Travel & fiction, reader in Jerusalem


Stained glass, Burrell Collection

Alastair Scott

Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Tel: 013398 81163
int: + 44 13398 811631
Mbl: 07788 747 413



ALL TITLES NOW AVAILABLE AS EBOOKS IN ALL ELECTRONIC FORMATS. Only a few retailer links are given below - try your usual online store as well. I have paperback copies of the following titles which I'm happy to sell at cover price plus cost of postage: STUFFED LIVES, SALT & EMERALD, ECCENTRIC WEALTH and NATIVE STRANGER. Please contact me.


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Novel, now available as an eBook from Smashwords, or

Length: 133,000 words

Niall Fraser is escaping to a new life and returning to a remote northern community he once visited in his youth.  Here he hopes to unlock a secret from his past.  He arrives in Greenland at the beginning of winter - the 'long night', a time of dangerous susceptibility to the northern madness of Cabin Fever - with all his worldly possessions and an obsession with an Arctic explorer who died mysteriously a century earlier;   and whose life becomes increasingly intertwined with his own.  As he pursues his quests he falls for a nurse who becomes another enigma he has to solve, along with the death of a young Inuit woman and a plot which threatens the survival of the community.

Greenland is a country which has never had political leaders and never known war but is in a state of rapid change.  Set against a background of conflicts - unresolved trauma, clashes of cultures, traditional versus modern, rising political activism, exploitation and anachronistic colonialism - this is a book about the arrogance of belief that indigenous knowledge is worthless unless backed by science, that having power is justification for using it, that the Arctic is a wasteland inhabited by an inferior people, soft targets for experiments.  It is a book about love, unrequited fatherhood and rites of passage for those who dare to embrace the unknown.

[Print publishing interest should be directed to my agent, see below.]

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Available from all outlets in paperback or eBook.   Paperback published by Birlinn, ISBN 978 1 841 58 9558, price £9.99. Find it at Birlinn, or

The Isle of Rum, long known as the ‘forbidden island’, is the most dramatic and spectacular of the Scottish Hebrides.  In this book Alastair Scott uncovers the life of Lancashire industrialist Sir George Bullough and explores his family's ownership of a private ‘kingdom’, particularly the building of Kinloch Castle, the most intact preserve of Edwardian high-living to be found in Britain.  Widely researched and based on new information, Eccentric Wealth offers a fascinating insight into the life and times of one of the richest men of his age who could indulge the most far-fetched of whims, and investigates the Bullough myths and scandals which continue to make extraordinary reading more than seventy years after Sir George's death.


'…the work of the born raconteur whose knowledge and love of the Western Isles is tangible.' Alan Taylor, Scottish Review of Books

'Makes very gripping reading from beginning to end. Extensively researched and providing great detail. I am very glad I did not miss this book'.  C. J. Maden, Amazon.

'Like the author, I would concede there is a great deal of fiction that has built up around Sir George…but not enough that would comfortably rule out, as the author does, any suggestion he might not have not enjoyed sex with men. Alastair Scott writes with some indignation: "Can anything of George's sexuality be extracted from a Christmas card, for goodness' sake?" I would refer to "gay George" more in the context of a post First World War polysexual decadence…or even a more modern implication which could justifiably be used to describe George in a postcard showing him dancing in a mini-kilt supported by two men or squeezing his six-foot-five frame into pink cerise jockey vests'.  Gary, Amazon.

'It would make a cracking film! Great wee read.' JSW, Amazon.

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SALT AND EMERALD - A hesitant solo voyage round Ireland (Print Version Title)

SALT AND EMERALD - A hesitant solo voyage round Ireland and the Irish (eBook Title - identical text!)

Travel Book / Sailing

Published by Glen Murray Publishing, £9.99. Paperback available at or Amazon. eBook at Smashwords,, or iBookstore.

Alastair Scott, world-traveller by kilt, backpack, bicycle and dogsled, takes to the water on a voyage of revelations round Ireland. With only sixty miles solo skippering experience and one successfully laid (and recovered) anchor he takes on some of the most challenging waters in Europe in a sometimes tense, often hilarious personal odyssey.
Over 1,700 miles he confronts his temperamental ally, the sea, in sandbars, tidal sluices, the Atlantic swell of the exposed west coast and an injurious summer storm which leaves him, literally, single-handed.His discovery of this new form of exploration gets him into some classic sailing predicaments - and some unique ones! Yet this book is much more than a personal adventure. Scott's practised eye for the eccentric and wonderful roves over Ireland past and present revealing a brimming chalice of places, from the awesome to the terrifying, and characters as diverse as doyen of Irish sailing Wallace Clark, travel writing luminary Dervla Murphy, Fungi the dolphin and pilgrims on the summit of Croagh Patrick. Ever wondered why sea birds legs don't freeze?  How to make illicit whiskey?  What connection Ireland has to the mystery of the Mary Celeste?  The answers are all here.

