In 1938 John Lorne Campbell bought the Hebridean isle of Canna. He wanted to prevent it becoming a rich man’s playground (like so many other islands and Highland estates), to preserve a part of traditional Gaelic culture and show that efficient farming methods could be compatible with wildlife conservation and sustainability. But his determination to get the island left him burdened by debt, and even after he gave it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1981 he still had to fight to secure his legacy.
This acclaimed book is an insightful and human portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most significant scholars of the Gaelic world, and of his 60-year partnership with Margaret Fay Shaw, who together created the world-famous library of Gaelic song and other material at Canna House.
Ray Perman was a journalist for 30 years in London and Scotland. In 1977 he first visited Canna and met John Lorne Campbell, with whom he corresponded until John’s death in 1996.