A Croft in the Hills (see also A Life in the Hills)
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Biography & memoir
About the Book
A Croft in the Hills, first published in 1960, is now acknowledged as a classic among Highland books. It captures, in simple, moving descriptions, what it was really like trying to make a living out of a hill croft near Loch Ness fifty years ago. A couple and their young daughter, fresh from city life, immerse themselves in the practicalities of looking after sheep, cattle and hens, mending fences, baking bread and surviving the worst that Scottish winters can throw at them.
Their neighbours are few, but among them they find the generosity and community spirit that has survived in the Highlands for generations. Working as a tight family unit, they learn to cope, and in time grow to love their little croft. As Neil Gunn writes in his Foreword, their lives gain extra dimensions that ‘give the book its unusual quality, its brightness and its wisdom’.
Katharine Stewart was born in 1914 in Reading. Following the Second World War and after a spell running a hotel in Edinburgh she moved with her husband, Sam Stewart, and daughter Hilda, to the croft at Abriachan near Loch Ness, where she began her writing career with A Croft in the Hills. Later she trained as a teacher before, on the death of her husband, becoming the local postmistress at Abriachan. She died in 2013 and is survived by her daughter, Hilda.