Now this is the type of history book I like, full of wonderful descriptions of life around Inverness which has made my own journeys just that little bit more meaningful as I look at the landscapes and think, "the Pattersons were here". The fact that the histories of the railways that are so important to us have such strong family ties is just brilliant. I can't write this review from a practical history point of view as I haven't been blessed with the type of mind that can handle historical facts and figures but it is the personal details that makes it all sense to me. Plus that it all brings together all the facts and figures presented to us over the years by such authors as Neil Sinclair and David Ross. Many times I found myself saying, "So that's what they meant" or "So that's how it fitted in" and, of course, it sent me back to re-read the various passages. This is a book that I have hoped to have been written since meeting the author at several FoFNL AGMs and of knowing her background and it is with gratitude that we now have the opportunity to explore her family history.
When the first edition of this book appeared six years ago, it was widely acclaimed for its fresh approach to the history of the Highland Railway. Readers were able to appreciate how it developed as a commercial enterprise and promoted the prosperity of the area. The difficult periods during that development were thoroughly explored and new light shed on events such as the resignation of Andrew Dougal.
David Ross has now produced a second edition and taken the opportunity to revise the text, expanding it where necessary and correcting a few minor errors. The presentation of the book has changed completely, with a larger page size and a bigger selection of photographs spread throughout the book to illustrate the story. Photo captions are brief, whereas they could have been much more informative, and the page layout, in your reviewer's opinion, detracts from what is otherwise a high quality production. This should be on the bookshelf of anyone with an interest in the Highland Railway or with the development of the Highlands in the 19th and early 20th centuries.