Tag Archives: Scottish Field

Ongoing output

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With a big book deadline approaching on the horizon, I’ll be cutting down my freelancing in an attempt to focus the mind. But I still maintain a trickle of regular publications which you might be interested in.

As well as my Prospect columns (entries passim), I continue to conduct literary interviews and edit for Five Books, a fast-growing book recommendation site that I’ve contributed to on and off since its launch in 2009. We have around 300,000 readers a month, from both sides of the Atlantic. Last year I became a director of the company. I love this work – it’s consistently fascinating, and has come to form a very useful resource for autodidacts. Recent highlights include a discussion of forensic psychology with the criminal profiling expert Prof David Canter, a snappy chat with marketing guru Seth Godin about the best books on his industry – and how marketers deeply impact our way of thinking about and talking about the world around us, plus a vivifying discussion of the Booker International Prize shortlist with chair of the judging panel Bettany Hughes.  There’s more: have a browse of my interview feed here.

I also still write my monthly column on wildlife for the glossy lifestyle magazine Scottish Field. Recently I’ve covered subjects including the regeneration of oyster beds in east coast firths and west coast glens; the annual descent of gannets upon the Bass Rock, the largest colony in the world; the wacky racers dashing across the island in search of orcas in Shetland; and conservationists’ attempts to return golden eagles to the soaring updrafts of the Southern Uplands in the borderland between Scotland and England. These are not available online, so find the text of some of my latest articles after the fold. Continue reading

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Scottish Field: Wildlife through the seasons

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I continue to write a monthly wildlife column for the glossy lifestyle monthly Scottish Field. So far I’ve covered subjects as varied as seal pupping season, moths, starling murmurations and raven culls.

There was a liquid quality to the flock, its edges curving and irregular yet clearly defined. All the time smaller flights were being attracted into the larger body, or – when it stretched out thinly – breaking off as droplets, and swooping away only to return minute later. The collective took on its own personality, sweeping overhead in a breathy whisper then making a handbrake turn to swing out over the road, where it seemed to hang for a moment, pulsating.

They’re not available online, so find the text of some of the latest articles after the fold.

Continue reading

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Recently: Wellcome Collection and new columns

I’ve had my head down working on long term projects recently, but I was pleased to see my six-part series on the history of the National Health Service to mark its 70th anniversary go live over on the Wellcome Collection’s website; for it, I spoke to patients, NHS workers and historians about the service’s germination and evolution. The NHS is not perfect, but surveys repeatedly find that our health service is our biggest source of national pride, ahead of the BBC and the royal family.

(It’s a subject close to my heart. I’ve already written about my own experiences of disability, and of my extensive leg-lengthening treatments under the NHS for The Sunday Times Magazine – find that essay here.)

I was also pleased to begin writing two monthly columns; one for Prospect magazine, on ‘backcountry philosophy’ – that is, life lessons from the wilderness; and a regular wildlife slot for Scottish Field.

My first Prospect column will be out shortly, while my second Scottish Field outing is already on newsstands. So far I’ve covered the basking sharks of the Inner Hebrides and the seabird colonies of the Isle of May.

Every species takes up a place in the strata of life, a multi-storey settlement that rises vertically from the waves….the razorbills with their snubnosed beaks – gnomish and oddly proportioned, squat like penguins but with the delicate wings of terns…Then the sleek guillemots in their evening wear: silken black-brown heads set apart from starched-white breasts by their sweetheart necklines…

Columns on raven culls and mountain hares are coming soon.

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On the cover of Equestrian Year

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It’s been an exciting week, what with the launch of Thicker Than Water, and the first, great review in The Times, so it was an extra bonus to find myself on the cover of the Scottish magazine EQy (Equestrian Year), interviewing Game of Thrones actor Clive Russell on horseback on the beach at St Andrews.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing Olympian and cross-country course designer Ian Stark — from his hospital bed! — for the same issue. It’s on newstands until the new year, but I’ll post the text online after that.

Last year, I interviewed Zara Phillips for the same magazine at Blair Castle ahead of the European Championships.

 

UPDATE: full text follows after the break Continue reading

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EQy: Scotland’s new equestrian magazine

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I was very excited to have joined the launch team for EQy, the new luxury equestrian magazine from the same stable as the Scottish Field.

The first issue came out earlier this month. I have four features in the mag, including an in-depth interview with Olympian eventer Zara Phillips, who I met in a very snowy Blair Castle. I also interviewed the showjumper and coach David Harland; had a good nose around at the Solaris Sports Horses stud in Dunblane, home of the incredible Kambarbay, a perlino Akhal Teke; and scoped out the friendly rivalry between top young eventers Emily Ryder and Stephanie O’Neill.

EQy will be on newsstands for around 6 months; after that I’ll post versions of my articles online. If you would like to get your hands on a copy, you can order it here.

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