Thursday, 17 May 2012

Almost The Most Northerly Bookshop

Loch Croispol Bookshop and Cafe (photo C Baird)

A few miles from Cape Wrath, in the north western tip of mainland Britain, is the small settlement of Durness. It is famous for many things; spectacular beaches, Smoo Cave and a John Lennon Memorial. It is also home to one of most welcoming bookshops I have ever visited.

North West Highlands Panorama (Photo C Baird)

I first came to Durness in 2006 while on a tour of the Highlands. Then The Loch Croispol Bookshop and Cafe was nestled in the centre of the Balnakeil Craft Village. Even in summer cold winds bite hard up that end of the country and on that occasion, after a beach walk, sampling the cafe's soup and hot chocolate was an essential before the serious business of browsing books began. I always planned to go back.

Caravans and Cliffs (Photo C Baird)

(Photo C Baird)
When I realized I would be holidaying in Ullapool (a mere seventy miles drive from Durness) I found my excuse. I phoned Kevin Crowe, the owner, and he was delighted to offer me an afternoon book signing slot. The store has now moved to a more prominent position by the craft village entrance. It is more spacious but has retained its cosy welcome. The extra space means more stock particularly in second hand books.

Stunning (Photo C Baird)

I spent a wonderful relaxed afternoon there, signing books, drinking delicious coffee served by Emily and Simon. And while the shop was quiet I delighted in my favorite pastime - browsing. I couldn't resist buying a second hand Ladybird Book, a children's picture book for my granddaughter and Carmina Gadelica, a book that has been on my wish list for a couple of years.

 More signings like this please!

 NB.  If you have never visited this part of Scotland you are missing a true wilderness experience. Go soon before it too is covered in wind turbines


Maggie Craig said...

Hi Moira, it's a spectacular part of Scotland, isn't it? I used to go regularly when I was working as a tourguide and we would spend a day within an extended tour going from Ullapool round to Wick or Thurso. The bookshop sounds great, wouldn't mind doing a signing there myself, she said subtly.

Please tell me they aren't really going to pollute this magnificent landscape with wind turbines. We are fighting them off in Aberdeenshire, too many gone up already.b

Kevin Crowe said...

Moira, It was a pleasure hosting the signing. Copies of your excellent novel are now in or on their way to America, Australia and Denmark. I thought there was a nice atmosphere in the shop that day, something that you helped contribute to.

We do sell your books, and your non-fiction in particular. I love your penchant for eye-catching titles such as "Damn Rebel Bitches" and "Bare-Arsed Banditti".

I have to disagree with you about wind turbines, I'm afraid. The alternative to harnessing the power of wind, water and tide is a continuation of a combination of non-renewable and nuclear energy - both of which are more dangerous and cause more pollution than natural renewable sources.

Best wishes,