Samuel Rutherford Crockett
Crockett’s first published novel, ‘The Raiders’ (1894) sparked the first literary/cultural tourism boom in Galloway, which quickly became known (and marketed) as ‘Crockett Country.’ More than thirty books set in the region followed. At a dinner given in Crockett’s honour in 1906, Sir Herbert Maxwell reflected upon the connection as follows: ‘he has interested tens of thousands from his desk—(loud applause)—and we are proud of that… All of you who think as I do with the Douglas of old, that ‘it is better to hear the lark sing than the mouse squeak,’ will be grateful to Mr Crockett for the light he has shown upon the inner meaning of our Galloway glens and hills, for the characters with which he has peopled our moorlands and our waysides. He has not taught us to love Galloway—to love the land of our birth. We learned that long before we heard of him. But he has shown us an inner meaning to its common things. He has thrown over all our landscapes a web and a glamour of romance, and it will be long before that will pass away. He has done in short, for Galloway —and it is a grand thing to say of any man— what Walter Scott did for Tweedside… we are grateful to him, not only for doing it, but for the manner in which he has done it. He has made use of the material at hand, and he has woven it into a structure which has delighted thousands of people who never had heard of Galloway before… Mr Crockett's heroes and heroines do not wear coronets; they do not roam about the country in motor cars; they chiefly belong, as far as my reading has carried me, to the middle and lower classes—the common people — and we may join with Sir Walter Scott in thanking God that nothing that is really worth hearing about or reading about can ever be uncommon.’
On the centenary of his death in 2014, Crockett was dubbed 'Scotland's forgotten bestseller' and the Galloway Raiders was formed. It is often said that Galloway is 'Scotland's best kept secret' and it is certainly true that Crockett remains Galloway's best kept secret. The Galloway Raiders exists to change that. We advocate for and promote the life and works of Galloway's best-selling author and reclaim his place as central in the literary history and cultural life of Galloway. Whatever literary tourism strategy is employed in Galloway, we believe Crockett should be central to it. He has so much to offer - as this site shows. If you wish more information about how Crockett can promote literary tourism in Galloway (and beyond) please contact us via email.
When in doubt, always shut your head and… observe! Take my word for it, you are not wasting your time. They say in our country ‘Keep a thing seven years and you will find a use for it.’ But I say, ‘Remember a thing… exactly, mind you… thirty or forty years and you will find a place expressly hollowed out for it, where it will grow and branch out and seed like a potted plant.