Crown Church Friendship Club Talk
and viewing of 'The Walk to the River' DVD

by Alison Wilkie

Friday 30th October

My chat to the members of the Crown Church Friendship Club took place in the comfortable armchair setting of the church lounge. Because the DVD would cover the work of the Neil Gunn Trust and the monument above Dingwall, I concentrated on other areas of his life and about his writing generally.

From a tentative show of hands, it seemed that not many present were 'locals', and were surprised to learn of his firm friendships, social and political involvements here in Inverness during the 20's and 30's.

Only one or two knew that he had built his first house in Dochfour Drive, and returned to spend his last years at Dalcraig on the north shore of the Beauly Firth.

During the tea and home baking which followed, one lady told me that in those days, he was regarded almost with awe. Having such a well known author in the town was quite a rarity! I was told afterwards that another lady was too shy to mention that she had worked in the Cummings Hotel, and had met Neil there when he attended meetings to discuss the possibility of setting up a Highland University. Personally I was delighted to note so much interest - no-one fell asleep during the 45 minutes.

A week later, I heard that our main bookshop in Inverness has reported a run on Neil Gunn books and has had to re-order.