The northern parish of Assynt boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain. The mountains of Quinag and Suilven dominate a very varied landscape with wild, white hills inland and a complex, intricate moorland to the west. Here, rocky crags, boggy flows, innumerable lochs and burns, stretch to a coast of equal variety with long fjords, high cliffs and sandy beaches. Close to many of the crofting townships are dense areas of native woodland.
In Under the Radiant Hill, Robin Noble, who has been intimately involved with this corner of the north-west Highlands of Scotland his whole life, celebrates its rugged beauty and shares many intimate encounters with the resident wildlife – including, golden eagles, otters, badgers and pine martens – which surrounded his cottage in its wooded glen under the 'long mountain' of Quinag.
Assynt is also well known for its important role in the history of community land ownership, and Robin describes too his deep involvement with those who live there. He learned much from the old generation of shepherds and crofters whom he got to know in the 1960s, as well as from their children and incomers in later decades, and shared with them the challenges of living in a remote, fragile community.
Robin Noble is an environmental writer and teacher who has spent most of his working life in the Highlands and Islands, especially in Assynt, where he was Chairman of the Assynt Community Council for 10 years. His book Castles in the Mist: The Victorian Transformation of the Highlands (Saraband: 2016) was shortlisted for the Saltire Society History Book of the Year Award.