The Great Wood
This exploration of the ancient native forest of the Highlands, the so-called Great Wood of Caledon, finds the author in poetic mood as he blends historical research with a persuasive argument for its resurrection into a national forest. His soliloquy by the Fortingall Yew has really got people talking about trees. (Birlinn, 2011)
The Last Wolf
A passionate polemic that makes the case for reintroducing the wolf to Scotland while thoughtfully unpicking the tradition of “last wolf” stories that poisoned the folk mind towards wolves for centuries. The much-quoted story of Scotland’s last wolf on the Findhorn in 1743 is revealed as a lie. An unashamedly pro-wolf book that has already converted many to its cause. (Birlinn, 2009)
The Winter Whale
The Famous Tay Whale may have been immortalised in a McGonagall poem yet the story of its brief but astonishing stay in the Tay estuary in 1883 and its desperately protracted death has never been written down until now. Jim Crumley employs elements of fiction to enliven the facts and reveals his own lifelong connection to the creature. (Birlinn, 2008)
A modern classic of nature writing considers wildness from the point of view of vivid personal encounters in the heart of the author’s own writing territory, informed and embellished with echoes of Alaska and Thoreau’s Walden. Its conclusion charts a path for Scotland towards a wilder future.
Jim Crumley’s second novel is a book from the heart. It is based on the life of his own grandfather who was a professional footballer in Dundee in the early years of the 20th century. He was a cup final hero but his later life was haunted by a dark secret, by the horrors of the First World War, and by blindness.
The Mountain of Light
A unique novel blending folk-tale, myth, love story, and hymn of praise to the natural world. Just who are those mysterious poet-guardians of nature who wander the northlands of the world in the guise of swans, telling stories and reciting poems? Set between old Stirling and Ben Ledi.
Something Out There
The first of two explorations of Jim Crumley’s own writing territory in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park reveals how a deepening bond with nature helped him through the most difficult time in his life, and with digressions to Alaska and Mull. Includes the “unforgettable” essay about the Northern Lights, Aurora. (Whittles 2002)
A High and Lonely Place
The book that associated Jim Crumley’s name indelibly in the minds of all those who revere the wildlife and landscapes of the Cairngorms from river valley to high plateau. First published by Jonathan Cape in 1990 and republished ten years later in a revised edition.
The Company of Swans
Still the best loved of all Jim Crumley’s books, and alas, out of print. It began life as a project for BBC Radio 4’s The Natural History Programme, an intimate study of the remarkable lifestyle of a pair of wild mute swans in Highland Perthshire. In book form it was distinguished by the beautiful and powerfully wrought wood engravings of Harry Brockway. (Harvill, 1997)
Gulfs of Blue Air
The Highland Journey is a Scottish literary tradition with a centuries-long pedigree. Jim Crumley’s take on the subject travels from Sheriffmuir to Suilven via Rannoch Moor, the Mull of Kintyre, Skye, and a runny-egg roll at the station tearoom in Crianlarich.
A very personal take on Scotland’s mountain landscape, and a book unlike any other in the vast literature of Scottish mountaineering. It was short-listed for the Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature and the Bamff International Mountain Book Festival Prize in Canada.
Waters of the Wild Swan
A naturalist’s eye, a poetic sensibility, and the writer’s well-known fascination for his subject were brought to bear on this insight into the often surprising world of wild swans all across Scotland from Edinburgh to the islands and from Glencoe to the Black Isle.