His idiosyncratic curiosity about everything he encounters leads the reader on a hugely entertaining voyage of discovery. It carries you along at a minimum of five knots.


'Don't hesitate to read this wonderful book! …That he's a writer of talent there is no doubt. This book is not just a travel story - this is a story spiced with zest and energy; each refreshing bite to be savoured to the last morsel.'  Amazon reader.

'This book is a Gem. Superbly written. Not a word or an image wasted. A sail around the seas, ports, islands and people of Ireland by an author with a sensitive, accurate, compassionate and humourous eye and ear for everything and everyone that he encounters. This will be a classic'. Amazon reader.

Stuffed Lives


Novel. eBook can be bought at Neil Wilson Publishing, or

Change was never popular on the island of Muckle Flabbay, a bastion of tradition, but the death of the landowner heralds the end of the Old Order.  The heir to the estate seeks to implement 'nouveau landlordism' - radical land reform with community participation - but he will only inherit if he fulfils a whimsical set of conditions.  His new neighbour turns out to be an Arab with a very different agenda.  New Age Travellers roll in with equally divergent concepts of morals and fun to those Muckle Flabbians who adhere to the established churches, which dissolve into bitter and violent schisms.

Crofters find themselves threatened by the corncrake, and rally in defence of their island when - a'shìorraidh! - politicians light on Muckle Flabbay for their flagship Private Finance Initiative project, a bridge to the mainland with the highest tolls in Europe!  And amidst all these goings-on Sergeant Cleghorn desperately tries to maintain law and order while in hot pursuit of a pornography ring while his lonely wife seeks love elsewhere.

Muckle Flabbay's peace will not return until this destructive tour-de-force has run its course.  Only then will life revert to its former tranquillity, its time-honoured domestic routines of bloodless back-stabbing, alcohol-idolatry, tourist-fleecing and grant-grabbing.


'A rampant farce - [and its author] carries the book along like a river in flood.   Scott is a clever and accomplished writer who turns his hand neatly to fiction.'    The West Highland Free Press

'Hilarious - this is comic writing of the highest order.'     Ron Ferguson, The Press and Journal

'The author's writing abilities remain unerringly intact - Mr Scott has style to spare.   I laughed loud and often - lots to admire, like and enjoy - the story skelps along.'    John MacLeay, The Scots Magazine

Top 10 Scotland


Travel guide. Available at or

Whether you're travelling first class or on a limited budget, this Eyewitness Top 10 Guide will lead you straight to the very best Scotland has to offer.

Dozens of Top 10 lists - from fishing spots to pubs, ancient castles and country inns - provide the insider knowledge every visitor needs.   Region by region it summarises the main sights and attractions with their contact details and opening times, suggests itineraries and lists a full range of places to eat and sleep.   And to save you time and money, there's even a list of the Top 10 Things to Avoid.

Find your way effortlessly using the detailed maps which fold out from the front and back covers, plus many smaller maps inside.

Lavishly illustrated, this pocket-sized guide is packed with essential information.

ISBN 0 7513 4854 6   Dorling Kindersley, updated and reprinted 2013.

Native Stranger

NATIVE STRANGER - A Journey in Familiar and Foreign Scotland

Travel. NEW (July 2013): Limited reprint of paperback. NEW: Now released as eBook (July 2013). Available at Little,Brown,

After a decade of wanderlust which took him to nearly seventy countries around the world, Alastair Scott decided it was time to make 'home' his destination.   And home for him is Scotland.

But for a man who has tracked across Alaska with a pack of dogs, armed only with determination, it was to be no ordinary journey.   His native land deserved more than a cursory glance.   Resolving to explore Scotland and the Scottish people in as much depth and breadth as possible, the author drew up an itinerary which would take him from the outermost isle to the innermost city, sampling the experiences of modern Scotland in all their diversity.   Encompassing issues of the land, eccentrics in castles, the state of the Gaidheal, homelessness in Edinburgh, and all the idiosyncrasies of history, development and decline in between, Scott's journey covered four thousand miles of island, mountain and lowland.   The variety of place and circumstance was exceeded only by that of the characters encountered en route.

