Features Ed Blog: Boswell and Johnson

Willie Shand © boswell and johnson

In this week’s issue, Willie Shand tells the tale of Boswell and Johnson…

I’d heard the names before, but I have to admit I knew very little of James Boswell and Samuel Johnson before reading this week’s cover feature from Willie Shand!

I should be ashamed really. I’d heard more of Lewis and Clark, those two colonial explorers who made their way to the West coast of the U.S. back in 1805. Maybe they were inspired by Boswell and Johnson, as those left for their tour back in 1773!

James Boswell was a man experienced in travel, and Johnson was a highly respected lexicographer. Boswell convinced Johnson to join him. The pair stayed in the homes of Lords, Ladies and even Flora MacDonald’s house! But their transit was much wilder experience. With no dual carriageways or budget airlines, the way through the Highlands wasn’t quick or easy.

boswell and johnson

Wild, Wild Weather

Nor was the weather kind to them. Storms beset them as they travelled through the Hebridean islands. The pair were held down in Armadale on Skye for five days. When they finally had a window to leave, they didn’t make it far before rough seas hit them.

They were stranded again on Coll for 11 days, and Johnson was forced to admit “It would require great resignation to live in one of these islands.”

Before long, they pined for the mainland. And after weeks and weeks on the road, they eventually longed for their southern homes.

What an adventure it must’ve been – just a pity about the weather! Though, they were far from the last tourists to Britain’s north to experience less-than-ideal conditions!

Read Willie’s full account of their travels in this week’s fab issue…

Catch up with Editor Angela’s recent trip to the West coast.






Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.