The Summer Isles, the small group of Scottish islands off Scotland’s north-west coast, captivated writer Philip Marsden since he and his aunt looked upon them from the tops of the mountains they loved to climb. Now, decades after his aunt’s death, he sets sail in a beautiful wooden boat from his home in Cornwall, up the west coast of Ireland, through the Hebrides to reach those islands of his imagination.
Sailing single-handed, he tackles the full force of the Atlantic, hopping from island to island exploring the islands’ role in early Irish and Scottish history. Through the people he meets, he learns the stories and songs, myths and legends of these precarious places, and about their place in the Celtic tradition. The role of mythical islands like Hy Brasil and Tir na-nÓg, still capture the imagination and fulfil a universal need for imaginary places.