The result is NATIVE STRANGER:  the story of one man's rediscovery of his own country.  With clarity and humour Alastair Scott reveals a personal vision of the Scottish consciousness today;   examining its nature, its importance, its potential for future change.  Refusing to eulogise or dwell on stereotypes, Scott instead presents an honest and informed appraisal;  embracing the beauty and acknowledging the problems of his subject in a journey that is by turns thought-provoking, entertaining and surprising.


'He is witty, informative, warm, self-effacing and intelligent.  Sometimes his writing is as funny - no mean praise this - as P G Wodehouse's.  For sheer entertainment and an enthusiasm that makes you want to get out of your chair and go, Native Stranger scores highly.'  James Robertson, Scotland on Sunday

'An engaging, engrossing and impressionistic view of Scotland written with a light touch, dry wit and on-the-sleeve sentiment.   He is the most companionable writer with whom to enjoy armchair travel, fitting in with ease in most situations, content to listen and learn, without judging.  But faced with religious intolerance or desecrators of the landscape he cannot hide his contempt, turning on his venomous wit fullblast.'  Alan Taylor, The Scotsman

'His best yet.   An absorbing travelogue as much about people as places, Scott combines a fine sense of humour with descriptive aptness ... and a wicked ear for dialogue. '  Lorn MacIntyre, The Herald

'As eccentric a collection of characters as you are likely to find on any clan march.   He is a witty, amusing writer. ' Donald Cameron, Daily Telegraph

'The fascinating story of one man's rediscovery of his homeland.' Today

'Brilliant!' Ron Ferguson, The Press and Journal

Tracks Across Alaska

TRACKS ACROSS ALASKA - A Dog Sled Journey   *

Travel. eBook sold at Smashwords, or

For years Alastair Scott had dreamed of driving a dog team through the snows of the north, but he had no practical experience when he arrived in Alaska determined to do so.  He bought or borrowed his team, spent five months getting to know his dogs and learning the techniques on which his life would depend, and then drove 800 miles in mid-winter along the line of the Arctic Circle.  He followed the frozen Yukon river and then travelled out over sea ice to Nome.  This book is the story of that feat of self-reliance and endurance; and it has become a classic.

It is at the same time a portrait of the land - beautiful, rich, empty, sometimes murderous - and of the people who choose to make their lives there.  Alaskans are the custodians of the spirit of adventure.  They have to be, whether they belong among the dispossessed Aboriginals whose land is not the Fourth World, or whether they are pioneers, for whom Alaska is a state of mind, a bastion of enterprise and individuality.

In the course of the book the author's tracks become interwoven with those of vivid characters, past and present:  beaver-trappers, F15 pilots, the melancholy Vitus Bering who perished on a fox-infested island;  Archdeacon Hudson Stuck standing behind a sacramental cloth as he mushed across his parish - 300,000 square miles of forest and tundra;  Ed Jesson cycling the roadless expanse between Dawson City and Nome in the winter of 1900;  serum runners on a mercy dash;  migrating tribes;  the remotest Little Diomeders;  legendary Iditarod champions Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson battling for the lead in 'the last great race' which overtakes the author on his trail.

And there are the dogs who become like a family for Alastair as together they cross the icy wilderness.     


'A superb book.   Few can duplicate Mr Scott's ability to relate a provocative adventure.'     The New York Times Book Review

'A polished, integrated work and a valuable portrait.'     Sunday Telegraph

'Awed by the landscape and people he encountered, Scott does full justice to both in this engaging travel adventure.'     Publishers Weekly

Scot Free

SCOT FREE - A Journey from the Arctic to New Mexico   *

Travel. eBook sold at Smashwords, or

Travelling 'not to go anywhere, but to go', Alastair Scott can claim to have seen the world - 194,000 miles of it in the course of five years.  Scot Free, the story of the first two years of this odyssey, reveals a new travel writer of refreshing quality.

'I wanted to go around the back of the world's Taj Mahals,' Alastair Scott writes, 'and to run my finger through the dust that no one else saw - to find the off-beat places, to visit the more common ones but in the wrong season.'  So he left his Moray home at the approach of winter to spend a year in the far north.  Wearing a kilt and sporran for goodwill, he travelled by every means of transport conceivable (and inconceivable).   After some hair-raising moments in the Faroes, he voyaged round the coast of Greenland, first on a prawn-fishing boat, then as cook on a coastal cargo ship, to Thule and beyond.  He witnessed a narwhal hunt and evaded the marital ambitions of Eskimo girls.

