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Program Type: Author Event
Age Group: Adult
Registration is closed because no more seats are available.


Rob McWilliams, Connecticut author and newspaper columnist, will talk about the walk across Scotland that inspired his first book, The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain (published by Connecticut-based Homebound Publications in 2018). The presentation, fully illustrated with photographs from the trek, will also discuss Scotland’s history, nature, and cultural background. A Q&A session will follow and the opportunity to purchase signed copies of the book.

The Book: From Cape Wrath in the lonely northwest to a muddy estuary overlooking England, The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain takes the reader on a walk across Scotland. For Rob McWilliams–Scots-born but exiled since childhood–the walk is an obstinate ambition, and the start of a new direction in life. McWilliams crosses wild and beautiful landscapes, meets an ever-changing cast of companions, and passes through communities from remote hamlets to the smiling, but rough-edged, city of Glasgow. Around every corner, he explores Scotland’s turbulent history and unique cultural and natural heritage, from the Gaelic language, to the fearsome Highland midge, and how the Stone of Destiny–an ancient coronation symbol – could now reside in an unassuming Glasgow pub. Struggling with terrain, injury, atrocious weather, and above all his own fragile confidence, McWilliams weaves into his narrative the threads of his life that led to the journey, and discovers that the rewards of adventure are rarely those that were anticipated.

About Rob: Robert McWilliams was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but moved with his journalist father’s job to the south of England at the age of three. Rob graduated from Wadham College, Oxford, with a BA Hons. in Modern History. After university, he worked as a tour guide and English teacher in France and Spain, before joining Reuters news agency in London. Rob spent 16 years at Reuters as a business manager in Hong Kong, Japan, the US, Venezuela and Brazil. For nearly 20 years, Rob has lived in Connecticut with his wife and daughters, and is now a US citizen. Tired of corporate life, he quit his job to fulfill a stubborn ambition to walk the length of Scotland. He has contributed the Taking a Hike column to local newspapers for six years. Taking a Hike placed second in the general column category of the 2017 Connecticut Press Club awards.  Rob has also written for A.T. Journeys, the official magazine of the Appalachian Trail, and The Kiss of Sweet Scottish Rain is his first book. Rob enjoys hiking, and travel off the beaten track. He does consulting work on information privacy, and volunteers with the Nature Conservancy, Appalachian Trail and other outdoor causes.


“With a naturalist’s eye for detail and a poet’s spirit, Robert McWilliams takes us on a vivid journey over moors, up mountains, and across rivers on his quest to walk the length of Scotland.  Along the way, he shares not only spectacular scenery and singular characters, but fascinating meditations on history, language, and the struggle to pursue one’s dreams in a world filled with responsibilities and distractions.  McWilliams will get you lacing up your hiking boots.” — David K. Leff, Poet-in-residence for the New England National Scenic Trail and author of Canoeing the Legendary Allagash

“This is the story of a long, idiosyncratic walk . . . but it never strays far from the heart of essential Scotland: the wildness, the heritage, the history and the sheer breathtaking beauty of its landscapes.” — Dr. Terry Marsh, author of Walking the West Highland Way

PARKING: There is ample library event parking in the nearby Isham Garage. Please bypass the garage kiosks and come directly to the Noah Webster Library Meeting Room, 20 South Main Street, where you may validate your parking with your license plate number.