The narrative starts in the second week of July but never reveals either what year the two young men nicknamed the 'Canoe boys' (but having already achieved publication of a Scottish weekly adventure paper for boys, and a foothold in the world of journalism) took place, or the year the book was published. All you gather is that the canoe trip took place before the second world war starting on a Saturday and was written after the war.
A bit of investigation reveals the Claymore paper was started late 1933 and folded July 1934 and the canoes set off that summer - 'Too late in the year' as everyone keeps telling them. The book was published in 1950 and both Alistair Dunnett and James Seumas Adam had varied and immensely influential careers.
Both are dead now but the author lived to 1998 (born 1908) and James Adam to 2003. The 'Quest by Canoe' touches Scottish politics, economics and character as well as the wonderful people and places that are the West Coast of Scotland. The last 30 years has seen some great improvements in conditions in the Highlands such as transport and communication and right to buy crofts - all argued for by this book and helped to come to pass by the two paddlers. I hope they were proud.
This book should be filed on my shelves with the other romantic thrillers that I love so much (Joan Aiken The Butterfly Picnic and a few more, Mary Stewart Touch Not the Cat and a few more). It's as if Iain Banks heard my pleading for more books like this - and just tossed one off - just for me. It obviously doesn't matter that the 'I' (or eye) of the story is a young man - I get the same delicious satisfaction as the story folds and unfolds.