The series Notes and Quotes highlights interesting people, writings, places and quotes while reading books I like. This is a way to store this information in my external memory, because my human memory often fails. Most of the topics are mapped on Discover British Isles.

Landmarks (2015) is Robert Macfarlane’s book on writers and readings that shaped his course of life and inspired him to become a writer. In the book you can also browse through an abundant series of words on nature, landscape, geology,… – some locally/regionally used, a lot mostly forgotten – all thematically and neatly organised in a dozen glossaries.

Chapter 1 – The Word-Hoard – 1-14

Chapter 2 – A Counter-Desecration Phrasebook – 15-35
Isle of Lewis – 15-35
Finlay MacLeod – 16

16 – “It is true that, seen for the first time, and especially when seen from altitude, the moor of Lewis resembles a terra nullis, a nothing-place, distinguished only by its self-similarity. Peat, moor and more more. It is vast, flat, repetitive in form, and its colours are motley and subtle. This is a region whose breadth seems either to return the eye’s enquiries unanswered, or to swallow all attempts at interpretation.”

Glossary I – Flatlands

Chapter 3 – The Living Mountain – 55-80
Cairngorms – 55-80
Morrone – 57
Nan Shepherd – In the Cairngorms – 58-60
Nan Shepherd – The Living Mountain – 60-80
W.H. Murray – 66
Lairig Ghru – 77-79
Loch Coire an Lochain – 78

57 – “She [Nan Shepherd] had use of a howff above Braemar on the side of Morrone, which served as a base for exploring the southern reaches of the range, and access to a shepherd’s bothy north of the Lairig Ghru which was equipped with camp beds and sleeping bags. Like all true mountain-lovers, she got altitude sickness if she spent too long at sea level.”

Glossary II – Uplands

Chapter 4 – The Woods and the Water – 96-116
Mellis Common, Suffolk – 95-116
Roger Deakin – Notes from Walnut Tree Farm – 95
Roger Deakin – Waterlog – 97-105
Roger Deakin – Wildwood – 106-108

Glossary III – Waterlands

Chapter 5 – Hunting Life – 139-61
Chelmsford, Essex – 139-61
John Alec Baker – The Peregrine

Glossary IV – Coastlands

Chapter 6 – The Tunnel of Swords and Axes – 177-93
Brock Barrow, Hoses – 177-93
Richard Skelton – Landings – 183-5
Limnology – 188
with Autumn Richardson – Relics – 187-8 and Wolfhou – 187

Glossary V – Underlands

Chapter 7 – North-Minded – 209-20
Barry Lopez – Arctic Dreams – 209-12
Peter Davidson – The Idea of North / Distance and Memory – 213-20

209 – “I am, and have been for as long as I know, north-minded: drawn to high latitudes and high altitudes, and drawn also to those writers and artists for whom northernness is a mode of perception as well as a geographical position…”

210 – “Arctic Dreams changed the course of my life: it showed me how to write. Its combination of natural science, anthropology, cultural history, philosophy, reportage and lyrical observation revealed that non-fiction could be as experimental in form and beautiful in its language as any novel.”

211 – On Arctic Dreams: “To exercise a care of attention towards a place – as towards a person – is to achieve a sympathetic intimacy with it.”

220 – On Barry Lopez and Peter Davidson: “They see landscape not as a static diorama against which human action plays itself out, but rather as an active and shaping force of our imagination, our ethics, and our relations with each other and the world .In the work of both, place invests consciousness and geography is inseparable from morality.”

Glossary VI – Northlands

Chapter 8 – Bastard Countryside – 231-48

Glossary VII – Edgelands

Chapter 9 – Stone-Books – 263-78
Clarence Ellis – The Pebbles on the Beach – 263-6
Jacquetta Hawkes – A Land – 266-78

Glossary VIII – Earthlands

Chapter 10 – The Black Locust and the Silver Pine – 289-303
John Muir

294 – On John Muir: “His own experiences of ‘diffusion’ came close to the Greek concept of ‘metempsychosis’, the transmigration of the spirit – or, to give it its beautiful German name, Seelenwanderung, ‘soul-wandering’.”

Glossary IX – Woodlands

Chapter 11 – Childish – 315-27

Glossary X – Left blank…

Glossary XI – Gift Words


Imprint: Penguin
Published: 05/05/2016
ISBN: 9780241967874
Length: 448 Pages