Turn of the Tide is centred on the counties of Ayrshire and Renfrew in South-west Scotland, though action also takes place at the court in both Stirling and Edinburgh and strays at one point down to the Solway coast.
A minor laird such as Munro would have lived in a simple fortified house, built more for defence than comfort. I modelled his house on Smailholm Tower – the best preserved tower house of the period, which happens to be a few miles from where I live. I was also privileged to be able to embroider a very similar tower house as part of the Borders Reiver panel in the Great Tapestry of Scotland project – the sandstone coloured tower on the right of the panel – but as you can see these weren’t very easy to live in!
The landscape of the lowlands of Scotland is made up of rolling hills and valleys, and while not dramatic like the Highlands, do include some very narrow and isolated valleys where reivers (lawless marauding bands who spent their winters rustling cattle and sheep, fighting with their neighbours and often burning down their homes and stealing their womenfolk) hid the spoils of their raids. The horse was absolutely vital in rural areas in the 16th century, without it folk would not have been able to travel far from their homes, as a result Munro’s horse is almost a character in her own right.