News article from 2003

Rosamunde Pilcher’s Perthshire & Kinross

Originally found at www.scotlandmag.com,      February 21, 2003

Q: How long have you lived and worked in Perthshire?
A: I have lived in Perthshire for nearly 57 years, and been working writing and selling fiction for just about as long a time.

Q: Describe the region to someone who has never visited it.
A: Between Dundee and Perth lie the rich arable farmlands of this district. To the south the River Tay flows east towards the sea. Wild geese feed on the marshy foreshores and, at morning and evening, skeins of these lovely birds fly overhead, travelling from the remote lochs hidden in the Sidlaw Hills.

Q: What are the area’s main attractions?
A: The ease with which one can leave the city behind, and be in deep countryside in no time; and the many championship golf courses that are close at hand.

Q: What are the area’s strongest points, and its weakest points?
A: The area’s strongest point is the location. Near the sea, so that there are always fresh winds, and not far from leisure locations – hills to walk, rivers to fish, golf courses and skiing in the winter months. A huge minus is the lack of good restaurants, hotels and pubs. If we have friends staying we never eat out but always at home.

Q: Describe an ideal day out spent in Perthshire.
A: I would go up to Glenmarkie, where, in l900, my husband’s grandfather built a shooting lodge. The house has been sold on, two or three times, but it lies at the head of a seven-mile glen, surrounded by quiet hills which used to ring to the ‘go-back, go-back’ of grouse. In the neighbouring glen, the grandfather dammed a burn and created a peaceful loch. Sheep graze by its reedy banks and many a picnic was enjoyed, with swimming and trips in the rowing boat and rounders or cricket matches on the flat, grazed grass meadows.

Q: Does the region influence your writing in any way?
A: I have used many locations in my novels, not necessarily being totally accurate, but mixing favourite features. A house there, a hill here … a river, a garden.

Q: Who are your Scottish heroes, both historical and modern?
A: I am not a great history person, so my Scottish heroes tend to be the inventors: Baird and Fleming and Dunlop. I also admire deeply the work of Scottish artists, from Wilkie to the Glasgow boys and the Scottish School. And if I had a million to spare, what joy to be the possessor of one of Peploe’s still lifes, and to be able to look at it every single day.

Q: Is there anything you would change about the area?
A: The Scottish Parliament is what I would most like to change. A narrow-minded, urban parliament is not what a rural country like Scotland needs. What do the representatives from Motherwell, Paisley and Renfrew know about the problems of the Sutherland tanner, the Fraserburgh fisherman? We are not a big enough country to range ourselves in enmity. ‘Them versus Us’ is outdated. Something has to change. Perhaps an attitude?

Rosamunde Pilcher, Perthshire-based author of novels such as Coming Home and Winter Solstice, has been writing all her life, with best-selling success. The above novels are published by Hodder and Stoughton.