A beautiful memoir of what it means to live in the rugged, awe-inspiring Scotland Highlands.
Annie Worsley is a Professor of Environmental Change. A few years ago, she took the plunge and moved to the remote North West Highlands of Scotland. It is a land of unquenchable spirit and severe wildness. In the Highlands, life is ruled by the great elemental forces – light, wind and water hold sway over how landforms, where the sea sits, and what grows. It also dictates how its people live.
Annie returns to prehistory to tell the epic story of how Scotland's valleys were carved by glaciers, how rivers scythed paths through the mountains, how the earliest people found a way of life in the Highlands – and how she then found a home there millennia later.
This is a vibrant memoir that will illuminate the beauty and force of the wild Scottish Highlands; Worsley's paean to a beloved place, one richer with colour, sound and life than perhaps anywhere else in the UK.
Annie O’Garra Worsley is a writer and blogger living in North West Scotland on a small holding known as a croft. She is also a physical geographer with particular interests in spatial and temporal relationships between people and the natural world. Her doctoral research examined human impacts in the montane rainforests of New Guinea and her more recent work investigated the long-term environmental change in the peat bogs, hills and coasts of North West England and the spatial and temporal history of pollution in urban environments. After a career break raising her four children, she returned to full-time academic life in 1999 and was awarded a Personal Chair in Environmental Change in 2009 by Edge Hill University.
"Windswept is a wonderful work, prose-painted in bold, bright strokes like a Scottish Colourist's canvas. It is a story of learning to keep time differently, in one of the most spectacular landscapes in Britain. Annie Worsley has written a gorgeous almanac or year-book in which the minutes, hours and months are marked not by the tick of clock-hands but weather-fronts, bird migrations and plant-patterns of growth and decay"
– Robert Macfarlane, bestselling author of The Old Ways
"I have read pages and pages of this wonderful book, swept away by its beauty and understanding, its chromatic brilliance, flickering and surging into colour at every turn, moulded to its mountains and all the subtleties of its winds and skies. Honestly it is a great, great book"
– Adam Nicolson, author of Life Between the Tides
"Woven with the wisdom of both scientist and poet, Windswept is a beautiful account of life and landscape in one of the UK's most remote and dramatic enclaves. I was transported with every reading, left with gale-ruffled hair and a salty tang on my tongue"
– Lee Schofield author of Wild Fell
"A shaft of golden stormlight, a blast of pure Highland air, Windswept is an exhilarating account of life lived closer to the elements than most of us will ever have the chance to experience"
– Melissa Harrison, author of All Among the Barley
"'Wonderful. An incantation of sorts, an invitation for us all to look closely, to connect with place"
– Joanna Pocock, author of Surrender