In this evocative and vividly observed book, Patrick Barkham explores some of the most beautiful landscapes in the British Isles as he travels to ever-smaller islands in search of their special magic.
Some, like the Isle of Man, resemble miniature nations, with their own language and tax laws; others, like Ray Island in Essex, are abandoned and mysterious places haunted by myths, ghosts and foxes. There are resurgent islands such as Eigg, which have been liberated from capricious owners to be run by their residents; holy islands like Bardsey, the resting place of 20,000 saints, and still a site of spiritual questing; and deserted islands such as St Kilda, famed for the evacuation of its human population, and now dominated by wild sheep and seabirds. Meeting all kinds of beings and beasts, from nuns to puffins, from local legends to rare subspecies of vole, Patrick Barkham seeks to discover what it means to be an islander.
‘Brimming with nature, literature and the eccentric life of the islanders Barkham meets, this is a fitting tribute to the strangeness and beauty of our British isles’ Financial Times