John D. Burns is a bestselling and award-winning mountain writer who has spent over forty years exploring Britain's mountains. Originally from Merseyside, he moved to Inverness over thirty years ago to follow his passion for the hills. He is a past member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team and has walked and climbed in the American and Canadian Rockies, Kenya, the Alps and the Pyrenees. John began writing more than fifteen years ago, and at first found an outlet for his creativity as a performance poet. He has taken one-man plays to the Edinburgh Fringe and toured them widely around theatres and mountain festivals in the UK. It is the combination of John's love of the outdoors with his passion for writing and performance that makes him a uniquely powerful storyteller. His first two books, The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales, were both shortlisted for TGO Magazine's Outdoor Book of the Year. His third book, Sky Dance, is published in 2019. He continues to develop his career as a writer, blogger and outdoor storyteller while exploring the wild places he loves.
A captivating, amusing, yet provocative novel set in the Scottish Highlands. If you have read a book by John D. Burns before, it is likely to have been one or both of his memoirs, The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales. The author has spent much of his life walking and climbing in the mountains, here he turns his hand to fiction, and ponders the future of the landscape he so loves. We enter what could be called a battle, between environmental protesters and landowners, with the two main characters seasoned hillwalkers. From winter (much beloved by our author), turning through the seasons back to winter again, we spend time on a fictional island in the Scottish Highlands. Using his knowledge, his passion for our wild places John D. Burns has written an engaging and satisfying read. I actually recommend starting with his memoir The Last Hillwalker, as it really sets the scene, and you can appreciate the experience and love that has gone into Sky Dance.
An eye-opening wander (and sometimes adrenaline ride) down memory lane for a life-long hillwalker and mountaineer. John D. Burns has spent forty years trekking and climbing mountains, he grew up in industrial Merseyside and escaped to the wilds as often as he could. He opens by admitting a mistake that could have cost lives, his raw honesty hits home, this isn’t a playground. In his early years he learns through near catastrophes and calamitous events that he needs proper equipment and to never take the outdoors for granted. He basically learns through his mistakes - TAKE NOTE! As the author grows more experienced he later becomes a part of the rescue team and starts to really become aware of the beauty around him. The majority of this memoir runs in a straight line through time, occasionally though it deviates, and sometimes stories just stop, to carry on at a later point. This memoir is more about the thrills and escapades, than the beauty of where he is and yet that joy is also there. I would recommend reading The Last Hillwalker followed by his fictional Sky Dance, as once you have finished both, you get more of measure of this man. A fascinating read.
In Wild Winter, John D. Burns, bestselling author of The Last Hillwalker and Bothy Tales, sets out to rediscover Scotland's mountains, remote places and wildlife in the darkest and stormiest months. He traverses the country from the mouth of the River Ness to the Isle of Mull, from remote Sutherland to the Cairngorms, in search of rutting red deer, pupping seals, minke whales, beavers, pine martens, mountain hares and otters. In the midst of the fierce weather, John's travels reveal a habitat in crisis, and many of these wild creatures prove elusive as they cling on to life in the challenging Highland landscape. As John heads deeper into the winter, he notices the land fighting back with signs of regeneration. He finds lost bothies, old friendships and innovative rewilding projects, and - as Covid locks down the nation - reflects on what the outdoors means to hillwalkers, naturalists and the folk who make their home in the Highlands. Wild Winter is a reminder of the wonder of nature and the importance of caring for our environment. In his winter journey through the mountains and bothies of the Highlands, John finds adventure, humour and a deep sense of connection with this wild land.
I can move only with the aid of barrels of anti-inflammatory gel, sticking plasters and real ale anaesthetic. Martin and I descend from hours of walking to the small town of Middleton-in-Teesdale. I walk, stiff legged, into the campsite office and a plump, middle-aged woman looks up from her desk and can see the old timer is in trouble. Oh, what a shame you weren't here last week, she says, pity radiating from behind her horn-rimmed specs. You've missed him. I look at her, puzzled. Elvis! she explains. You missed Elvis. Oh God, now I'm hallucinating... In Bothy Tales, the follow-up to The Last Hillwalker from bestselling mountain writer John D. Burns, travel with the author to secret places hidden amongst the British hills and share his passion for the wonderful wilderness of our uplands. From remote glens deep in the Scottish Highlands, Burns brings a new volume of tales - some dramatic, some moving, some hilarious - from the isolated mountain shelters called bothies. Meet the vivid cast of characters who play their games there, from climbers with more confidence than sense to a young man who doesn't have the slightest idea what he's letting himself in for...