1999's "The North West Highlands: Roads to the Isles" is author Tom Atkinson's old-fashioned travel guide to the area of Western Scotland between Fort William and Ullapool. Once upon a time, before travel guides became collections of maps, photographs, short blurbs, and web-site addresses, they were narratives combining physical description with local customs and history.
Atkinson's North West Highlands are an area haunted by the history of the Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745, and an aborted one in 1719 that has escaped much historical notice. It is an area once almost denuded of population by the infamous clearances, as rich landowners pushed their tenants into the cities or onto ships headed for Australia or North America. It was one of the last strongholds of the Highland clans and their traditional way of life. All this history Atkinson weaves to his travelogue, along with the physical description of mountains, lochs and small towns.
It is hard not to share Atkinson's enthusiasm for the Highlands, rich in physical scenary, legend, and local anecdote. He notes the locations of good walks, ruined castles, and stopping points along the road associated with a bit of history. The book includes a couple of sketch maps, a few drawings, and the addresses of a few inns, although it lacks the practical detail to be a principal planning resource.
"The North West Highlands" is recommended to the dedicated traveler looking for some of the backstory and some of the lesser explored cornors of a beautiful and still remote region in Scotland.