Nearly a year ago, Kirsten Couper of the Arbroath Signal Tower museum invited me to come and give a talk about The Wreck of the Argyll. Now, Arbroath is a long way from Leicester where I live, but as I was travelling up to Scotland to visit relatives and launch my new book, I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to visit the museum. After all, the showdown between Nancy and Jamie and the German spies takes place in that very tower, so it was almost criminal that I hadn’t actually been there!
As it happened, our trip to Scotland coincided with Angus Heritage Week, so it was ideal timing to give a talk at the museum.
I dusted off my old PowerPoint presentation (the one I’d used in Wigtown last year) and updated it with a few photos of lighthouses raided from my Mum’s photo albums, including this picture of my Dad in his uniform with me and my little brother Alan.
The setup was nice and easy – I plugged my laptop straight into a big TV and we were off. Kirsten had tried to get a school involved, but at such short notice at the start of term, this was never going to be easy, so the audience was made up of the usual Signal Tower aficionados – people who have a fascination for lighthouses and the sea. They were engaged and knowledgeable, and asked some great questions. Quite a few of them even bought copies of my book, too – so many that the Signal Tower Museum was going to have to order some more!
I didn’t forget that my primary purpose in coming up to Scotland was to promote The Beast on the Broch, though, and I made sure to hand out plenty of business cards and nice shiny laminated bookmarks featuring Dawn Treacher’s artwork of the Beast.
It was great to get an opportunity to wander around the museum, too. It was originally the shore station for the Bell Rock, and if it’s a clear day and the sun is shining on the tower just right, you can see the ghostly white tower of the Bell Rock Lighthouse sitting on the horizon – it was a brilliant moment, to catch a glimpse and then see it disappear as the light faded.
It was great to have Kirsten Couper there, too, as she knows a lot more about the wreck of the Argyll on the Bell Rock than I do. I remember coming across a radio interview with her that had loads of information about the wreck that I hadn’t known – unfortunately, I discovered this after the book had been published!
All in all, it was a great day out, and it served as a last hurrah for The Wreck of the Argyll before concentrating entirely on my new book, The Beast on the Broch. From the very next day, it was away with lighthouses and shipwrecks – and bring on the beasts!