Scottish hill walker, novelist and poet Nan Shepherd


Scottish hill walker, novelist and poet Nan Shepherd (1893-1981) believed that we walk not ‘up’ mountains, but ‘into’ them.
“On the mountain,” she wrote, “I am beyond desire. It is not ecstasy… I am not out of myself, but in myself. I am. That is the final grace accorded from the mountain.”
She also believed that we’d be better to abandon the notion of the summit as the goal, and to instead focus on what she called the “total mountain” — the hope just to be in its company, to sleep high, wander, explore, pry into its hidden corners, to, as she put it, become “a peerer into nooks and crannies.”
Nan taught English literature at Aberdeen College of Education and lived in the same house in Cults for 87 years. In the 1940s Nan wrote the nonfiction book “The Living Mountain” — an 80-page ode to Scotland’s Cairngorms — though it wasn’t published until 1977. It really is a beautiful book, with wonderful observations like, “Light in Scotland has a quality I have not met elsewhere. It is luminous without being fierce, penetrating to immense with an effortless intensity.”
Nan is finally being recognized for her writing. Since 2016 she’s been the face of the Royal Bank of Scotland £5 note.


words of Annie Dillard

“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you.”
Annie Dillard1485975_469485789854363_336290986157046271_o

facing the unknown

Our lives depend upon our oceans, forests, the cycles and rhythms that have truly been governing us throughout the ages. Ecosystems are complex, they require precision and they are fragile. More than ever they rely on our cooperation and stewardship. We should all be outraged at the latest decision by the White House to drop out from the Paris Agreement. What can be said of the arrogance and selfishness – the choice to ignore signs and science.
The choice to wreck the planet is a failure of reverence for all lives this moment and for future generations. Ignoring climate change is a human rights violation. What can we do as individuals and communities. Im not going to ask earth to forgive us for disrupting its integrity, for the crisis which includes species extinction, melting ice caps and rising sea levels. Im going to ask that WE WAKE UP…to the magnificence that fastens us as a whole…to remember we are not separate