Considered by many to be the finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain, The Living Mountain is renowned as a swell piece of considered prose on the Cairngorms in Scotland. In this masterpiece of nature writing Nan Shepherd describes her journeys in a poetic and stunning style, and this edition is particularly exciting. It comes with an introduction from nature writer and Nan admirer, Robert MacFarlane, as well as Jeanette Winterson’s voice on the text.
Nan (Anna) Shepherd was a Scottish novelist and poet, an early Scottish Modernist writer, who wrote three standalone novels set in small, fictional, communities in North Scotland, as that is where she was from. Landscape and weather played a major role in her novels and were the focus of her poetry. The Living Mountain, albeit her most renowned works, was her one non-fiction book on hill walking, based on her experiences walking in the Cairngorms. As an enthusiastic gardener and hill-walker, she was well acquainted with the Cairngorms.
There she encounters a world of oxymorons, breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her poetic prose explores and records the landscape and the creatures, as well as the hidden aspects of this thoroughly explored landscape. Having spent a great deal of time in the Cairngorms, Shepherd ventured to write piece depicting essential nature in this stunning landscape; her classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains and on our imaginative relationship with the wild world around us is one that will always be cherished, and how better to do so than with this stunning hardback edition, containing the thoughts of The Old Ways writer, Robert MacFarlane and explorative author Jeanette Winterson.
Composed during the Second World War the manuscript of The Living Mountain lay untouched for more than thirty years before it was finally published, and thank goodness it was. This is the perfect book for any nature lover, hill walker, explorer, and more important now than ever, as we consider the climate change crisis and the impact we are having on the landscapes. It’s no bad thing to retreat to a book that celebrates the impact landscapes have on us. And with such remarkable prose as she offers, it is almost impossible to put down.
The Living Mountain is available now, published by Canongate Books.