4.5 out of 5 stars

Some people describe themselves as summer people, loving the heat and balmy days. Others prefer the spring with its new life and vitality. Autumn brings migration and a change in greens to browns and yellows and then there is Winter. It is the time of year that the countryside reveals its structure though, vegetation dies back and the skeletal outlines of trees are visible through the mist.

I like all the seasons, but winter I can love a loathe with equal measure. It used to be a mix of storms and bright, cold crisp days, but now seems to be endless grey and rain as the storms sweep in off the Atlantic to batter the south coast where I live. In Scotland, where Jim Crumley lives, it is much colder than here in Dorset. Even though he lives in a countryside that is deep in stasis, he knows the places to visit to see those eking out an existence at this time of the year.

In this book he takes us with him as he walks the in the hills, seeing eagles soaring high above the escarpments, watching deer as they graze the precious little nutrients left on the hills and seeking out the snow buntings. One philosophy that he wants to teach is that of sitting and waiting in a place and letting the wildlife come to you. Most of the time he sits and he waits and nothing much happens, but there are times when he has encounters with animals that are not expecting a human to be there that make the waits well worth it.

Crumley has a way with words and this is another beautifully written book about his local patch. But there is another element to this, he is passionate about the environment and all the way through the book you sense just how furious he is about the way that the climate change is affecting the landscape that he loves so much. This is a worthy sequel to his book on Autumn, and I have a copy of his book on Spring that I am really looking forward to now.

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