In search of DalRiada, Summer 2020
I’ve always been fascinated with the kingdom of DalRiada. In primary school we used the book From Cavemen to Vikings by R.J. Unstead in our weekly history classes. This was my first visit to the site and it was one of the best days out I’ve had in a long time! My kids decided to stay at home and so my friend and I headed north together child-free. Yay!
Our first stop was in Lochgilphead where I had seen on Facebook that there was an independent bookshop, the Argyll Book Centre. There was a book that I had discovered on Amazon detailing a series of walks in the area called In the Footsteps of Kings by Sharon Webb that was listed but unavailable online. Somehow in my search for a car park, I turned down the street the bookshop was located on and we parked right across the road. (Lochgilphead is hardly a heaving metropolis but it is much larger than the village in which I live!)
Thankfully the bookshop had several copies alongside an amazing range of OS maps and a fantastic range of books. Highly recommended if you’re in the area. The bookshop owner was lovely and very helpful and there was even a small Tourist Information Office located at the back of the shop. If you are looking for any books about Scottish history, good quality travel guides or OS maps, then I would suggest contacting them and asking if you can order online. I know I’ll be heading back to Lochgilphead just to visit the bookshop as soon as I can.
It’s a nice wee town, Lochgilphead, with pretty views down Loch Gilp and some nice monuments, public toilets and a kids play area at the loch side.
With my copy of In the Footsteps of Kings in hand, we headed north up the A816 to Kilmartin to begin our search.
Visit a village or small town that you are unfamiliar with. What do you notice? How does it make you feel to be there? How easy is it to find your way around? Does it have a welcoming feel? Remember to consider that any feelings of strangeness may say more about you, than about the place you are visiting. Make notes about what you can smell and hear, too.