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David Grant


David was born in Edinburgh in 1941 and schooled there, at George Watson's College and Merchiston Castle School. After a year in the paper-making industry, he went to Aberdeen University, graduating with the degree of Master of Arts in 1963. Two years in Australia followed, before a return to university, Edinburgh this time, to take a Master of Science degree in ecology and wildlife management.


He has worked, amongst other things, as a jackaroo and sheep-shearer in Australia, in ecology and wildlife management for the Nature Conservancy (now incorporated into Scottish Natural Heritage), as a crofter and prawn creel fisherman on Skye and as part of a film-crew on Orkney.


At the end of 1997, David Grant – and his family:  wife Kate, children Torcuil (1980), Eilidh (1981) and Fionn (1984) – returned from travelling around the world with a horse and caravan, an unique journey which took them seven years; across fifteen countries on three continents and, incidentally, into the Guinness Book of World Records. He has written the story of the family's epic global journey in The Seven Year Hitch, which was published by Simon & Schuster, in June 1999 and in paperback in 2000.


In 2000, David undertook a solo kayak expedition from Sweden to the Black Sea, following an old Viking trade route via the rivers Daugava/Western Dvina, Ulla, Berezina and Dneiper. Along the way, he kept a look out for traces of Vikings, observed the way of life in places he passed, kept a note of the wildlife he saw, and visited local Baha’i communities, having accepted that Faith in 1995. 


In 2005, he undertook a pilgrimage to the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa and, in the true tradition of pilgrimage, walked part of the way; time unfortunately precluded walking the whole distance. He covered the rest by hitching, taking local buses and trains and by ferry. An account of this journey is in the throes of being written up.


Earlier in 2007, The Long Riders' Guild Press published The Wagon Travel Handbook, essential reading for anyone planning a journey with a horse-drawn wagon;  avid armchair travellers will also be fascinated at this ancient mode of travel which is becoming increasingly popular again today.


David currently lives at Balintore, near Kirriemuir, where he continues to write, as well as turning his hand to a variety of other things.

Click here to go to David Grant's  website.

Spirit of the Vikings

David Grant

ISBN 1590482816

This is a kayaking book with a difference. The inspiration for the journey, from Sweden to the Black Sea, via the Baltic and rivers of eastern Europe, came ‘somewhere in Kazakhstan’ when David Grant, while travelling with his wife and children in a horse-drawn caravan, was reading a translation of the fictitious Viking saga Röde Orm, or Red Serpent.  A life-long interest in things Viking, coupled with a wish to experience a solo expedition on a shoe-string budget, dictated that the author’s “longship” should actually be a kayak. The route would follow approximately that of Röde Orm’s vessel but continue on to the Black Sea and possibly further. The result was a fascinating journey through the waters of the Swedish Archipelago, across the Baltic to the island of Gotland and on to Riga in Latvia, where the river travel began. Up the Daugava-Dvina and its tributary the Ulla, through the disused and decaying Verebki canal and across the watershed, then down the Berezina and Dneiper, to emerge into the Black Sea.

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