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A Wild Call: One Man's Voyage in Pursuit of Freedom

by Jeremy Atkins, Fernhurst Books 10 Oct 2017 13:50 BST 10 October 2017

Martyn Murray was finding modern life suffocating. Following years of soul-searching, his father's death triggered him into opening the old logbooks and charts to retrace the sailing trips they had once shared together. He determined to revisit those waters and bring home the freedom of the seas.

He fell in love with an old ketch in Ireland, which the surveyor described as sound but "in deplorable condition", and restored her enough to sail back to Scotland. Over the next two summers he cruised Scotland's Western Isles, with one goal: to reach St Kilda – the remotest part of the British Isles, 40 miles from the Outer Hebrides.

During his cruising he considered the islanders and their sense of freedom – often restricted by absentee landlords and officialdom. He railed against bureaucracy and commercial enterprise restricting the yachtsman's ability to roam free.

For parts of his journey he was joined by the beguiling Kyla; a rare, independent spirit who both excited and frustrated Martyn. But much of Martyn's voyaging was undertaken alone, encountering a variety of places, situations and characters along the way.

He attempted his long-awaited sail out to St Kilda through the teeth of a storm, believing that achieving this feat would bring him the freedom and clarity that he craved. What he came up against was far more testing and turbulent than the tides and gales of the North Atlantic.

As he sailed back to the mainland things fell into place: a sense of achievement in completing the arduous voyage alone, but – most of all – an understanding of who he is, clarity on his relationship with Kyla and a real sense of his own freedom.

A Wild Call, published on 10th October as a paperback and eBook, tells Martyn's story. It will be available to buy from all good bookshops, websites, chandleries and direct from

The book will be launched at Waterstones in Sauchiehall Street Glasgow at 6.45pm on Thursday 12th October and the author will be talking on the main stage at Scotland's Boat Show on Friday 13th October at 2pm. Anyone in the area is welcome to join the Fernhurst Books' team at these events and meet the author.