Raymond Moore believes his decision to move from Glasgow to Skye when he was a teenager not only changed his life for good but also saved it.
As a 13-year-old in the late 1970s, he went to stay with his great aunt Margaret Arnott and great grandmother Annie Arnott, a renowned Gaelic singer, in Linicro, near Uig, to escape bullies and a neighbourhood blighted by drugs.
The memories of that time came back to him, though many, many miles away, during lockdown and led him to write his first book.
The now Saudi-based nurse completed ‘Skye Stories Volume 1: The Linicro Years’ while in quarantine recovering from Covid.
He is already working on a follow up.
Mr Moore arrived in Skye for his school summer holiday of 1977 aged 13 after an attempt to steal his bike in Glasgow’s Springburn Park left him vulnerable to bullies.
He said: “I asked my great aunt if I could stay and go to school in Portree.
“She agreed and I never returned to my family home in Glasgow.
“Skye changed my life forever in a positive sense and in so many ways.
“The most important was that I stayed on at school and got O Grades and Highers.
“If I’d remained in Glasgow, I would have left school at 16, like most of my pals did, never having taken an exam.”
A future changed by island life
“Portree High School gave me the opportunities to change the direction of my life and I went to Edinburgh where I trained as a nurse.
“My street in Glasgow had became synonymous with drugs and many people succumbed to heroin addiction. People close to me.
“God know where I would be now and what I would be doing if it wasn’t for Skye.”
Shared memories sparked idea
The genesis of the book came from two social media groups where people shared memories of Skye.
“Most people just posted photographs but as I’m in Saudi and had no photos I started writing wee stories of what I got up to as a young teen,” Mr Moore said.
“I also posted poems written about Skye, specifically Linicro, Uig and Portree.
“These went down well with folk and many members of both groups suggested I collect all my stories and poems and put them in a book.”
In March 2020, Mr Moore’s family left to spend their annual three months in their house in Thailand just before lockdown and were unable to return.
“This meant I would now have a lot of time on my regularly washed hands.
“Now there was no excuse. I got down to writing – and not one book, but two.
“Saudi locked-down not long after they left and that’s when I started to collect all my Facebook posts together.
“Around the end of May I caught the virus but I was fine.
“I had two weeks in quarantine where I organised all my writings into what I thought would be a self-published book.
“I spent months self-editing until I was happy with it and then thought, since I’d worked so much on it, why not send it to a few publishers to see if anyone else liked it.”
He signed with Redshank Books and spent several months editing the book via email.
A second volume deals with his life after the age of 16, while a third will deal with what happened after he left Skye.
He added: “My love affair with the Isle of Skye started as a baby in a pram in 1965 and although I have not set foot on my cherished island since 1997 (when his great aunt died and when he went to work in the Middle East), my love affair is endless.
“The years between 1977 and 1982 changed the trajectory of my life.
“Skye made me the person I am today and whatever I do, wherever I go, and wherever I live, a piece of Skye is always with me.”