Even though the Highlands of Scotland feel like our last wilderness, they have still been shaped by man. One man who has been fortunate to experience the wildlife and seasons at their most dramatic is John Lister-Kaye at his home and Highlands field centre, Aigas. He doesn’t really need to go looking for the natural world; it is just there. The long hours that he has spent there have permeated deeply into his soul, he knows the best seasons to see the deer, the place to the spot the pine martens, the fleeting visitors who come for the summers and who have headed south from the Arctic winters. In this book, Lister-Kaye talks us through the events that have taken place over a year, but rather than being written as a diary, it is a series of observations on some of his favourite wildlife and feathered friends, in particular, interwoven with musings over the changing climate where they live.
Like molten gold from a crucible, the first touch of sun spilled from the east
This is the first of Lister-Kaye’s books that I have ever read and I have been meaning to get to it for ages. He writes in a careful and considered way, drawing out the detail of the things he is seeing around him as they happen, and quite often what he writes is just quite beautiful. The field centre that he runs provides him with inspiration and a deep rooting in the natural world and is the font of his knowledge and understanding of what happens as the seasons roll around. He manages not to make it a polemical rant over the state of the climate, but you get a sense of his grave concerns over the future. Will definitely be reading more of his books, as I have just got his newest!