David Craig

David Craig, who died in 2021, taught creative writing at Lancaster. As well as poetry and fiction, he wrote books about climbing, such as Native Stones, and On the Crofters’ Trail and The Glens of Silence, about the Highland Clearances.

James Hunter​’s work has analysed with utter thoroughness the culture of the Highlands and the diaspora that was forced on it. In his latest book, Set Adrift upon the World, he doesn’t try to describe, in a novelist’s or a journalist’s way, how individuals suffered and grieved and retaliated. Rather, he lays out the way systematic dispossession was managed, legally,...

Bird-man swallows human: Birds’ Eggs

David Craig, 20 October 2016

We still live​ among wild animals, just about: the birds that flit and scurry and sing and build in our gardens. They are like iridescent spray: the rose-flush on the breast of a male chaffinch, the gold ring round the eye of a blackbird, the jet-black cap above the slatey body of a great tit. Sparrows are said to have become much less common, but 31 of them have frequented my garden in the...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart: Robert Macfarlane

David Craig, 24 September 2015

This book​ is almost parodically characteristic of Robert Macfarlane’s work. He is a scholar of place – of terrain, terroir, the land – and at times references, sources and citations have bulked uncomfortably large in his writing. Certainly he frequents the countryside at close quarters and often strenuously. He sleeps out, on mountains and moors. He walks arduously, along...

Philip Marsden​’s new book explores an idea as much as it explores a country. It journeys westward through Cornwall from Bodmin Moor to Scilly, alighting on the rocky eminences where granite has boiled up through the Earth’s crust and crystallised into highlands and headlands. It’s rugged country, raked by south-westerlies ‘bred of the Atlantic’ and eaten at...

Fox and Crow: The Moors

David Craig, 31 July 2014

What​ do moors sound like? Like a universe of bees, whose unison is only a few notes higher than the singing of our own bloodstream, which we half-hear, half-sense during the small hours between sleeps. What do they smell like? Like honey, steeping the sunshine. What do they look like? Like a brown and purple cloud-shadow spread out across the uplands, described by William Atkins in...


Patrick Parrinder, 7 November 1991

David Craig has an unfashionable concern with truth-telling in fiction. In his earlier role as a literary critic, he wrote a book called The Real Foundations in which he showed how some of the...

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Highland Hearts

V.G. Kiernan, 20 December 1990

‘Just inside the fir-dusk a hollow oblong of stones now showed, brown and damp with that stupefied or browbeaten look of an abandoned croft-house ... Here was Unnimore.’ Here, too,...

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Triermain Eliminate

Chauncey Loomis, 9 July 1987

I admire mountain, rock and ice-climbing from a respectful distance. When young and foolish, I tried it. I even went up what some experienced climbers call ‘the milk run’ to the peak...

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