In The Cairngorms (hardback edition)
First published in 1934, In The Cairngorms is Nan Shepherd’s only book of poems. Although she wrote three acclaimed novels, and a remarkable prose meditation on the Cairngorms entitled
The Living Mountain, Shepherd considered her poetry to have been her finest work.
These poems were all written over a very long period. Each is possessed of a fierce intensity; together, they offer glimpses into what she once called “the burning heart of life”. Shepherd’s lifelong acquaintance with the Scottish mountains was a spiritual as well as a geographical exploration: in the Cairngorms she discovered both elemental beauty and profound metaphysical mystery. Her huge gifts as a poet were to convey these discoveries in language that remains both strange and thrilling to the modern reader.
As Robert Macfarlane observes in his foreword, Shepherd was someone who lived “all the way through”, and who relished “the feel, sight, scent and sounds of the world.” The phrase engraved
on her memorial stone in Edinburgh catches the joy and generosity with which she approached existence: “It’s a grand thing to get leave to live”.
This new edition of In the Cairngorms contains twelve poems recently discovered during the research for Charlotte Peacock’s Nan Shepherd biography, Into the Mountain, all of which will delight Nan’s ever-increasing readership.