2022 Preview: Out of Doors

  14 Jan '22   |  Posted by: Birlinn

There has never been a keener appetite for writing about the great outdoors, and we have an exciting array of new nature and outdoor books and guides for 2022. Tour the stunning outer Hebrides, walk in the footsteps of Highland gamekeepers, and dive into Scotland’s wild waters all from the comfort of your home, and perhaps get some inspiration for adventures of your own.

  • Hindsight, Jenna Watt (August)
    In 2019, Jenna Watt took part in the stalking of a hind on the vast Highland estate of Corrour: part of an immersive attempt to understand the ideas that lie behind ‘rewilding’, and what it means emotionally and physically to participate in Scotland’s deer cull. Piece by piece and chapter by chapter she unravels the story of that one day spent hunting the hind, interlaced with her discovery that her ancestors were deer stalkers, game keepers and ghillies on a Highland estate, who once took part in now controversial land practices like muirburn, grouse shooting and species persecution. Hindsight explores the varied – and sometimes extreme – characters who make up the rewilding community in contemporary Scotland. It is a powerful meditation on ‘wildness’, the shifting baselines of ‘rewilding’ in a world beset by climate change and species extinction.
  • The Horizontal Oak: A Life in Nature, Polly Pullar (July)
    Nature has always been Polly Pullar’s mainstay, from her childhood years spent on the beautiful Ardnamurchan peninsula. An otherwise idyllic childhood was marred by tragic family events. It was her closeness to animals and nature which got her through the dark times that followed her father’s suicide and the increasingly tyrannical behaviour of her mother. Following the break-up of Polly’s marriage, she rebuilt her life as a single parent, earning a reputation as a wildlife expert and rehabilitator, as well as a journalist and photographer. This book is her own extraordinary story, in which she reflects on how the love of nature has shaped her life. This is the intensely moving and uplifting autobiography of one of Scotland’s best-known naturalists.
  • Hebridean Journey: The Magic of Scotland’s Outer Isles, Brigid Benson (July)
    The island chain of the Outer Hebrides lies at the very edge of Europe. This richly illustrated book is a fabulous invitation to discover the distinct character of each of the islands, covering Lewis and Harris, Berneray, Grimsay, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay, and the vibrant Gaelic culture of the islanders. Packed with outstanding experiences, fascinating insights, hidden gems and helpful information, Hebridean Journey creates the uplifting opportunity of meaningful travels and life affirming experiences in the unique magic of Scotland’s Atlantic islands.
  • Blue Scotland: The Complete Guide to Exploring Scotland’s Wild Waters, Mollie Hughes (September)
    Scotland is famed for its rugged coastlines, pristine beaches, endless rivers and deep lochs. From the Highlands to the Islands, from the east coast to the west coast, the whole country is an unreported mecca for wild water sports. Mollie Hughes has tried and tested numerous locations throughout the country and introduces 80 of them in this book. As well as practical details on all aspects of the locations, she also includes her own personal experiences and tips, enabling wild water sports enthusiasts of all levels of experience to make the most of the amazing opportunities Scotland offers. Mollie Hughes is a world record-breaking sports adventurer. In 2017 she broke the world record for becoming the youngest woman to climb both sides of Mount Everest and in 2020 became the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole.
  • Argonauts of the Scottish Isles: Sea-kayaking Adventures, Robin Lloyd-Jones (April)
    Robin Lloyd-Jones has been exploring the west coast and islands of Scotland in his sea kayak for more than forty years. In this book he recalls many a memorable expedition to wild and beautiful shores. Along the way, he explains a great deal about kayaking, about the wildlife and history of the areas he visits. More than that, however, he makes us feel that we are with him in his kayak. Through his vivid and beautifully crafted prose, we experience the terror of a force nine gale, the tranquillity of moonlit trips, and the lure of tiny bays and seal-meadows accessible only to a slim kayak. This is a reissue of the classic book of kayaking adventures from a Booker Prize nominee.
  • The Landscapes in Stone Series: The Geology and Landscapes of Scotland, Alan McKirdy (May)
    From the central belt, to the Scottish Borders to the Small isles, this trio of books completes Alan McKirdy’s series that takes the reader on a billion year journey through the turbulant geology of Scotland. Accessibly written and illustrated in full colour throughout with maps, diagrams and photographs, these books are the ultimate guide to the nation’s geological history.
  • The Moray Way: The Official Guide, Norman Thomson (June)
    The Moray Way consists of all or part of three previously existing paths: the Moray Coast Trail, the Speyside Way and the Dava Way. Together they cover a huge and varied range of landscapes. From Forres to Lossiemouth, Garmouth to Fochabers, this book is the perfect guide to all this beautiful and richly historical part of Scotland has to offer. This is the official guide to the 100-mile walking and cycling circuit around the boundaries of the county of Moray, featuring more than 100 colour photographs and detailed maps. Published to coincide with the Moray Walking Festival, 18-28 June 2022.
  • Salt Roads: How Fish Created A Culture, John Goodlad (September)
    This book tells the extraordinary story of Shetland’s most enduring export. It ranges from the wild waters of the North Atlantic and the remote ice filled fjords of west Greenland to the Basque country, from the fishing grounds of Iceland to the Jewish shtetls of Poland and from the mountains of Faroe to the flat coastline of the Netherlands. As well as following the historical thread and exploring how very different cultures were drawn together by the salt fish trade, John Goodlad meets those whose lives revolve around the industry. This is the fascinating story of how the salt fish industry shaped an island culture, and addresses today’s pressing themes of sustainability, climate change and food choices in communities who rely on fishing for their livelihoods.
  • Boatlines: Scottish Craft of Sea, Coast and Canal, Ian Stephen (October)
    For a country with almost 12,000 kilometres of coast, Scotland is a nation bound to the sea, and people are drawn to our harbours and boats whether they have a seafaring background or not. In this book, Ian Stephen celebrates many different types of boat which have made their mark in Scotland’s story, from ageless skin boats to the many generations of fishing craft and the contemporary revival of rowing for pleasure in skiffs. Stories go with boats, and the book also explores the communities and people who built them and whose lived depended on them.
  • The Coffin Roads: Journeys to the West, Ian Bradley (July)
    ‘Coffin roads’ along which bodies were carried for burial are a marked feature ofthe landscape of the Scottish Highlands and islands – many are now popular walking and cycling routes. This book journeys along eight coffin roads to discover and explore the distinctive traditions, beliefs and practices around dying, death and mourning in the communities which created and used them. The result is a fascinating snapshot into places and culture of the West Highlands and Hebrides.

