Ever since her pet sheep Lulu accompanied her to school at the age of seven, animals and nature have been at the heart of Polly Pullar's world. Growing up in a remote corner of the Scottish West Highlands, she roamed freely through the spectacular countryside and met her first otters, seals, eagles and wildcats.
But an otherwise idyllic childhood was marred by family secrets which ultimately turned to tragedy. Following the suicide of her alcoholic father and the deterioration of her relationship with her mother, as well as the break-up of her own marriage, Polly rebuilt her life, earning a reputation as a wildlife expert and rehabilitator, journalist and photographer.
This is her extraordinary, inspirational story. Written with compassion, humour and optimism, Polly reflects on how her love of the natural world has helped her find the strength to forgive and understand her parents, and to find an equilibrium.
Polly Pullar is a field naturalist, writer, photographer and wildlife rehabilitator who grew up in Ardnamurchan. She contributes to a wide selection of publications and has written numerous books including the acclaimed A Drop in the Ocean: Lawrence MacEwen and the Isle of Muck. She is co-author of Fauna Scotica: Animals and People in Scotland.
"Peppered with humour, empathy and kindness"
– Sunday Post
"Polly Pullar's The Horizontal Oak takes the reader on an unforgettable journey proving that no matter what life throws at us there is the solace of a kestrel, the friendship of an oak – a way to turn to the healing and redemptive powers of the natural world through the most difficult of times. Witty and wise The Horizontal Oak is full of stories, secrets and solace"
– Jackie Kay
"A remarkable, candid and fearlessly honest memoir, from the hugely talented Polly Pullar, peppered throughout with captivating details of nature in the wilds of Scotland"
– Sue Lawrence
"In The Horizontal Oak Polly Pullar skilfully and generously invites us into a life defined by a passion for wildlife and wild places, a life shaped by the addictions and loss of loved ones, a life full of compassion for the complexities of what it means to be human. The characters in this book are magnificent in all their flawed and colourful humanity. This deeply personal memoir is a treasure of insight, empathy and vulnerability, and the glorious people, animals and places within its pages will stay with you for a long time"
– Leonie Charlton