Publications

Scotland’s history is brimming with characters, places, and events that rival any in fiction. There’s no need to invent drama when you’ve got people like Archibald ‘the Grim’ Douglas and conflicts like the Battle of Bloody Bay to choose from. I’ve told many of their stories through articles in magazines, online periodicals, heritage industry publications and websites. I delight in drawing unexpected connections between this relatively remote corner of the world and the ‘bigger picture’, of which Scotland has always been a (sometimes formative) part. While always rigorously researched, most aren’t academic – history is for everyone, and hopefully these stories will entertain and engage as well as inform. Although some appear only in print and through online subscriptions, you can access many of my articles through this page.

 

Backyard Castles
The Scots Magazine. Subscription only (August 2017)
Brief: Many of Scotland’s castles are tucked away into suburbs, industrial centres and other thoroughly modern settings. I’ve dubbed these ‘backyard castles’, and here I discuss a few examples and how they fit in to the 21st century.


The Battle of Bannockburn – A King Defeated by Terrain
The Scottish Banner. Subscription only (June 2017)
Brief: How did 7,000 Scots defeat an English army 20,000 strong? By using the lands of Stirling itself as a weapon. This article uncovers the secrets of Robert the Bruce’s iconic victory.


The Capital of Ice and Fire
This is Edinburgh. http://edinburgh.org/blog/game-of-thrones/ (June 2017)
Brief: Forged by volcanoes and glaciers, Edinburgh’s elemental start is just one of the themes that connects it to the world of Game of Thrones. From the ‘real’ Red Wedding to the World’s End, it turns out that if you live in Edinburgh, Westeros is all around you.


Scotland’s Six World Heritage Sites
The Scottish Banner. Subscription only (May 2017)
Brief: As part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, ‘Dig It! 2017’ organized special events at each of Scotland’s World Heritage Sites. Get in on the action with this article and the hashtag #ScotlandinSix.


Going Pagan in Edinburgh’s Englightened New Town
The Scottish Banner. Subscription Only (April 2017)
Brief: The Beltane Fire Festival is a modern take on ancient festivities, welcoming the May Queen with effigies and painted demons to celebrate the arrival of Spring. It’s a sensory delight, all set somewhat ironically within the enlightened, rational New Town.


In the Errant Footsteps of a King on the Fife Coastal Path
The Scottish Banner. Subscription only (March 2017)
Brief: If Alexander III, King of Scots, hadn’t been blinded by lust one stormy night, the history of Scotland could have turned out quite differently. This is the story of a king’s fateful fall, set along the scenic Fife Coastal Path.


A History Mystery – The Battle of Roslin
The Scottish Banner. Subscription only (February 2017)
Brief: The Battle of Roslin is an almost-forgotten part of the Wars of Independence, and the myths swirl round it. In this article I outline the battle and put some of the enduring rumours around it to the test.


The Isle of Lismore
The Scots Magazine. https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/lismore-scotlanders/ (January 2017)
Brief: The Isle of Lismore, a short ferry ride from Oban, is disproportionately packed with historical treasures. With two castles, a broch, medieval carved stones and much more, I took to the island by bike. Here’s what I found.


Castle Hopping in Scotland with a Battlemaster
GoNomad. https://www.gonomad.com/85872-castle-hopping-scotland-battle-master (2017)
Brief: This cross-Scotland castle hunt takes in some of the biggest and best castles the country has to offer.


Scottish Castles: Towers of Power
History Today. http://www.historytoday.com/david-c-weinczok/scottish-castles-towers-power (November 2016)
Brief: Castles were instruments of power, and their architectural evolution gives us clues as to who holds the reigns in society. This article broadly examines how trends in castle building from the 12th-18th centuries reflect the power structure and social structures of their times.


On the Scent of Dunskey Castle
The Scots Magazine. https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/scotlanders-dunskey-castle/ (October 2016)
Brief: Upon a cliff at the extreme southwest tip of Scotland is Dunskey Castle, a spectacularly situated towerhouse with views over to Ireland. Explore it with me in this edition of the Scotlanders’ Corner.


Game of Thrones: Let the Games Begin…Again
The Scots Magazine. Subscription only (April 2016)
Brief: Game of Thrones’ epic storyline takes many cues from Scottish history. From large-limbed, red-headed peoples beyond a great wall to a treacherous massacre at a feast, this article explores the parallels between characters, themes and events that shape Scotland and Westeros.


Sheriffmuir 300
The Scots Magazine. Subscription only (November 2015)
Brief: This 4-page written and pictorial spread, available in the print edition or online subscription, commemorated the 300th anniversary of the Jacobite Battle of Sheriffmuir. Tactics, commanders, landscape and fallout are explored, along with images of weapons and a famous ballad.


Battlemasters: Bringing all the action of Bannockburn to life
The Scots Magazine. Subscription only (June 2014)
Brief: A playful look at my awesomely-named former role as a ‘Battlemaster’ at the Battle of Bannockburn Visitor Centre, where I used an interactive war game and 3D technology to bring Scotland’s greatest battlefield victory to life.


Ancient Orkney: A 4-Day Saga Through the Gem Atop Scotland’s Crown
Travels with a Kilt. https://travelswithakilt.com/guest-blog-orkney/ (February 2015)
Brief: A guest blog post on a popular Scottish travel blog, taking in the highlights of a trip to Orkney’s historic sites.


The Declaration of Arbroath: A medieval Social Contract that Shaped the American Revolution and the Modern World
History Is Now. http://www.historyisnowmagazine.com/blog/2014/4/10/the-declaration-of-arbroath-a-medieval-social-contract-that-shaped-the-american-revolution-and-the-modern-world#.WYEHotPyveR (April 2014)
Brief: Tracing the origins of the idea of accountable governance, this article reveals the surprising links between a 14th century diplomatic letter drafted in Scotland during the Wars of Independence and modern movements for democracy.


Outlander Territory: An Exploration and History of the Real Places Beind the Filming of the Starz Original Series
The Outlander Podcast. http://www.outlanderpod.com/episode-25-melange/ (Debruary 2014)
Brief: An article written for the fan-run, California-based Outlander Podcast that looks into the history of two of the major filming locations used for the first season of the Starz television series ‘Outlander’ – the Royal Burgh of Culross, and Doune Castle.