The 2003 Nigel Tranter Memorial Award was presented at the 2003 Scottish Castles Association Annual General Meeting in the Onich Hotel near Fort William. The Council had decided to grant the award to Alastair M.T. Maxwell-Irving of Blairlogie in Stirlingshire.
Alastair has made an enormous contribution to modern understanding and appreciation of the defensive structures of the western end of the Scottish borders (Dumfriesshire and Eastern Galloway). His splendid book "The Border Towers of Scotland: Their History and Architecture - The West March" is the culmination of over forty years of painstaking research, investigation, excavating, surveying and photographing . This publication ranks with the works of David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross (The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland) published in the late 19th C and the work of our own past President Nigel Tranter (The Fortified House In Scotland) published in 1962. Alastair's award is all the more deserved for his determination to complete his project by funding its publication himself.
Alastair provides a concise account of the families who built and lived in each tower, together with the key dates for historical events, public appointments, charters etc. There is also background information about the properties earlier history where known. Sixty-eight towers are described individually including four that no longer exist, but about which detailed records have survived. In addition there are historical and architectural notes about another twenty-two, of which only fragments have survived or which have been subsumed almost beyond recognition into more modern buildings. The text runs to some 230,000 words, and is illustrated with more than 250 photographs of the towers and their features, and other illustrations.
The Council congratulate Alastair on the publication of this major work and wholeheartedly recommend his book to all.
You can buy his book for yourself from this link on our recommended books section. Scroll down to his book review.