We talk to North Ayrshire author Alex Boyd about his work on a brand new book documenting the history of Scotland's mountains and hills.

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The fantasy idea of Scotland’s heritage and history has been the basis for a plethora of artworks- most with varying degrees of fantasy and fiction.

But while this romantic fantasy of Scotland has taken the spotlight, the real history of Scotland has been hiding in its shadows.

Hoping to document the history of Scotland’s mountains and hills, North Ayrshire author Alex Boyd has set out on a journey to experience Scotland’s most significant peaks and express their stories through the artists, poets and writers who have depicted them.

Setting out across the Highlands this summer, Boyd’s historical trip has been long in the works, with the as-yet-untitled book having been an idea in his head for the last five years.

“It's been interrupted a few times by some significant events such as the birth of my daughter, as well as my doctorate, which has taken up the last few years of my life,” Alex explains.

But while this book has had a long history in its own right, the time taken gave Alex ample opportunities to research and fine tune his work.

"I was lucky enough to become a Fellow of the National Library of Scotland," he explained," and spent three months there in the archives getting material for this book.”

However, while the idea for the book was conceived half a decade ago, in reality it’s been in the works for much longer, as Alex tells of how Arran’s mountains and hills inspired him even as a child.

“I was lucky enough to grow up in North Ayrshire, with that incredible view of Arran stretching along the coastline," he continued.

"My dad was keen to get my brother and I on the hills, and I think that’s when the fascination took hold.”

But while Boyd’s upcoming book is focused on Scotland’s history and the artists who portrayed and captured the significance of the country’s sites, much of its influence can be attributed to Japan - specifically, to a woodblock printing class taken in the country that inspired Boyd to depart from his typical use of photography within his work and instead “illustrate each peak with an etching.”

Kyūya Fukada’s 100 Mountains of Japan has had a significant influence on Alex's book.

“Fukada's book chooses a selection of peaks based on their grace, individuality, and history,” he said, explaining that a mountain or hill’s significance should not be equated directly to its height - something he feels is often the case in Scotland.

Other than looking to encourage hillwalkers to do more than just “Munro bagging”, Alex says he hopes his book will help other people “gain a deeper appreciation of what we have here in Scotland, and fight to protect our high places from unnecessary development and over-tourism”.

He’s seen first-hand how quickly thousands of years of history can be destroyed, too.

“When I brought out my St Kilda - The Silent Islands book in 2018," he said, "I didn't realise that the images I took then would be some of the last of the buildings on Village Bay.

"A year later storms would destroy those that the military did not.”

Set to be released in 2023, Alex's upcoming book aims to preserve the history of Scotland’s high places by painting pictures of the past.

Hopefully, then, Scotland’s hidden history can finally be portrayed in the bright light it deserves.