Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gavin Maxwell Centenary

Because I'm not always as organised as I'd like to be it turns out that it's 100 years and a day since Maxwell was born. Regardless of actual dates I wanted to take a moment to celebrate a remarkable twentieth century figure. Happily for the reading public there is a decent edition of his best known book Ring Of Bright Water from Little Toller, and of the book that remains one of my favourite ever - Harpoon at a Venture was happily resurrected by Birlinn last year. Their edition is splendid, complete with even more pictures than the disintegrating old Penguin I have cherished from new.

Maxwell was a troubled and troubling figure but his writing is magnificent, books which aren't in print are still easy enough to get hold of, read him!

An odd coincidence but as I published this post I looked out of the window to see an otter in the garden pond. I always hope to see them when I'm in shetland - they're reasonably common here, but it's still not often you get one in the garden. Unfortunately the almost simultaneous discovery that sheep had also got in and were happily munching on one of his prized trees meant dad had to rush out with the dog to evict them. It scared off the otter too so no pictures. 


  1. Thanks for the reminder - I'm a great fan of Gavin Maxwell's and have several of his books tucked away. I've even taken the journey to see the actual ring of bright water - not easy to get to but worth the effort. Shame about the otter but those pesky sheep had to be dealt with!

  2. Pesky sheep indeed, but it was a good Otter sighting whilst it lasted. One of the great things about Shetland is that if you keep an eye open you will almost certainly see otters. there have been one or two occasions when I've almost tripped over them... I would like to make that pilgrimage one day, Maxwell's writing has been a huge part of my reading life.

  3. For anyone who would like to know more about Gavin Maxwell, his books or books by other people who knew him well, there is now a Facebook Group "The Gavin Maxwell Society." New Members welcome!