Born on May 2, 1932 in Campbeltown, on the Mull of Kintyre, Argyll, Scotland, Ian Moore-Morrans of Vernon arrived in Canada in November of 1965, in Ontario. He is self-described as a Scottish Highlander, through and through. He apprenticed in Scotland as a blacksmith (ferrier); worked as an aircraft engine mechanic and bandsman with Royal Air Force (5 years); as a machinist in Scotland and Canada (over 50 years). He retired since 1997. (Arrival in BC: First time, 1979-1984; second time: 1989-1990; third time: 2007)

Ian Moore-Morrans took up writing at age 63. With the assistance of his wife and editor, Gayle Moore-Morrans, he wrote his novel Beyond the Phantom Battle following a visit to Scotland in 1999. There he read an article in the August 1999 issue of The Scots Magazine entitled "Mystery at Loch Ashie"; quoting witnesses who claimed to have seen a "phantom battle" take place on the shores of that loch (lake) during the month of May in previous years. In his resultant novel of adventure, fantasy and romance, set in the Scottish Highlands, twin brothers from present-day Edinburgh hope to witness a "phantom battle"; purported to take place annually at northern Loch Ashie. They are engulfed in this battle between ancient Highlanders and Vikings which transports them back to the 12th Century. In their encounters with the local inhabitants they experience hostility, friendship, romance, death sentences and a supernatural reprieve. Finally a wizard-like being, "Ancient One,"; or "Aeoh"; as the brothers call him, attempts to help them return to the 21st Century.

"According to publicity materials: "Raised by a single mother on welfare during the 1930s Depression and World War II in the Scottish Highlands, Ian spends his childhood trying to get enough to eat and stay warm. During an adolescence apprenticed to a drunken blacksmith, he also begins a lifelong love affair with music-making while wavering between the strictures of the Salvation Army and the "worldly pleasures"; of the outside world.

"Life begins to improve when Ian enters the Royal Air Force, serving five years as an aircraft engine mechanic and bandsman in the United Kingdom and then Egypt. In the latter, he experiences the consequences of the Arab "walkouts"; that eventually led to the Suez Canal crisis. Most hilarious is his tale "Jig-a-Jig in the Desert"; when the small military water treatment plant he supervises is invaded by Arab prostitutes. Returning to Britain, he marries his pen-pal, Mary, completes his military career and enters into civilian life, finally settling on his lifetime career as a machinist. Two daughters are born, one of whose life is saved at birth by a bottle of Scotch whisky. Despite getting established in Scotland, Ian gets "itchy feet"; and thinks of emigrating. Misled by the inflated promises of an unscrupulous Government of Ontario official to choose Canada over Australia, Ian, Mary and the girls endure a winter sailing over the Atlantic in 1965, including a collision in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

"Ian and Mary struggle to adjust and to learn and speak "Canadian."; Their daughters, however, are sounding like Canadian children within a few weeks! Misadventures in finding and keeping jobs and a suitable place to live in Canada lead Ian to conclude that he has only moved "from poverty to poverty."; Will he be able to survive and eventually thrive in this new land?"


"Metal Machining Made Easy" published by Writer's Exchange E-publishing, 2002

"Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie" published by Xlibris, 2010

From Poverty to Poverty: A Scotsman Encounters Canada (Friesens 2012). Memoir.

[BCBW 2012]