‘The Living Mountain’, N. Shepherd

“This narrow loch has never, I believe, been sounded. I know its depth, though not in feet.”

‘The Living Mountain’ is a brilliant work on the Cairngorms, and I would say, on the way mountains exist. While I would not even pretend that I understood everything the author wrote about, I would say that I saw why she loved those mountains in her words.

Without a doubt, her writings also made me think of visiting them, if only to see that which evoked Nan Shepherd to write like this. The emotion hidden in so many of her words is deep and moving.

Could it be that it is a primal desire for the wilds that Nan Shepherd managed to capture? Maybe; but maybe she saw that those mountains offered her a window into her own soul…

“It is a journey into Being; for as I penetrate more deeply into the mountain’s life, I penetrate also into my own. For an hour I am beyond desire. It is not ecstasy, that leap out of the self that makes man like a god. I am not out of myself, but in myself. I am. To know Being, this is the final grace accorded from the mountain.”

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