With over six thousand miles of rugged coastline, nowhere in Scotland is more than forty-five miles from tidal waters, and seven of the biggest towns and cities are seaports. No wonder then that the sea has shaped Scotland, and in turn the Scots have helped to shape maritime history, trade and communications.
Scots and the Sea is a unique and compelling account of a small, sparsely populated country's relationship with the most powerful force on earth. It is a celebration of the courage and endurance of fishermen and their families, the selfless bravery of lifeboat volunteers and the individual brilliance of leaders like Admiral Cochrane, who helped establish free nations across the globe. The illicit activities of scoundrels like Captain Kidd also provide a taste of the darker side of the story.
Scotland's proud maritime tradition is traced through this volume, which examines the development of trade, the founding of a Scottish merchant navy and the pressures towards Union with England. It explores ports, harbours and shipyards, and outlines the vital role Scotland has played in shipbuilding and marine engineering - from the galleys and longships of early history to clippers, steamships, ocean liners, hovercraft and oil rigs. Also recounted are the exploits and achievements of Scots in all these fields, including those of James Watt, William Symington, Henry Bell and Robert Stevenson. Finally, it takes a look into the future, where Scottish research into wave and tidal power could become vital in providing a source of sustainable energy.
Over the years, many Scots have made their living and their fortune from the sea, others have lost their lives to it - Scots and the Sea is a tribute to all of them.
James D.G. Davidson served as a naval officer in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. Present in Tokyo Harbour at the time of the Japanese surrender in 1945, he was Assistant Naval Attach in Moscow at the time of Stalin's death. He lives in Newtonmore.