Calum MacLeod had lived on the northern point 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. ‘So what he decided to do’, says his last neighbour, Donald MacLeod, ‘was to build a road out of Arnish in his months off. With a road he hoped new generations of people would return to Arnish and all the north end of Raasay’.
And so, at the age of 56, Calum MacLeod, the last man left in northern Raasay, set about single-handedly constructing the ‘impossible’ road. 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.
Roger Hutchinson is an award-winning author and journalist, who has written for, amongst others, the West Highland Free Press, the Scotsman, Guardian, Herald and the Literary Review. Other than Calum’s Road , which was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature’s Ondaatje Prize, he has written a number of bestselling books, including Polly: The True Story Behind Whisky Galore and The Soap Man, which was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year (2004).