Scotland’s famous son Thomas Telford was responsible for some fabulous feats of engineering and really was a man before his time.
He provided his country with desperately needed civil infrastructure in the 1800s, building 1,200 bridges, many harbours and the monumental Caledonian Canal.
Telford’s work was one of the greatest sustained efforts by an individual in the years of Britain’s industrial revolution, yet it is barely celebrated in the UK or the world.
Author Paul A. Lynn puts that right, through his fabulous new book, A Scotsman Returns. This is a fascinating combination of biographical material about Telford, who lived from 1757 to 1834 and a modern travelogue which revisits the places in the Highlands and Islands, where he worked for over 20 years.
He was called back to his native country after 20 years working in England and Wales to address huge problems in the Highlands and Islands caused by unemployment, poverty and suppression, which had followed the two Jacobite uprisings and were compounded by living in mountainous regions, almost isolated from the rest of Scotland.
Telford had a reputation of being devoted to his work, but as Lynn shows, he was a man who loved the natural world, poetry and proved to be a generous friend and companion.
The book reveals that despite his humble beginnings, Telford displayed great social skills in dealing with Scots and the author retraces an extensive Highland Tour made by Telford and the Poet Laureate, Robert Southey in 1819, when both men explored the scenery and admired Telford’s engineering feats.
The beautifully illustrated colour travelogue has over 100 photographs of Telford’s surviving infrastructure and is complemented with modern views of the places where he worked. There is a diary noting comments on what they saw and discussions on the then current political and social scene.
It’s a brilliant book and insight into a truly remarkable man.
Publication date: 29th October 2021
UK Price: £18.99
Format: 240 x 170 mm, portrait format
A Scotsman Returns – Travels with Thomas Telford in the Highlands and Islands
By Paul A. Lynn
Published by Whittles Publishing
For more information and to purchase a copy of the book, please visit www.whittlespublishing.com.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Menai Suspension Bridge Photo – Original date: 17th June 2004 – Original source: Personal Photograph taken by Mick Knapton Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by sevela.p., CC BY-SA 3.0