The hidden wilderness of Arran

The author Michael Jarvis pictured with his wife Margaret on Arran.

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In more normal times Arran is popular with tourists looking for mountains, beaches and good food.

But it also has many wild and hidden places which are the subject of a new book looking at Arran’s landscapes and wildlife through the eye’s of a scientist.

Michael Jarvis is a retired environmental scientist living in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire who dabbles in nature writing and occasional very short stories and is a regular visitor to Arran

However his now book The Wild in Hiding and other essays is a more extensive tome running to 130 pages which has just been published in paperback.

Arran is a microcosm of Scotland and Michael looks at its landscapes and its wildlife through a scientist’s eyes. But The Wild in Hiding is nature writing, not a science textbook. It’s about how we and wild creatures perceive Arran’s landscapes in different ways.

It looks at how its wildlife arrived or, like foxes, stoats and roe deer, never did arrive; how its weather takes shape; how the island just missed out on being the birthplace of glacial geology in the 1840s; what we can do to conserve its future; and what it can contribute to all our futures in an uncertain world.

One extract from the book reads: ‘…I’m drinking breakfast coffee by the window as the sounds of the island morning come drifting in. The window opens onto a mile of shaggy farmland. Grass wind-rippled in the sunlight, ready for cutting. Thorn hedges running wild, a scrap of tousled wood, ditches choked with meadowsweet and brambles…’

And another: ‘Where does the wind’s power come from? Where does it go? From the sea’s silent warmth to the silence of the cold sky.’

The book is available at the Book and Card Centre in Brodick or visit the author’s website: for more information.


The author Michael Jarvis pictured with his wife Margaret on Arran. NO_B27wild01

The cover of The Wild in Hiding. NO_B27wild02