Duo re-enact Scottish classic book Kidnapped
Most people will know of Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Kidnapped, which tells the story of David Balfour’s kidnapping and subsequent adventure as he is smuggled around the coast of Scotland. In the book, he survives ship-wreck, witnesses the Appin Murder then flees the Redcoats with Alan Breck Stewart across Scotland to South Queensferry and on to Edinburgh to claim his rightful fortune. Now two adventurers, Alan Rankin and Willie Gibson, are planning to complete the first ever re-enactment of the journey of the classic tale. They hope to trace the 130-year-old adventure story by sailing 500 miles around Scotland then walking 260 miles across the country. The challenge, which should take less than 18 days, will raise funds for three charities, Parkinson’s UK, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland and Stevenson Adventures. Alan, an experienced sailor, said: “We plan to follow as close as possible to the route described in the book. Unlike the story, however, there will be no real-life kidnap and hopefully no shipwreck either.”
Adventure by boat and on footThe journey will see Alan and Willie sailing their yacht northwards from South Queensferry on the Firth of Forth, near Edinburgh. They will sail past Aberdeen, around Orkney, passing Cape Wrath, then around Skye to south of Tiree before landing on the rocky island of Erraid near Mull. The pair will face the dangers of busy shipping areas, open seas and tidal headlands. When they reach Erraid, they will swap sailing boat for walking shoes to hike and run the 260 miles to Edinburgh. [caption id="attachment_19319" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Looking over Loch Linnhe to Glencoe.[/caption] The overland route, which follows much of the established long-distance Stevenson Way, crosses Mull, Morvern, Appin, Glencoe, Rannoch Moor, Trossachs, Hillfoots and returns over the Forth to South Queensferry. Just like the story of Kidnapped, the adventure will finish in Scotland’s capital city. The route includes 42,000ft of ascent. The pair will spend nights camping in the hills and taking shelter and accommodation where they can. Willie, a veteran mountain marathon competitor, will lead the walk and run across Scotland. He said: “When I saw the route I thought: 'Trust Stevenson to make the trip such an epic.' "
How to walk the Stevenson Way[caption id="attachment_19320" align="aligncenter" width="272"] John Louis Stevenson.[/caption] It’s possible to hike the 230-mile Stevenson Way from the Island of Mull to Edinburgh. An official long-distance trail is detailed at www.stevensonway.org.uk. This is an interpretation of the route that Stevenson suggests that David took in the book Kidnapped. Due to the distance involved and the remoteness of much of the route, most walkers complete the Way in short sections, carrying their own food. It is possible to do most of the route in weekend, or two-day, stints but Mull and the Rannoch Moor sections are best walked over four days.
The French Stevenson TrailAn alternative adventure is to hike the 156 mile Stevenson Trail in rural France. In 1878, the young Scottish writer R L Stevenson departed on an epic journey from Monastier sur Gazeille, in the Haut Loire. Twelve days, more than 150 miles and many adventures later he arrived in St- Jean-du-Gard at the edge of the Cevennes National Park. His trek is immortalised in his classic, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. You can recreate his fascinating journey with considerably more certainty and comfort on a Macs Adventure self-guided Stevenson Trail.
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