Patrick Laurie at Wigtown Book Festival
Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month for March 2021
Shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing 2020
Desperate to connect with his native Galloway, Patrick Laurie plunges into work on his family farm in the hills of southwest Scotland. Investing in the oldest and most traditional breeds of Galloway cattle, the Riggit Galloway, he begins to discover how cows once shaped people, places and nature in this remote and half-hidden place. As the cattle begin to dictate the pattern of his life, Patrick stumbles upon the passing of an ancient rural heritage. The people and the cattle have gone, and this withdrawal has shattered many centuries of tradition and custom. Much has been lost, and the new forests have driven the catastrophic decline of the much-loved curlew, a bird which features strongly in Galloway’s consciousness. 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.
Patrick Laurie is a freelance journalist. His blog Working for Grouse is visited by over 30,000 visitors each year. As well as writing and farming, he works for Soil Association Scotland on a programme which supports conservation projects on farmland. His first book, The Black Grouse (Merlin Unwin, 2012), was the first natural history book on this rare and declining species.