What I’ve been reading this week, 13 December 2019

The return of the taghan, a better alternative to grouse moors, the future of mountaineering, and why you should read old books.


Harvest mice found thriving 15 years after reintroduction efforts – some good news.

‘Untold Suffering’ a disturbing report by OneKind and the League Against Cruel Sports Scotland (LACSS) as part of the REVIVE coalition – ‘That thousands of wild animals suffer in this way is a disgrace. Change is needed now.’

A Better Way: How an alternative to grouse moors could help tackle climate change, increase biodiversity and benefit Scotland’s people – this major report analyses the ‘devastating impact’ of grouse moors on carbon, wildlife, and on rural communities. It’s pretty grim reading, but there are alternatives.

The return of the taghan – a lovely piece by Polly Pullar about the pine marten.

Hen Harrier Death and Disappearances – RSPB Scotland Appeal for Info – where there’s smoke there’s fire.

The Climate Crisis and the Future of Mountaineering – A good piece from UKHillwalking. ‘Many traditional routes and ways of going to the high mountains will need a rethink.’

Long-distance hiking, nature, and the outdoors

Images of the Sierra Nevada – some great images by David Lintern here.

Wild Winter – an extract – an extract from the upcoming book by John Burns.

Birch Grove – a beautiful, quiet and powerful piece of writing about a birch grove in Assynt.

Cnoc an Chuillinn via the Northeast Spur – Stephen McAuliffe goes for a wander in MacGillycuddy’s Reeks.

Writing and editing

Without women the novel would die: discuss – this is an interesting discussion. I’d never heard the statistic that women buy 80% of all novels before, but I have noticed, anecdotally, that fewer men seem to be reading fiction these days. I know that I read more non-fiction than I used to, relatively speaking.

Read old books – I like this stance against chronocentrism. A few years ago, I went through a phase of almost exclusively reading books from the 19th century. Such an approach can be instructive, whimsical, and a little poignant. It can also rejuvenate old ideas that have slipped out of the popular discourse.

Book Review: Chronicle Worlds: Crime & Punishment – published by Samuel Peralta – I was surprised and pleased to find this today. Andrew Mazibrada (writing as Lucas Bale) and I edited and published the first edition of Crime & Punishment back in 2015, and later sold the rights to Samuel Peralta. I’m delighted that our sci-fi anthologies are back in print. The first editions were quite successful.


Why I Listen to Podcasts at 1x Speed – ‘We’re in danger, I think, of treating everything as if it’s some measure of our productivity.’

Readers can now support my writing by making a one-off donation via my tip jar. Your spare change helps keep me going on the trail!

By Alex Roddie

Award-winning outdoor and nature writer, editor, author, and photographer.

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