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Local History
Publication Date
30 August 2013
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
Colour throughout


Land of Blood and Beauty
by Mary McGrigor - Find out more about the author

Argyll's great names, deeds and institutions resonate through the annals of Scottish history, from Dunadd (the ancient capital of the kingdom of Dal Riata) and St Columba (who brought Christianity to the Picts) to the Lordship of the Isles (at its height one of the most powerful political entities in the British Isles), the clan rivalries (which reached their climax in the seventeenth century) and the terrible Clearances of the nineteenth century (when tens of thousands were forced to leave their homeland). This book is a comprehensive study of Argyll and the Inner Hebrides. Mary McGrigor, who has lived in Argyll for many years, brings the past alive in this fascinating account which not only introduces the history, but also examines the physical remains which are Argyll's direct links with its past, from pre-Christian and Medieval sculpture to churches, great castles and houses. She also explores the industry of the area, from farming and forestry to fishing and whisky distilling, and writes about the main towns. Illustrated with spectacular, specially commissioned photography, this book captures Argyll's inexplicable magic, which continues to cast its spell over those who know and love the area; it is also a magnificent introduction for those yet to be enthralled by this 'land of blood and beauty'.

Mary McGrigor grew up in a 15th-century Scottish castle which inspired her love of history. When she was twenty she married Sir Charles McGrigor, who eventually retired to become a hill farmer in Argyll. Inspired by her surroundings she wrote a number of local histories before branching out into articles for Scottish Field and a number of books, including Anna: Countess of the Covenant and The Tsar's Doctor, both of which are published by Birlinn. She lives near Port Sonachan in Argyll.