Paul Murton takes another tour of Scotland’s lochs.
Part 1: Written in Stone
Paul explores the magical Argyll coast, travelling from the sacred sands of Kilmory Bay on Loch Sween. On the beautiful Lilly Loch in Knapdale forest he gets a glimpse of beaver, before joining a group of steam enthusiasts restoring an old puffer on the Crinan Canal. Stone Age rock art leads him north to Loch Awe, where he drives a herd of Highland cows towards his final destination – the mountainous heights of Ben Cruachan.
Part 2: Take My Breath Away
Paul Murton views breathtaking scenery among the lochs and mountains of Wester Ross. Speaking to locals, he discovers that the loch-side communities were only finally connected by road in the 1970s. Before then, boats linked people who lived an almost island existence. Paul borrows a bike and cycles over the infamous Bealach na Ba, one of Britain’s highest and steepest mountain passes, before reliving the glory days of the Kishorn oil rig fabrication yard, which in the 1970s built the world’s biggest movable structure. Journey’s end is on an island in Loch Carron with a curious connection with Peter Pan.
Part 3: Point to Pap
Paul travels from Britain’s most westerly mainland point to a place once guarded by an ancient Celtic goddess. On the way he discovers how the ancient oak woods of Loch Sunart were once a hive of industry, then goes deep underground to discover how 18th-century miners named a new element. On the shores of Loch Linnhe, he meets the owner of a castle and recreates a scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, before ending his grand tour from the heights of the pap of Glencoe.
Part 4: Under Wide Skies
Paul heads to one of Britain’s remotest railway stations. Miles from any road, it was built to service several grand sporting lodges in the days when the rich and fashionable came to shoot game and fish the lochs of the Flow Country. Heading into the wilderness, Paul discovers a legacy of habitation before the Highland clearances, and learns how early industrial plans to exploit the vast reserves of peat would have destroyed an ecosystem which is now valued throughout the world for its wild beauty. Paul then pans for gold in an icy river before heading for a miracle cure at the Lourdes of the north – the tiny, deserted Loch ma Naire. Journey’s end is on the sands of the Kyle of Tongue, where Paul learns about a consignment of Jacobite gold that could have changed history.
Part 5: Hidden Lochs of Galloway
Paul discovers the strategic wartime importance of Loch Ryan and meets a man whose memory of those days is tinged with tragedy. In Stranraer, Paul discovers a legacy of Arctic exploration and an old can of bully beef, then meets a clan chief who tends a unique garden surrounded by two lochs. Reliving the days of steam trains, Paul walks the old railway line towards Loch Ken, where a monster lurks beneath the waters. On the banks of Loch Trool, he discovers some rocky evidence of Bruce’s victory over the English in 1307, and then climbs the highest mountain south of Ben Lomond – the mighty Merrick.
Part 6: Decline and Fall
Paul visits Kintyre and encounters a strange and spiritual cave painting on Davaar Island, before sampling spirits of another kind in Campbeltown, famous the world over for whisky. This leads him to uncover the story of the only coal mine in the Highlands and a seam that runs all the way to Ireland. Heading up Loch Fyne, Paul joins the last of the Ring Net fishermen onboard a restored fishing boat heading to Lochgilphead, where he tracks down the inventor of Scotland’s lost supercar – the Argyll Turbo. Journey’s end is in the middle of Loch Fyne on a truly remarkable relic of the Ice Age.