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Anne-Mary Paterson

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I think I caught the writing bug from my aunt who used to write for the women's page in the Bulletin - a long gone Glasgow daily. I went to school in Glasgow but spent a lot of my holidays with my aunt in Beauly where I now live. We used to write things together. I suppose my efforts were rather childish as none seem to survive.


After a few twist and turns I ended up working for the Nature Conservancy, first in Edinburgh and then in Kent. One of my jobs was writing and editing leaflets, preparing exhibits and giving talks. This seemed to satisfy my writing urges.


However when I changed career into the property business, the urge to write came upon me again. The problem was that my main interests were Scottish based - in particular the Highland Railway. Being in Kent I was far away from sources.


It was only when my husband and I moved back to Beauly that I was able to start on the job of writing a biography of my great granduncles, William and Murdoch Paterson. These Victorian gentlemen were involved in the design and construction of most of the railways radiating from Inverness. Murdoch became chief engineer of the Highland Railway. He was responsible for the design of the direct line from Aviemore to Inverness and Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh, now a Great Railway Journey of the World.


It is very exciting to see one's first book Pioneers of the Highland Tracks in print. This happened in 2010 appropriately at a railway station. My next book Spanning the Gaps published in 2017, was about the Highland Railway bridges and viaducts - not just statistics but stories surrounding the structures.


I write articles for magazines such as The Scots Magazine and The Scottish Field.

My next new book, Lairds in Waiting is about Highland Lairds' private stations and waiting rooms. I include a short history of the family but more importantly I explore how the arrival of the railway benefited their estates and the people living there. There is what used to be the private waiting room for Lord Lovat at my local station, Beauly.

(All Anne-Mary's books are published by the Highland Railway Society.)

Anne-Mary Paterson's website is at

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