I, David R. Ross, was born at 42 Merryton Avenue in Giffnock, Renfrewshire, on the southern environs of Glasgow, on the 28 th of February 1958. Incidentally, the “R” is for Robertson, which was my mother's maiden name. I moved to East Kilbride at the age of 5, where I still reside. I attended school in East Kilbride, Halfmerk Primary, then on to East Kilbride High School, which I left in 1974 with 6 “O” grades to my name. That about sums up my academic career!

At school I was taught history very much from a “British” perspective- in fact, almost a wholly English perspective when I really think about it. I recall having to study the Norman Conquest of England- 1066 and all that. The Magna Carta and the English Wars of the Roses were other topics I had drummed into me, but cannot recall learning much about Scotland and its history.

At the age of 14 or 15, I “discovered” the novels of Nigel Tranter, reading first the “Bruce Trilogy” then “The Wallace”. These books were like a door opening to me. They were about “my” history, “my” people, and were set in places that, even at that tender age, I knew passing well, so they really meant something.

These led on to me devouring everything I could find in print that spoke about the colourful, proud, sometimes tragic history of Scotland.

At the age of 17 I purchased my first motorcycle and started to visit all the places I had been reading about, where the great deeds that shaped my nation had occurred. I had several jobs, some geared round the music industry. I fancied myself as a half decent guitar player (still play at author events) but all my spare time was spent acquiring knowledge of Scotland, its history, geography, just enjoying the scenery of this little scrap of mountain and moorland on the edge of Europe.

It never really occurred to me that I had absorbed a wealth of knowledge, and when friends said I should write some of it down, I just did not think people would be interested.

The crunch came when I was at a lecture in Glasgow, and an acquaintance that was speaking, Dr. Elspeth King, mentioned that she thought it would be a good thing if someone was to write a book listing many of the Wallace related sites in Scotland. I was sitting in the audience thinking, “ I could do that!” And so, starting the next day I sat and wrote from memory, the story of Wallace's life, but interspersed it with modern directions to find the spots where his deeds took place.

I took it to Luath Press of Edinburgh, who published it, titling it “On the Trail of William Wallace.” It was well received. And on its week of release it entered the top ten best sellers list in Scotland.

People liked the pictures, maps, and drawings of Wallace sites, a history book written in a modern context. What I had really done was, I had put together the book on Wallace that I always wanted to read myself! I was not trying to blind anyone with detail, or go into really heavy academic depth. I had written a history book for everyday Scots and others wishing, not only to discover the story of Wallace, but to visit the spots associated with his life.

We may live in a technological age, but the landscape of Scotland is as it was, the shapes of the hills, and the glens and straths of our rivers, very much as they were to Wallace in his day. I followed this book up with “On the Trail of Robert the Bruce.” -a similarly laid out work, charting the life of the Hero-King. This was soon followed by my third book, “On the Trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie.” Telling of the route, and the many surviving properties, that the rightful Heir of Scotland came to know during the fateful uprising in 1745-46.

Next came “A Passion for Scotland”, telling of some of my favourite Scottish stories of insurrection, and it charted the burial places of all the rulers of Scotland.

My fifth book was my most major work to date. “Desire Lines” is a journey round Scotland, written for Scots and tourists alike, which takes the reader to some of the lesser known places of history and intrigue that dot our landscape.

Receiving letters from many folk telling me that they have used my books to absorb the landscape, and thereby it has been an enriching process, is a delight to me. I take such pleasure from my little country; it is nice to know I have opened doors for others. And I have never met anyone who has learned the history of Scotland without beginning to care where she is going.

And I do care where she is going!

August 2005 saw the 700 th anniversary of Wallace's capture near Glasgow, whereupon he was taken south to London to his shameful trial and hideous execution. I decided to repeat that last journey, and walked the 450 miles or so that the Hero of Scotland was forced to take, the journey culminating in a funeral service for the man, held in the church in London that was the last thing that he saw. This was recorded by a television company from Aberdeen, Scotland, by the name of TVP, and released as a DVD, under the name “Walk for Wallace”. It has sold well in both Europe and North America.

My sixth book was about the last month of Wallace's life, coupled with my, and others experiences during the 700 th anniversary commemorations. It is entitled “For Freedom!”

I hope I have managed to weld interest in the various subject matters of my books, but kept an academic integrity, being careful to point out where fact differs from legend, and hope that folk who already know something of the subject will find snippets of information previously unknown to them.

Other than the above, I have made many programmes for television, both at home and abroad, have written many articles for the press, and contributed to magazines where the story has a peculiarly Scottish subject matter. I appear at many events both at home and abroad, Highland Games and Scottish festivals in North America for example, but do much in the way of appearances in libraries, history societies, church groups and the like in Scotland.

I am current convenor of the Society of William Wallace, an elect able position. The Society does all it can to promote the ideals of Wallace, and holds several events every year, coinciding with the great events of Wallace's life.

In my personal life, I am divorced, and have been responsible for raising my daughter Kimberley, who was born in 1987. I am lucky that she has been able to visit several countries with me on my travels, and has put up with my Scottish foibles. Hopefully she has learnt a lot about her native country and its people as part of the process.


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