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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Welch

A nature-themed outdoor book trail - for Book Week Scotland

Updated: Aug 31, 2020

This Book Week Scotland (16-22 November), I'll be working with Transition Linlithgow to create a nature-themed book trail around Linlithgow, in Central Scotland. 

A map of Linlithgow town centre, showing how far you can walk in 5 mins or cycle in 2 mins
Linlithgow active travel map, which will inform the route of the book trail

The aim of this project is to encourage residents and visitors to the town to discover, reflect on and connect with the wild spaces of our town. In doing so, they'll uncover some beautiful books and writing that encourage us to explore and appreciate the natural world. I hope it'll bring a few moments of joy, and perhaps some mini adventures, at this cold, dark time of year.

Reasons I'm especially excited about this project:

  1. It grew organically out of another project I'm involved in. After hosting poet Skye Loneragan in our community garden this summer, we found ourselves having a whole series of wider conversations about arts and nature projects. This idea - and the partnership with Transition Linlithgow - all grew from there. 

  2. The trail will be outdoors, in public, openly accessible places that people might pass though as they go about their day. I love creating surprising, intriguing moments for people who wouldn’t go out of their way to participate in either an arts project or a nature trail.

  3. It’s cheering, joyful, uplifting. I love the idea of people discovering the painted rocks that will make up the trail as they go about their day. Perhaps then they'll track down some of the quotes from books in the library, or follow the trail to discover some new footpaths and parks around town.

  4. The quotes and books that will make up the trail come from two sources. First, there'll be a public call out, so that everyone has the opportunity to suggest the books that matter to them, and to get involved in shaping the make-up of the trail. Second, we'll be inviting an author to work with us and suggest some of their own recommendations to add to the trail - aiming to disrupt the very white male tradition of nature writing, and to amplify some nature authors whose work might be less well known.


I'm delighted that Amanda Thomson, author of A Scots Dictionary of Nature will be joining us as our partner writer for this project:

Scotland is a nation of dramatic weather and breathtaking landscapes – of nature resplendent. And, over the centuries, the people who have lived, explored and thrived in this country have developed a rich language to describe their surroundings: a uniquely Scottish lexicon shaped by the very environment itself.

A Scots Dictionary of Nature brings together – for the first time – the deeply expressive vocabulary customarily used to describe land, wood, weather, birds, water and walking in Scotland.

Artist Amanda Thomson collates and celebrates these traditional Scots words, which reveal ways of seeing and being in the world that are in danger of disappearing forever. What emerges is a vivid evocation of the nature and people of Scotland, past and present; of lives lived between the mountains and the sky.


More updates to follow as this project develops. Thanks to the Scottish Book Trust for funding to make this happen, and to Transition Linlithgow for their willingness to get involved.


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