Scotland’s finest nature writer, Jim Crumley, shares the places where he finds beauty and inspiration
There was a writer and geologist called Marion Campbell and she wrote one of the greatest books about Scotland called Argyll The Enduring Heartland. I think it is as beautiful a book as anyone ever wrote about Scotland. I visited her a few times after getting to know her thanks to the help she had given me with a book I was writing with Colin Baxter on Glen Coe. She lived at Kilberry Castle on the Knapdale Shore where her family had been 400 years. There was something about her and that little area that for me summed up what Scotland is all about.
Glen Finglas in the eastern corner of the Trossachs, with Loch Venachar, Ben Ledi and Loch Lubanaig, is where I see as my nature writing territory. I do a lot of field work there, there is a lot of merit to a nature writer in getting to know a landscape very well and this is mine. I was very lucky to have BBC Radio 2 send me to Alaska for a programme and a lot of what I learned from Glen Finglas was applicable there.
My quartet of Seasons books stemmed from an epiphany. It was autumn, and as I drove around a corner by Loch Garry, I saw a group of aspen trees backlit by the sun bouncing off the loch. Roy Orbison sang through the radio, “Golden days before the end whisper secrets to the wind” and I nearly drove right off the road. I stopped as soon as I could, took out my notebook and wrote, “Golden Days before the end, a book about nature.”
This is an excerpt from The Scots Magazine July 2020 issue (CLICK HERE)