Tragic tale of glamorous Ballantrae heiress

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Glamorous heiress Elsie Mackay could have lived her life in the social whirl of high society, partying with princes and dancing with dukes.

Instead this wilful young woman was determined to pursue her dreams – eloping with a dashing soldier, starring on the silver screen, and designing the luxurious interiors of ocean liners.

But her greatest passion was for flying, still in its relative infancy in the 1920s, and her burning ambition was to become the first woman to not only fly the Atlantic but to cross those unforgiving waves by the most challenging route - east to west – against the prevailing winds. Not only were the odds stacked against her but she knew her father, the shipping tycoon Lord Inchcape of Ballantrae, would do everything in his considerable power to stop her. Galloway-based journalist and author Jayne Baldwin researched the almost forgotten story of the bold and beautiful woman who blazed a trail across high society and who loved the heady mix of speed and danger that marked the early days of aviation.

News of the attempt and the subsequent disappearance of the small plane along with Elsie and her co pilot Captain W G R Hinchliffe, not only devastated their families but also the community of Ballantrae. Her extraordinary story is told in the book West Over the Waves, The Final Flight of Elsie Mackay which has been revised and published in a new edition after being out of print for a number of years.

Jayne said: “I’m delighted that my first book is available again in a completely new edition featuring further research and new images. My book not only explores the extraordinary tale of this brave young woman but also explains just how challenging it was to try and fly the Atlantic in the 1920s, and why so many of these amazing pioneers were lost.”

West Over the Waves is published by 2QT Publishing and is available price £9.99 from bookshops, on line retailers or direct from the author.