New in paperback in 2022

  • Regeneration: The Rescue of a Wild Land, Andrew Painting (paperback, April)
    In 1995 the National Trust for Scotland acquired Mar Lodge Estate in the heart of the Cairngorms, which after centuries of abuse by human hands, was in need of radical measures to be restored. After 25 years of extremely hard work, the pinewoods, bogs, moors and mountains are returning to their former glory. Regeneration is the story of this success featuring both the people who are protecting the land and the myriad creatures which inspire them to do so. This is the paperback edition of the inspiring story of a Highland estate rescued from the catastrophic effects of decades of human interference.
  • A Sky Full of Kites: A Rewilding Story, Tom Bowser (paperback, September)
    Red kites were once Britain’s most common bird of prey. By the early 1900s they’d been wiped out in Scotland and England following centuries of ruthless persecution. When some reintroduced kites began roosting on their 1,400- acre farm at Argaty in Perthshire, Tom Bowser’s parents, Lynn and Niall, decided to turn their estate into a safe haven. A Sky Full of Kites is the story of the Argaty Red Kite project, and the reestablishing of these magnificent raptors to Scotland, as well as revealing Tom’s passion for nature and his desire to dedicate his family’s land to conservation. This is the paperback edition of the inspirational story of the reintroduction of one of Britain’s most majestic birds of prey.
  • A Scurry of Squirrels: Nurturing the Wild, Polly Pullar (paperback, September)
    Scotland’s favourite wildlife writer knows the red squirrel on a uniquely personal level having hand-reared numerous kits for return to the wild. Part history and natural history, as well as personal memoir, this is the uplifting tale of Polly’s life with wildlife which also documents an inspirational rewilding project on her small Perthshire farm that has brought dramatic results. Exploring many of the wildlife conflicts that face us, she highlights vital ways in which we can nurture the wild before it’s too late. An important and delightful book. This is the paperback edition of an intimate and affectionate portrait of one of the nation’s favourite animals.

More information about all these titles can be found in our Birlinn New Titles Catalogue.

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