Highland "Kidnappers" ready

Date published: 20 May 2016

Modern day Highland adventurers Alan Rankin and Willie Gibson are set to create the first ever re-enactment of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel “Kidnapped”.

And in doing so they intend to circumnavigate Scotland with a minimal carbon footprint.

The duo will relive the adventure classic by sailing 500 miles around Scotland then walking 260 miles across Scotland. Their adventure is 130 years to the month after Stevenson’s literary classic was first published in 1886.

Alan, of Carrbridge, said: "We will be using wind, wave and tidal energy to sail 500 miles around Scotland. All our electrical needs at sea will be 100% renewable using solar and wind generators. Once we land the 260-mile overland route will all be on foot, and walking is as green as it gets.

“We believe this might just be the lowest ever ‘carbon footprint’ adventure around Scotland. “

The sailing route will see the intrepid adventurers sail from South Queensferry on the Forth, northwards passing Aberdeen, rounding Orkney, rounding Cape Wrath, then outside Skye, then south of Tiree and landing on the rocky island of Erraid near Mull.

The walking route of 260 miles has over 42,000ft of ascent and crosses: Mull, Morvern, Appin, Glencoe, Rannoch Moor, Trossachs, Hillfoots and over the Forth to South Queensferry.

From there the pair will head into Edinburgh to finish as the book does at The Pleasance, which was in the time of the story the British Linen Bank.

Willie added: “After we have walked and run across Scotland and when we get near to journeys end we will then row across the Forth with the Queensferry Rowing Club so continuing the low carbon theme of the trip.”

The challenge will raise funds for three charities; Parkinson’s UK, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland and Stevenson Adventures.

Penned in 1886 by R L Stevenson, Kidnapped tells the enduring tale of David Balfour’s kidnapping and subsequent adventure as he is smuggled around the coast of Scotland, surviving ship-wreck, witnesses the infamous Appin Murder then fleeing the Redcoats with Alan Breck Stewart across Scotland to South Queensferry and on to Edinburgh to claim his rightful fortune.

The adventure is due to start within the coming ten days but is subject to settled weather. The challenge is expected to be completed within 18 to 20 days. A live satellite tracker will record the pair’s progress on water and on land as they make their way along the route outlined in the book and also what forms the long distance walking route The Stevenson Way.

Donations can be made online from www.kidnapped130.com


The Route

By Sea; 500 miles

  • From under the Forth Rail Bridge South Queensferry near Edinburgh heading northwards up the east coast of Scotland to Orkney.
  • Turning south at North Ronaldsay the crew will head for Cape Wrath and down The Minch passing to the west of Skye.
  • From Skye passing to the south of Coll and Tiree then land at the island of Erraid at the south west corner of Mull.

By Land; 260 miles

As in the terms of the book the challenges will make their way by foot camping out in the hills, taking shelter and accommodation along the way.

  • By foot across Mull and ferry across the Sound of Mull to Morvern.
  • Northwards crossing Loch Linnhe to Appin and from there eastwards by; Glencoe, Rannoch Moor and The Trossachs to the Forth Valley.
  • Skirting Stirling, along the Hillfoots and on to cross the Forth at Limekilns returning to South Queensferry and on to Edinburgh. 

Kidnapped – the story

The RL Stevenson classic is set in 1752 and follows the story of David Balfour, a young lowland lad recently orphaned, who leaves home to seek his fortune. He meets with his Uncle Ebenezer who David soon realises has taken the family seat of Shaws by default and he, David is the rightful heir.

Uncle Ebenezer not wishing to share the family estate has David kidnapped at South Queensferry and is taken aboard the brig Covenanter to be shipped off for sale into slavery in the colonies. During the stormy voyage around Scotland David realises he is at the mercy of a crew of murdering scoundrels. As a result of a collision in thick fog off Skye they take on board Alan Breck-Stewart a Jacobite sympathiser. David and Alan fend off the murderous crew intent on killing Alan for his money but the voyage is ended when they are shipwrecked on the Torran rocks off Erraid, a small island off Mull.

From there Stevenson masterfully weaves fiction with history as the tale follows David as he witnesses the infamous ‘Appin Murder’ of the government agent Colin Glenure. He is re-united with Alan and together escape the pursuing redcoats and embark on a great adventure crossing Scotland by way of Glencoe, Rannoch Moor, The Trossachs, Hillfoots, crossing the Forth and returning to South Queensferry.   Together with David’s lawyer they trick Uncle Ebenezer into admitting his duplicity and the book ends with David inheriting his rightful fortune.

Kidnapped is an adventure set amongst political, social and personal intrigue at a time of great upheaval in Scotland. Kidnapped130 will bring this literary classic to life capturing and bringing together heritage, environment and adventure to relive this compelling tale.