The next year was spent in the United States and Canada:  bowling along the freeways to the giant cities, philosophising with the self-sufficient in the north Californian forest, sampling the dens of Las Vegas, rallying with revolutionary Rainbow People in Washington State;  camping in bear country in the Rockies, following in the steps of the old Gold Rush prospectors in the Yukon, encountering ancient communities of Russian, Scottish and Swiss emigrants in Alaska, Nova Scotia and Alberta;  hitching 17,000 miles in nine weeks to reach the Wild West and work with bible-reading cowboys, and ride with them into the sunset of New Mexico.

Alastair Scott brings the unusual and the eccentric vividly before our eyes, giving many an unforgettable portrait of people with whom he shared, for brief moments or extended periods, his own delight in humanity in all its forms.


'How gratifying it is to welcome a young Scotsman as a major new travel writer.'     Glasgow Herald

'The book is full of enthusiasm and delight as it is rich in humour, and there are signs of an oncoming wisdom which promises full maturity in the imminent successors to Scot Free.'     Eastern Daily News

'A marvellously readable travel book.'     British Book News

A Scot Goes South

A SCOT GOES SOUTH - A Journey from Mexico to Ayers Rock   *

Travel. eBook sold at Smashwords, or

Here is the sequel to Alastair Scott's highly acclaimed Scot Free, which left readers on the threshold of Central America impatient for more.  A Scot Goes South describes the next two years of the author's five-year odyssey, spent in Central America, Australia and New Zealand.

Alastair Scott writes with the same infectious brio as in his first book, a photographer's eye enriching the writer's, seizing with delight upon the egregious and eccentric, the larger-than-life that turns out to be life.  On the vertiginous Andean Riobamba-Guayquil line, he pockets his first-class ticket and climbs onto the carriage roof with the other passengers.   He spends a night in a Peruvian doctor's surgery, and takes English five o'clock tea on an estancia in the heart of the Argentine pampas.  Letting defences drop in order to be receptive to a new culture he pays the price, stoned by hostile villagers, mugged in Rio, incarcerated as a suspect Tupamaro guerrilla in Uruguay.  He continues through New Zealand and Australia with the same eye for detail and ear for anecdote, finally arriving at Ayers Rock.


'Like its predecessor, the book is notable for its dash and enthusiasm, coupled with the photographer's instinct for the exotic and eccentric.'     Sunday Times

'Another compelling bit of reading.'     The Oxford Times

A Scot Returns

A SCOT RETURNS - A Journey from Bali to Skye   *

Travel. eBook sold at Smashwords, or

In this book, Alastair Scott presents an account, by turns comic and astonishing, of his remarkable journey from South East Asia home to Scotland.  Though by itself it contains event enough almost for a lifetime, the book is also the last of a trilogy covering his five-year pilgrimage around the world.

Travelling on foot and by public transport - including camel, elephant and Calcutta's (very public) Black hole buses - Alastair Scott slips, trots, lumbers and squeezes through the cultures of the Far and Near East.   He carries a notebook, a will to understand and a bent towards small absurdities.  An optimist, except at the Somme, he carries a universal bath plug where there are no universal drains.

This is a richly evocative picture of diverse lands and people:  a hasty funeral in the lush islands of Indonesia;  a bizarre game of football in Thailand;  an extensive journey in China, just one year after the country opened to independent travellers;   Burma, by Horsecart Number Twelve;  recollections of a relative lost on Everest;   a rhinoceros hunt in Nepal;  microcosmic India;  the Tibetans of Ladakh;  the barbed wire of the Bible land;  the mightiest castle in Syria;   the men-only monasteries of Mt Athos;   the return of a Scot;   a journey from Bali to Skye.


'A rattling good travel book.'     Birmingham Post

'A book which insists that you do not put it down - Alastair Scott is a remarkably talented travel writer.'     Western Mail

'He must be the most readable of the new generation of travel writers.'     The Scots Magazine



WANDERLUST - An Anthology of 'Best' Extracts from the Round-the-World Trilogy 'Scot Free', 'A Scot Goes South' & 'A Scot Returns'

Travel. eBook sold at Smashwords, or

Travelling 'not to go anywhere, but to go', Alastair Scott can claim to have seen the world - 194,000 miles of it in the course of five years. 
His account of this journey was originally published in three volumes;  Scot Free, A Scot Goes South and A Scot Returns.   The 'best' extracts from these three books have now been brought together in one volume: the result is Wanderlust in which Alastair Scott brings the unusual and the eccentric vividly before our eyes, giving many an unforgettable portrait of people with whom he shared, for brief moments or extended periods, his own delight in humanity in all its forms.


See the individual titles above.


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