Scout Adventure? 15 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My reasons for buying this were two fold. The authors name caught my eye because there are Dunnetts in my family tree and the second reason was that as a former Boy Scout myself it looked like it would be an interesting read when I read the first chapter on the "Look Inside" link. I was not dissapointed, it is one of those books that is a well written tale of a serious adventure. Whether Alastair Dunnett fits somewhere into my family tree or not, I haven't found a link yet, I have great admiration for the way in which this project was tackled way back in the 1930s with a spirit of adventure and doing something that had never been done before. Don't let the fact that the book was written in the 1950s about an adventure in the 1930s put you off. The language in the book is not excessively stilted and formal. Al in all a really good and gripping read, I found it hard to put the book down for mealtimes and could not wait to finish eating so I could pick the book up and continue reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An adventure par excellence 23 July 2011
By peteb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having sailed over much of the area covered in the Canoe Boys trip I can only marvel at their achievement. To do it nowadays would be an adventure but to do it in the thirties was indeed an epic adventure in the true, Boys Own tradition. I read this a couple of years ago and bought another copy recently for a sailing friend when she mentioned that her family were in the book. They rated a whole chapter.

As well as the appeal of the adventure itself I also enjoyed the descriptions of life at that time. The contrast between the islands and the main cities are enhanced when one realises that the headlines in the Scottish papers (who avidly followed the adventure) when they arrived in Tobermory mentioned this was such an exotic place that they grew tomatoes in the open.

An enjoyable read that points out that adventure starts in the mind - anyone can find an adventure even close to home.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
a wonderful if dated account of a canoe trip around the Hebrides. Offering a good look at the culture and people of the time. Fairly optimistic account of the state of the unionl. Written in the early 30's.
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