By Brenda B. Taylor
I became interested in genealogical research after retirement which led to researching family ancestry. The lives of my ancestors grabbed my interest and curiosity. I researched and traveled to their homes and wrote about those in post-Civil War Missouri and Scotland. I found my Scots Munro ancestor who immigrated from Scotland to North Carolina early in the 19th century. Immediately a story about the adventurous Clan Munro of the Scottish Highlands turned over in my mind. Since historical romance was my favorite genre to read, I crafted romances into the plots of the stories.
The research for the Highland Treasures series was difficult but interesting and exciting. I traveled to Scotland three times for first hand experience of life in the Scottish Highlands. Scotland’s museums, ancient castles, and other points of interest were filled with history and artifacts. On the first trip, my husband and I traveled from Edinburgh to Inverness in a rented car on the wrong side of the road. What a journey, but we arrived safely at our destination and enjoyed the stay in a lovely bed and breakfast. While there, I noticed an advertisement on the bulletin board for Munro Highland Tours. I immediately got in touch with George Munro, the tour guide. George took us on a beautiful tour of the land called Ferindonald, the clan lands of Clan Munro. He arranged a tour of Foulis Castle, seat of the clan and home to Chief Hector Munro and his family. The chief’s mother, Mrs. Timmie Munro, took us on a lovely tour of the castle and grounds. I cannot describe the wonderful time my husband and I enjoyed during our first trip to the Scottish Highlands.
While in Inverness we visited the Scotland People’s Center and researched my ancestor, Duncan Munro. I found one entry for Duncan Munro born in Cromarty, Scotland consistent with the time I calculated for his birth. I then assumed Cromarty, on the Black Isle, as the place of Duncan’s home and mentioned the burgh in the three Highland Treasures novels. We also spent time in the Inverness Interactive Museum. While there, I actually put on a great plaide, a man’s garment of old Scotland, which required pleating on the floor, lying down on top, and then belting the plaid around my waist. All three novels in the Highland Treasure series includes a description of donning a great plaide.
I visited and took photos where possible in Scotland’s National Art Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland while in Edinburgh. Each contained a treasure trove of life in old Scotland. The experiences and photos helped me recreate the interesting, yet rugged life in the 16th century Scottish Highlands. The photographs of early Scottish art taken in the art gallery helped me with the lifestyle in general of the clans—their dress, habits, homes inside and out, and of course the majestic castles, rivers, lochs, and highlands.
On the last visit I made with a cousin, we attended a Munro gathering with over three hundred Munros from around the world. What fun to meet cousins from the various countries. We found our hosts, the chief and residents of Foulis Castle, to be very interesting folk. They staged games and demonstrations of life in old Scotland. We also enjoyed present day entertainment of Scottish dancers and musicians. Hopefully, another gathering is scheduled for the near future.
George remained the tour guide on two subsequent trips to Scotland that I took with cousins. We traveled from the east coast to west and from the farthest northern point on mainland Scotland to the south. Truthfully, I have been all over the country, but haven’t seen everything I wish to visit. Mayhap another trip is in the making.
Brenda B. Taylor and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing. You can reach Brenda on her website, Historical Heartbeats, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.