Roger Hutchinson

Calum's Road

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This story of a Scottish lighthouse keeper’s years-long quest to build a road and revive a town is “an incredible testament to one man’s determination” (The Sunday Herald).
Shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize
Calum MacLeod had lived on the northern point of the Scottish island of Raasay since his birth in 1911. He tended the Rona lighthouse at the very tip of his little archipelago—until semi-automation in 1967 reduced his responsibilities. With his newly idle hours, he embarked upon a project: to build a road out of the settlement of Arnish—a road that he hoped would lead new generations of people to this quiet, beautiful place.
And so, at the age of fifty-six, Calum MacLeod, the last man left in northern Raasay, set about single-handedly constructing the “impossible” road, using hand tools. It would become a romantic, quixotic venture, a kind of sculpture; an obsessive work of art so perfect in every gradient, culvert, and supporting wall that its creation occupied almost twenty years of his life. In Calum’s Road, Roger Hutchinson recounts the extraordinary story of this remarkable man’s devotion to his visionary project.
“MacLeod defied powers [outside] his control in the only way he could . . . paints a compelling picture of the man.” —Sunday Times
“Wonderful.” —The Telegraph
“A gem of a book.” —Alexander McCall Smith
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194 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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