Saturday, 21 July 2018

'The Executioner'

A great title, here, from Peter Bell's Revenants & Maledictions. The story concerns Sara, a Scot, who plays host to a rather arrogant German visitor. The problem is that Hans wants to climb all the major peaks on the Isle of Skye, and Sara knows that the weather is not conducive to this effort. Needless to say, when Hans keeps pushing his friend to go further and higher, it does not end well.

'The Executioner' is rich in description of the beautiful and unforgiving landscape of Skye, and details of how old-time climbers operated. I found the names of the summits (rendered here in Scots Gaelic and English) particularly fascinating. Also off-putting. People actually wanting to climb something called 'The Death-Dealer' confirms my view that mountaineering is s mad pastime.

This story is a worthy edition to a long tradition of stories set in remote Scottish locations. 'The White Sack' by Munby, and 'Skule Skerry' by Buchan. Tomorrow, another story!

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