Locations Used in Eyes Turned Skywards
Most of the locations used in 'Eyes Turned Skywards' are real places. Many of them are pictured below, with in most cases links to further information. One location, Sarclet Castle, had to be invented because it didn't exist in the right place, though it draws on real places for inspiration. Again, pictures and links are given below. This page concludes with pictures of the two types of aircraft that feature most prominently in the book.
The crash of the Short Sunderland flying boat that killed the Duke of Kent and thirteen other men took place at Eagle's Rock, inland from Dunbeath in Caithness. Today there are two memorials on the site. This is the largest of them. You can find out more about Eagle's Rock here.
The Duke of Kent's body was found some distance from the main crash site. The location is marked by a second memorial, much harder to find in the landscape and out of sight of the main memorial around the shoulder of a hill. You can find out more about Eagle's Rock here.
The fictional Sarclet Castle is featured a number of times, with some key scenes taking place here. It is based loosely on the wonderful Castle of Mey, albeit transported from the north coast of Caithness to its east coast. You can find out more about the Castle of Mey here.
The rose garden at the fictional Sarclet Castle, in which Monique takes Bob for a walk so they can discuss her reasons for being in Caithness, is based on the East Garden at the Castle of Mey. You can find out more about the Castle of Mey Gardens here.
Dinner at Sarclet Castle takes place in the magnificent dining room, the original great hall of the castle. The room is inspired by the great hall at Eilean Donan Castle, though at Sarclet Castle the hall has no electric lights. You can find out more about Eilean Donan Castle here.
Bob and Monique travel in a Sunderland flying boat to Loch Ewe, in pursuit of a Russian ship. Loch Ewe is in Wester Ross and during the Second World War was where many of the convoys to northern Russia assembled. You can find out more about the Loch Ewe here.
Oban stands unchallenged as the capital of the western seaboard of Scotland and is the setting for a number of the early chapters in the book. This view is like the one first seen by Bob as he few in from the south: though he was rather lower. You can find out more about Oban here.
Dunollie Castle perches on the summit of a 90ft high outcrop of rock that guards the narrow passage into Oban Bay between the mainland and the north end of the island of Kerrera. It is the site of a violent death in the prologue. You can find out more about the Dunollie Castle here.
Despite improvements in recent years, Berriedale remains one of the most challenging parts of the A9, where it descends steeply to cross a river. This was where the Duke of Kent's aircraft crossed the coast before crashing. You can find out more about Berriedale here.
Fort George sits behind its massive grass-topped artillery defences on an isolated spit of land jutting into the Moray Firth eleven miles north east of Inverness. It is visited by Bob and Monique on several occasions in the book. You can find out more about Fort George here.
The ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland, Dunrobin Castle stands above magnificent gardens a little back from the shore near Golspie in Sutherland. It becomes a military headquarters and an important location in the book. You can find out more about Dunrobin Castle here.
An interesting feature of Dunrobin Castle was that it had, and still has, its own railway station, built on a short siding from the main railway line from Inverness to Wick and Thurso. This also features in the book. You can find out more about Dunrobin Castle here.
Strathmore Lodge can be found near Loch More in the remote heart of Caithness. It was built as a hunting lodge in the 1800s and becomes an important location in the book. Anyone visiting the area should bear in mind that Strathmore Lodge is private property, and not open to the public.
Loch More is a loch in central Caithness. The loch and Lochmore Cottage both play important roles in the book, and in real life the loch is home to a fish ladder that marks the start of the River Thurso. Remember that Lochmore Cottage is private property, and not open to the public.
In the book, Wing Commander Bob Sutherland uses a Hawker Hurricane Mk X as his personal transport to get to London from his base at RAF Annan, and to pursue his investigations in Oban and beyond. This Hurricane, not Bob's, was photographed at an airshow.
The aircraft that crashed at Eagle's Rock on 25 August 2942, killing the Duke of Kent and 13 other men, was a Short Sunderland flying boat. This amazing model of the aircraft he was flying in that day can be seen at the Oban War & Peace Museum in Oban.