“October is the coloured month,” Nan Shepherd wrote in The Living Mountain her now-celebrated account of her relationship with the Cairngorm range of Scotland. Here, where I live on the Spey side of those mountains, it is radiantly true. Somehow this transitional time gathers the full spectrum of colours, shades and tones and spills them […]
The ospreys have gone. I went away for a week and when I got back, the strath had slipped into autumn and the eyrie above Loch Insh was empty.
I’d always heard about the forgotten glen round the back of Newtonmore, in the south-east corner of the Cairngorms National Park. There are ruins there and old, old stories. Someone said you could see eagles, and one of the Wildcat Trails goes that way. A long time ago, everyone went that way. The locals pronounce […]
One of my great hopes for this year as Writer in Residence at the Cairngorms National Park was to dedicate more time to my poetry. What time? What poetry? Maybe I was the only person surprised to discover that the role (and writing about it in this blog and other publications) has kept me so […]
Of all the bird books and field guides lying around my house, the one that is most precious is not an heirloom, or expensive, or even the most comprehensive. It’s the one that was given to me by my friend, the wildlife guide and passionate birder, Mark Denman. The book is dotted with his notes […]
“I don’t believe it!” Duncan cries, peering through his binoculars (or ‘bins’, as he calls them. I’m learning the lingo.) “Is that them?” Who? What? Where? We’re parked in my car in a layby several miles up Glen Feshie and I can only see a snowy expanse on the opposite bank of the river, broken […]