Peter Ross on his new book Daunderlust ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

This article is from 2014

Peter Ross on his new book Daunderlust ahead of 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival

Scottish journalist (and former List deputy editor) talks about his storytelling style, hidden spots in Scotland and why we should buy his book

Peter Ross has been writing weekly dispatches in Scotland on Sunday for years, about some of the strange, unexpected and extraordinary people he meets on his travels in journalism. The former deputy editor of The List tells us more about his book, where he gathers together a ‘best of’ of his weekly columns

Five words to describe your storytelling style.

Rather than high-five myself, I'll quote the reviews of my book: ‘Funny’; ‘Beautiful’; ‘Full of heart’. None of those were written by my mum, the landlord of my local, or anyone else who has cause to be nice to me.

Four spots in Scotland that we should really know about, but probably don't. Yet.

Val D'Oro, a chip shop not far from Barrowland, is ‘Home of the Great Glasgow Fish Tea’ according to a neon sign in the window and is run by Luigi Corvi, a splendid gentleman who weights 25 stone and treats his customers, as the fancy takes him, to performances of operatic arias. Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin, is the only medieval monastery in Britain still inhabited by monks and used as a place of worship; it has a solemn purposeful beauty, especially Vigils and Lauds, the service which begins at 4.30am. Stracathro Services, off the A90 just north of Brechin, is better known as Ye May Gang Far And Fare Waur on account of the fact that those words are painted in gigantic letters across the front, and is the Mecca, the Lourdes, the sacred Ganges of transport cafes; ask for a rowie. Inchmurrin Island in Loch Lomond has been home to Scotland's dedicated naturists for over sixty years, six decades in admirable defiance of the midge. I've written about all these places in Daunderlust and I suggest everyone who has not had the pleasure of visiting should seek them out forthwith. But if you do go to Inchmurrin, the etiquette is: take a towel to sit on.

Three themes you find yourself always coming back to in the book.

Transience, endurance and obsession. The way things change, the way they stay the same, the way some folk can't let go.

Two things you need to have close by before writing can start.

I like to keep books handy by way of inspiration. Any sentence by Orwell will jump-start a tired mind. So, his fine essay Some Thoughts On The Common Toad. Also: biscuits.

One reason we should buy your book.

I've written a book about the unsung people and places of Scotland - in all their funny, moving, wise, weird, industrious, daft glory - and I think you might enjoy their tales.

Peter Ross: Adventures in an Eccentric Nation, Charlotte Square Gardens, Mon 25 Aug, 8.30pm, £7 (£5). Daunderlust: Dispatches from Unreported Scotland is out now, published by Sandstone Press.

Peter Ross

Daunderlust is a witty, warm and insightful debut collection of articles from the multi award-winning journalist Peter Ross. His features for Scotland on Sunday take him on an endlessly fascinating journey into some lesser-known corners of the nation where he meets an array of colourful characters, from painters on the…