A new book titled Regeneration has just been published. The author is Andrew Painting, the assistant ecologist at Mar Lodge Estate in Upper Deeside, a huge tract of some of the wildest and most beautiful land in Scotland.
It was acquired by the National Trust of Scotland in 1995 and, though the author has been working there for only five years now, this book is a record of what has been attempted and achieved there in the last quarter of a century.
As he observes, that is a fairly long time in a man’s life, a very short one in the land’s. The oldest Scots Pine on the estates dates back to at least 1477: “it has seen the loss of the pinewoods from this glen and now is seeing them return.”
The book offers first a detailed account of the work done and projects undertaken at Mar Lodge. Some will, like me, find there is too much detail about daily work; others, more knowledgeable, will be delighted. Even the most cursory reader, inclined to skip chunky paragraphs, will nevertheless find much to enjoy.
There is a lot to learn and the learning is satisfying. It helps that Painting, with a degree in English Literature from London University before studying Environmental Anthropology at Aberdeen, writes both clearly and often entrancingly.