Five on Friday with Brian Dingle

Today I’m delighted to introduce author Brian Dingle. Brian’s first book Two Hundred and Fifty Pounds – The Price of a Child is a heart felt memoir. His subsequent books have concentrated on his historical interests. His latest In the Footsteps of Longshanks: (The Places and People of Edward I) was published earlier this year.

Picture: Al Goold (

Brian was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and raised in rural North Northumberland close to the Scottish border. He trained as an electronics engineer and has also worked as a semi-professional landscape photographer for the last twenty years, travelling throughout Europe, Africa, and America.

He has written technical books on industrial automation as well as technical magazine articles. In the last three years, he has had his first history/photographic book on the Anglo-Scottish borders published, In the Footsteps of Reivers.

He is married to Teresa, and they have two grown up children, now based in Lanark, Scotland, he is still travelling and photographing historical sites.

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Walk Tall – Val Doonican.  My adoptive mother used to make me stand and listen to this song when I was small. I’ve net been in one of His majesty’s holiday camps but the idea of looking the world straight in the eye appeals to me.

Oh Boy! – Mud. As a child of the seventies Mud were my group, but I also like Buddy Holly so this song fits both, it is also the first single I ever bought.

The Power of Love – Jennifer Rush. This song is our song for my wife and I, still blissfully happy after 37years, and long may it continue.

Blaydon Races – Owen Brannigan. Anyone who knows me will know why this song, but for the uninitiated, I was born in Newcastle and have followed the team for over 50 years and this song means a lot to the supporters and the city

The Reivers – Scocha. Unknown to most but this is the song that started me writing, with some help from a dear friend and red wine. Whilst the ban is no more the song still means  a lot to me, especially as when I gave a talk on the Reivers in Hawick the sang the song before the talk.

What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

Coffee, I drink loads of it, probably more than is good for me.

My cameras, they go with me most places and I have taken loads of pictures over the years from wildlife to castles and landscapes to sports.

Music, I have eclectic tastes, everything from the 40s to modern but with a heavy bias to Scottish and Irish folk music, which I will inflict on anyone in close proximity.

Birds,  of the feathered variety for those who thought otherwise. I love watching them and have been as far as France, India, Kenya and Romania to watch them.

Books, It may seem obvious but I love to read with a passion for history. I will read biography, crime and can even pick up an encyclopaedia and read it, picking out gems of knowledge to keep.

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Don’t worry about the small stuff, it will work out.

Do your homework at school, something I never did for a number of reasons.

Bullies never achieve anything, just keep out of their way and ignore them.

If you do look back, don’t stare.

Reach for the sun, if you fail you can still reach the stars

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I’m the third oldest of 18 split into 3 groups. But grew up with none of them

A passionate Northumbrian I go back at every opportunity

I’m very competitive, any game of sport I will try and win. But I hate cheats.

I have a fear of heights and water, so I don’t swim

Did a parachute jump for charity many years ago, but fell out the plane when it was my turn to go. I seemed to have survived it.

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

As someone who loves nature and to travel I would love to go to the Galapagos Islands.

Write a crime novel either based in Northumberland or the Clyde Valley.

Retire and travel with my wife in our motorhome.

Would love the TV stories book I’ve just done to be turned into a TV program

Drive an Aston Martin on a race track

Many thanks for joining me today Brian. It’s been lovely to discover more about you. As I’m also a child of the seventies Mud were one of my favourites too – possibly for different reasons ( I had a ‘thing’ for the lead singer). I also share a love of Scottish and Irish folk music. A parachute jump when you’ve got a fear of heights seems a very determined thing to do. Hopefully, that same determination will see you achieve your dreams. Travelling around in your motorhome sounds a great idea.

Brian’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Two Hundred & Fifty Pounds : The Price of a Child

Every adopted child at some point in their life, no matter how good or bad their upbringing has been must wonder where they came from. Whether it is only peaked by the impending or actual birth of a first child and the inordinate amount of medical questions that have to be answered, that you haven’t the answer for. The book is the journey of finding out, the beginning with the adoptive parents, the questions and the searching for the answers and finding the family that got away. A search for who I am and what’s my driving force. It is about business and relationships with both adopted family and those of my natural family who I have met along the way and the response of them to me and vice versa. It goes through life journey and its highs and lows, the laughter and tears, and how to treat them all the same as things unfold in front of your eyes. To most people the story always ends happily ever after and a warm reunion with parents for the siblings separated at birth, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and it still has to be dealt with in the same way.

In the Footsteps of Reivers

Seldom has an area of the British Isles been such a battleground over such a lengthy period of time. From when, in 1296, Edward I invaded Scotland to the union of the crowns in 1603 with the ascension of James I, the borders were left a wasteland. Set against this background of war between England and Scotland, the borderers themselves tried to survive; by raiding or reiving from over the borders and from their neighbours. As the raiding grew it forged men and women where might was right and their word was their bond. The borderers knew they couldn’t rely on either the English or Scottish governments or crowns, so they looked after their own, with the families banding together, the names prevalent in the borders of Armstrong, Bell, Elliot, Scott, Home, Kerr, Maxwell, Charlton, and Milburn. The rise and end of the Border Reivers, their lifestyle, fortifications, abbeys and priories, the battles and the people and tales that took place during this time are what made the Reivers into the myths and legends in the borders. They added to the English language and gave some wonderful real life folk tales.

In the Footsteps of Longshanks : The Places and People of Edward I

Edward I ‘Longshanks’ was one of the most influential of the medieval kings. During his reign, he went on crusade to the Holy Land, suppressed the baron-led uprisings culminating in the defeat of Simon de Montford at the Battle of Evesham, and led military campaigns against the Welsh, the French, and the Scots.
Following his conquest of Wales, Edward I was determined to demonstrate his military strength and political authority and instigated a huge, no-expense-spared castle-building programme, led by Master James of St George; these are his legacy – some of the finest examples of late-thirteenth and early-fourteenth century military architecture in Europe.
Although Edward I never built stone castles in Scotland as he had done in Wales, he captured and garrisoned many of them to enforce his authority and gain control of Scotland.
In the Footsteps of Longshanks meticulously details Edward’s travels, the people who stood with him, those that fought against him, and gives a thorough account of the castles that were vital during his reign.

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