Written on the eve of the Second World War, this memoir tells the remarkable story of how 21-year-old Thomas Firbank decided on impulse to purchase a 2,400-acre hill farm in the rugged, inhospitable mountains of Snowdonia, and how he and his wife struggled to build it back into prosperity.
The book became an international bestseller, selling over half-a-million copies worldwide and pioneered the genre of 'good life' rural escape literature. This new edition is introduced with a foreword by the award-winning nature writer, Patrick Barkham, and includes an afterword by contemporary Welsh sheep farmer, Dafydd Morris-Jones.
I Bought a Mountain is a thrilling human tale of tragedy and triumph, as well as a portrait of a lost era when farming was a communal endeavour, offering precious insights into conservation and sustainability relevant for today.
Includes a foreword by Patrick Barkham and an essay by Welsh hill farmer, Dafydd Morris-Jones.
Thomas Firbank (1910-2000) was a Canadian/Welsh author, farmer, soldier and engineer. He enlisted during the Second World War and was awarded a Military Cross. After his marriage to Esmé Cummins ended, he gave her the Dyffryn farm. He only returned to Snowdonia in 1993 after a spell living in the Far East, and died in Llanrwst, North Wales.
""There's nothing so fine as courage," Thomas Firbank writes in I Bought a Mountain and that is the motto of the book: challenge after challenge faced, suffered and, in part anyway, relished for its stimulus. One of the great no-holds-barred life-adventures in the wilds of the British landscape. Every page is alive with the presence of the Welsh mountains and and their people, every chapter with the insistent, often beautiful, often savage realities of the natural world."
– Adam Nicolson
"One of the most compelling and successful 20th-century versions of the urge to escape to the country [...] deeply inspiring [...] highly pertinent."
– Patrick Barkham
"Extraordinarily relevant [...] this book could have been written in 2022, with Firbank talking angrily of a country that needed to improve its self-sufficiency [...] Above all, however, he describes so movingly the privilege of farming this miraculous landscape."
– Kate Green, Country LIfe
"A delightful book, full of vivid experiences."
"Vitally convincing and exhilarating."