Scottish Books Long Weekend


Inspired by World Environment Day, the UN initiative in June which aims to connect people with nature, our new Issue celebrates this special synthesis. Set sail on the high seas with Greenpeace, search for elusive summer snows, encounter tigers in the wild, explore nature in the Cairngorms, visit Jessie Kesson's rural Aberdeenshire, learn about the psychological benefits of woodland and discover the ecology of Scotland's varied environments.

In over 40 years as a senior captain for Greenpeace International, Peter Willcox has been in the vanguard of the international environmentalist movement. Having sailed over 300,000 miles in virtually every corner of the globe on yachts including Greenpeace’s iconic Rainbow Warrior, here we accompany Peter in Peru where he encounters singing humpback whales but also witnesses the brutal practice of whaling.

Extract from Greenpeace Captain: Bizarre Wanderings On The Rainbow Warrior By Peter Willcox with Ronald B. Weiss Published by Sandstone Press

I found myself in Peru, walking around a dead baby whale with a tape measure in my hand. A Japanese-owned whaling ship had caught the undersize southern Bryde’s whale illegally and towed it into the harbor at Paita for “processing.” A few years before, I had enjoyed an incredible experience on the Regina Maris that left a whale-size impression on me: an encounter with humpback whales at the Silver Bank breeding grounds sixty miles north of the Dominican Republic. Three-quarters of the world’s humpbacks gather together near Silver Bank to mate. During the season, thousands of them are concentrated in an area of about twenty square miles to breed and calve. Humpbacks are fascinating animals. If you’ve ever heard recordings of whales singing, it was probably humpbacks. At Silver Bank we could dive off the boat, snorkel around, and actually hear the singing of the humpback whales through the water. We would often drop a hydro-phone (an underwater microphone) over the side of the Regina Maris and sit around on deck listening to the symphonies that were being pe...


In the aftermath of World Environment Day, David Robinson reviews Christopher Nicholson’s quest to find the elusive snows of Scotland’s summer. Tracing Among The Summer Snows’ lineage back to Nan Shepherd and her pioneering account of the Cairngorms in The Living Mountain, Robinson finds Nicholson’s restrained, yet still highly personal, exploration of nature, beauty and mortality in the twenty-first century as epic as the few snowbeds – some as big as icebergs – that survive in the Highlands today.

It’s a long while since I read a book that made me laugh and cry within just a few pages, that made me exasperated at one obvious connection its author hadn’t made, then left me humbled as he revealed a range of other interconnected  wonders I never knew about. Yet novelist Christopher Nicholson’s new non-fiction book Among The Summer Snows – published by newish imprint September Publishing in just over a week’s time – is indee...



Jessie Kesson’s Crofting And Community click

Jessie Kesson’s Crofting And Community

‘The relationship between her man and the brute beasts he worked amongst becoming intimate.’


Writing Stories About Nature click

Writing Stories About Nature

Emily Dodd: ‘My stories come from a combination of inspiration from nature and things I’m learning.’


The UN’s Lone Ranger: Combating International Wildlife Crime click

The UN’s Lone Ranger: Combating International Wildlife Crime

‘There, on the opposite side of the track, was the tiger from which we had just had the fortunate escape.’


After The Storm click

After The Storm

‘In Japan, shinrin-yoku or ‘forest bathing’ is established as a standard, modern form of preventative medicine.’


Exploring Scottish Environments click

Exploring Scottish Environments

‘Scotland’s landscape has taken over three thousand million years to become what we see today.’


The Art Of A Shepherd’s Life click

The Art Of A Shepherd’s Life

‘To contemplate the shepherd is to reflect upon a person and a way of life left behind by progress or change.’