2021 Preview: Nature and the Outdoors

  15 Jan '21   |  Posted by: Birlinn

While we spent a great deal of 2020 staying at home, many of us also took the opportunity to connect more with nature and explore our local environment. We have a brilliant selection of nature and outdoor books coming in 2021 to take you on a sweeping journey from the peaks of the Cairngorms to England’s coastal waters.

  • Regeneration: The Rescue of a Wild Land, Andrew Painting (March)
    The story of the 25-­‐year rehabilitation of Mar Lodge Estate in the Cairngorms. The National Trust for Scotland purchased this vast tract of forest, moor, and mountain for the nation with the help of Scottish Natural Heritage and a private fund that stipulated that the traditions of field sports should be maintained. It’s been a tricky and fascinating journey keeping all the constituencies together. Andrew, who lives at Mar Lodge for 8 months of the year, writes of struggles and successes in each part of the ecosystem, from mosses, to salmon, to centuries-­‐old pine trees.
  • Fringed with Mud and Pearls: An English Island Odyssey, Ian Crofton (May)
    England’s islands seem somewhat prosaic when compared to the romance of the Cyclades or the Hebrides, but their names are nonetheless evocative: Canvey, Sheppey, Wight, Dogs, Mersea, Brownsea, Two Tree and
    Rat – it sounds like part of a nursery rhyme. Award-winning writer Ian Crofton uncovers the stories of their human and animal inhabitants. From Barbary slavers on Lundy to the Prince of Sealand, this is a fascinating and quirky journey round England’s islands.
  • The Deeside Way: Long Distance Guide, Peter Evans (May)
    The Deeside Way is a long-distance path running for 66km (41 miles) from Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe, to
    Ballater in Royal Deeside in the Cairngorms National Park. Mainly following the course of old Royal Deeside Railway
    line, it is suitable for cyclists as well as walkers. There is much to be seen along the Way of scenic beauty, historical
    interest and thriving wildlife. There are fascinating links to the Romans, to Queen Victoria and Balmoral and even to
    bodysnatchers! This new Guide covers all of these, with a wealth of practical information on preparation for the walk,
    accommodation, transport and much else.
  • A Sky Full of Kites: A Rewilding Story, Tom Bowser (June)
    Red kites were once Britain’s most common bird of prey. By the early 1900s they’d been wiped out in Britain following centuries of ruthless persecution. This book tells the story of the fall and rise of Britain’s red kites, told from the Argaty Red Kite Project in Perthshire. Tom Bowser explains how it all started and developed, and writes honestly of the emotional highs and lows, the frustrations and the rewards of his work in rewilding the family farm and turning it into a haven for nature.
  • Exploring the Fife Coastal Path, Hamish Brown (June)
    This is the ideal guide to the whole route, so rich in history and natural beauty. Designed to be used by walkers on the
    Path or visitors to any point along it, it introduces a wealth of castles, churches, harbours, monuments and red-roofed
    houses. Hamish Brown gives practical advice on all aspects of walking the Path, whether you are making a seven-day trip along its whole length or walking a short section on a Sunday afternoon.
  • The Highlands, Paul Murton (August)
    In this new book by the acclaimed ‘Grand Tours’ documentary maker, Paul Murton journeys the length and breadth of the spectacularly beautiful Scottish Highlands. In addition to bringing a fresh eye to popular destinations such as Glencoe, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and the Cairngorms, he also visits some remote and little-known locations hidden off the beaten track.
  • Native: Life in a Vanishing Landscape, Patrick Laurie (paperback, March)
    Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing last year, Native by Patrick Laurie is being released in paperback format this year. In this book, Patrick tells of the challenges of farming the traditional breed of Galloway cattle, the Riggit Galloway, the impact of the widespread decline of the curlew, and the transformation of much of Galloway into commercial forest. The links between people, cattle and wild birds become a central theme as Patrick begins to face the reality of life in a vanishing landscape.
  • The Unremembered Places, Patrick Baker (paperback, April)
    Another of our successful 2020 nature books, The Unremembered Places is being published in paperback this April. There are strange relics hidden across Scotland’s landscape: forgotten places that are touchstones to incredible stories
    and past lives which still resonate today. Yet why are so many of these ‘wild histories’ unnoticed and overlooked? And
    what can they tell us about our own modern identity? From the high mountain passes of an ancient droving route to a desolate moorland graveyard, from uninhabited post-industrial islands and Clearance villages to caves explored by early climbers and the mysterious strongholds of Christian missionaries, Patrick Baker makes a series of journeys on foot and by paddle.

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