Publisher continues re-print of rare books

One of the republished books
One of the republished books

A Deeside book publisher is continuing in it’s quest to re-publish rare titles with the re-print of an informative guide to Strathspey from 1902.

Deeside Books of Ballater has recently published the fifth volume in the North-east Scotland Classics Series, Strathspey, by Alex Inkson McConnochie, which once again makes a scarce title available to the public.

The book would have cost the early twentieth century buyer one shilling.

McConnochie was a prominent local historian and hillwalker and the author of numerous books, articles and guides on both the Aberdeenshire and Cairngorm areas was also one of the founder members of The Cairngorm Club.

Born at Rothes on Speyside in 1850, in later life he was an accountant and law stationer living in Aberdeen, making him a true son of the North- east.

This Strathspey guide is considered to be one of the first descriptions of the Speyside area as a complete entity.

McConnochie died in 1936 aged 86.

During his life he also wrote for the Glasgow Herald.

A statement from Deeside books said: “The reasons for Speyside’s popularity are probably then as now – its outstanding scenery coupled with numerous facilities for outdoor pursuits. The coming of the railways to the northern part of Scotland in the latter part of the 19th century opened up vast areas to the tourist and sportsman, and Speyside was a popular destination. Hence there was a need for a local guidebook, both historical and informative, particularly after the publicity given to the area through Queen Victoria describing her visits in Leaves from a Highland Journal.

“The history and topography of the complete length of the valley of the Spey are covered in great detail, as are its tributary rivers, particularly the Fiddich and the Avon. McConnochie gives a vivid description of both the local habitat and also the legends of the area as well as contemporary descriptions of a way of life that has now largely disappeared.”

Now the publishing company has taken history into it’s own hands by reproducing the book in its original form, including copies of all of the original illustrations and maps.

However, a new introduction has been added which it is hoped will help the reader elicit more information, particularly where more modern maps are concerned.

It has been republished in a paperback format, with card covers that have a cloth veneer in order to retain the original character of the book as much as possible, and is priced at £14.99.

Bryn Wayte of Deeside Books told the Piper: “Thi s is part of an exciting series we’re re-publishing. These are all quite rare books, the originals are usually very scare and are hard to trace outside of an academic library.”

Mr Wayte, who has run Deeside Books for the past fifteen years, added: “We want to be able to charge a reasonable price for these works, an original copy would usually change hands for somewhere around £100.”

The other books in the series are Lochnagar (originally published in 1891) and Donside (1900), both by Alex Inkson McConnochie; Loch Kinnord (1910) by the Rev. John Grant Michie and Aberdeen Street Names (1911) by G. M. Fraser.

The sixth title in the series, Ben Muich Dhui and his Neighbours (1888) by Alex Inkson McConnochie, is currently in preparation.

All of the books in this series are available from Deeside Books of Ballater and also from other local outlets. Further information is available at