Mr Buckland, Mr Walpole and Mr Young: Around Scotland with the Fisheries Men
Frank Buckland, Spencer Walpole and Archibald Young had been working together on a regular basis as H.M. Inspectors of Fisheries since 1867.
In 1877, they were commissioned by the Home Office to gather evidence from Scotland designed to demonstrate the health, or otherwise, of the ‘Scotch’ herring fishery. They began in Edinburgh and visited herring stations of note on the eastern seaboard at Eyemouth, Anstruther, Montrose, Aberdeen and Wick.
The Royal Navy placed the paddle-steamer and gunboat HMS Jackal at their disposal, which took them to Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles and important locations in and around Loch Fyne. Their undertakings ended at Glasgow, having spent six weeks in August and September travelling around the country by rail, road and sea.
The action takes place at the height of Empire and well into a period of explosive industrial expansion. Scotland itself is the stage, here defined by landscape, people, industry and identity; but some of the scenes may be new to readers. This is because the underlying aim is to move backwards and forwards in time, making unexpected connections between the past and the present.