Our Wildlife Guides are often asked, “What do you do in the winter?” Two of our Guides, Zoë Stevenson and Lynsey Bland have been very busy working on an exciting and delightful project when they weren’t guiding with us during the summer months. They are about to launch a children’s book which is turning into a major success story.

Two years ago Zoë approached Lynsey with an idea of a story, sparked by a comment “that it looked like black guillemots (also known as tysties) were wearing wellies when they fly.”  Zoë imagined a colourful children’s book which would take a journey through the Hebrides, finding out what colour the “wellies” of the other bird species were.  Lynsey jumped at the chance to be involved. During lockdown, when unable to go to sea, she had developed a passion for drawing seabirds. The opportunity to illustrate a children’s book celebrating the seabirds of the Hebrides in such a fun way was irresistible.

Zoë and Lynsey worked together on the text and illustrations to bring the idea of the book to life.  The story follows Usha, a little girl on holiday in the Hebrides as she visits iconic landmarks, meeting different types of seabirds, with various colours of feet, while wearing her own coloured wellies of course.  Zoë put a lot of thought into which locations to include in the story. Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull had to have a mention because it’s where Zoë and Lynsey live, while other destinations include the Isle of Coll, Scalpay Lighthouse and the isle of Staffa, famous for Fingal’s Cave.  These are places which you may recognise from our cruises and you may also spot that a certain vessel looks very familiar! Once the text was complete, Lynsey characterised the story with her delightful illustrations

Zoë and Lynsey then launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of the book, amazingly reaching their funding goal in just 24 hours. The enthusiasm for the book was so strong the fund doubled before the end of the campaign, and the book was featured as a 'Project We Love' by KickStarter. This caught the attention of Edinburgh-based publisher, Birlinn, who decided to take on the publishing and releasing of the book which was a major boost.

The publication of What Colour Are Your Wellies? would not have been possible without the support of the local community on Mull where Zoë and Lynsey live.  They were delighted that so many of their friends and guests on board Hebrides Cruises loved the idea of the book and pledged to buy one or more copies.

Lynsey and Zoë hope that their book will inspire young children to look at what is around them and spark a passion for wildlife that will last their whole lives. “ What Colour Are Your Wellies?” will be officially published on 4 April 2024, available from local bookshops and online.