Publications by Jess Smith

Click on an image above to read more ... All books are published by Birlinn and available from Booksource, Waterstones, Amazon and all good book shops

Testimonials / Reviews

"Takes you into an unfamiliar world ... remarkable." - Caledonia

"It is a captivating and enjoyable read which is filled with wonderful descriptions… and I am convinced that one day it will be adapted into a film." - Strathearn Herald review of Bruar's Rest


For several years along with the assistance of Mike Russell MSP (education minister) I have been involved in the listing and preservation of this little heart in Argyll.


Situated in a field next to the Struchur road it has served as the 'marriage place' for Travelling people for centuries.


I'm informed that mothers and wives from the area of the cowal Penninsula gathered the quartz stones from Loch Fynne and formed them into a heart to honour their menfolk of the Caird culture( tinkers) who failed to return home. It became a special place. Travellers married there and had babies blessed. It is a sacred place. Sadly Historic Scotland who are responsible for the preservation have refused to recognise the area although it has been recorded by RCAHMS.

I have to continue fighting for listing and preservation. It needs to be taken out of the hands of the landlords. I feel strongly that if the landowners understood the history of the place they could easily see the advantage in tourism the 'Heart' could bring.

I'm also of the belief that this old poem might hold a bit of truth...given the state of the hillside..

'The rest and be thankful, shall be no more, when the stones of the Cowal are trampled ower.'