Jim Crumley

Jim Crumley is the author of more than forty books, mostly on the wildlife and wild landscape of his native Scotland, many of them making the case for species reintroductions, or ‘rewilding’. His Seasons series, a quartet of books exploring the wildlife and landscapes and how climate change is affecting our environment across the four seasons, is highly acclaimed.  The Nature of Autumn was longlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize 2017 and shortlisted for the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Bookshop Literary Prize 2017. The third in the series, The Nature of Spring, was Radio 4’s Book of the Week. The Nature of Summer, was shortlisted for the 2021 Highland Book Prize.  The Eagle’s Way was shortlisted for a prestigious Saltire Society award, and his Encounters in the Wild series – which sees Jim get up close and personal with Britain’s favourite animals – has found him many new readers. He has written about the return of the beaver to the UK’s wetlands in Nature’s Architect, and his most recent title is Lakeland Wild, his first to focus entirely on an English landscape. Lakeland Wild was longlisted for the 2022 Lakeland Book of the Year prize. Jim is also a poet, an occasional broadcaster on both radio and television and a widely published journalist who wrote columns for the Dundee Courier for many years and has a monthly column in The Scots Magazine.

Jim’s website:

Jim Crumley is represented at Jenny Brown Associates by Jenny. For all enquiries contact

Books by Jim

Watching Wildlife

Saraband, 2023

“If you have been still enough for long enough, your eyes will have attuned and begun to read the sea-surge fluently, so you recognize the blunt curve and flourished tail of a diving otter. Home your eyes in on that portion of the sea, permit nothing else to move, and you will see the otter eel-catching, resurfacing.”

It is a special privilege and a richly rewarding experience to observe a wild animal hunting, interacting with its young or its mate, exploring its habitat, or escaping a predator.

To watch wildlife, it’s essential not only to learn an animal’s ways, the times and places you may find it, but also to look inward: to station yourself, focus, and wait. The experience depends on your stillness, silence, and full attention, watching and listening with minimal movement and if possible staying downwind so that your presence is not sensed.

With decades of close observation of wild animals and birds, Jim Crumley has found himself up close and personal with many of our most elusive creatures, studying their movements, noting details, and offering intimate insights into their extraordinary lives. Here, he draws us into his magical world, showing how we can learn to watch wildlife well, and what doing so can mean for our ability to care for it, and care for ourselves.

Seasons of Storm and Wonder

Saraband, 2022

From Jim Crumley, the “pre-eminent Scottish nature-writer” (Guardian), this landmark volume documents the extraordinary natural life of the Scottish Highlands and bears witness to the toll climate chaos is already taking on our wildlife, habitats and biodiversity – laying bare what is at stake for future generations. 

A display of head-turning autumn finery on Skye provokes Jim Crumley to contemplate both the glories of the season and how far the seasons themselves have shapeshifted since his early days observing his natural surroundings.

After a lifetime immersed in Scotland’s landscapes and enriched by occasional forays in other northern lands, Jim has amassed knowledge, insight and a bank of memorable imagery chronicling the wonder, tumult and spectacle of nature’s seasonal transformations. He has witnessed not only nature’s unparalleled beauty, but also how climate chaos and humankind has brought unwanted drama to wildlife and widespread destruction of ecosystems and habitats.

In this landmark volume, Jim combines lyrical prose and passionate eloquence to lay bare the impact of global warming and urge us all towards a more daring conservation vision that embraces everything from the mountain treeline to a second spring for the wolf.

Praise for Seasons of Storm and Wonder

‘It is difficult to do justice to a book of such knowledge and emotional heft as Jim Crumley’s latest and profoundly meditative work … ‘We are nature itself’ – that is the essential truth and the core message of this beautiful book.”Dundee Courier

“One of Scotland’s finest nature writers.”-Allan Massie, The Scotsman

Lakeland Wild

Saraband, June 2021

The Lake District may be one of our busiest national parks and contested landscapes, yet within its boundaries, it’s still possible to escape the crowds and find habitats and wildlife relatively undisturbed by our ever-encroaching presence.

In Lakeland Wild, Jim Crumley seeks out these hidden places and waits, still, alert, noting his impressions as he turns his long-experienced nature-writer’s eye to these surroundings. The result is an intimate account of peregrines, eagles, swans, swallows and the wrens that shelter in the crevices of ancient stone walls. He writes of badgers and otters, of foxes prowling between stands of oak, rowan, yew, hawthorn and larch. He finds himself in Ullswater, at Angle Tarn, High Rigg and Brother’s Water, following in the footsteps of the Romantics. Seeing how human activity has shaped and often scarred the Cumbrian fells and lakes, he nevertheless finds much that is beautiful, and he celebrates it in his most sublime writing yet.

The Nature of Summer

Saraband, 2020

In the endless light of summer days, and the magical gloaming of the wee small hours, nature in Jim’s beloved Highlands, Perthshire and Trossachs heartlands is burgeoning freely, as though there is one long midsummer’s eve, nothing reserved. For our flora and fauna, for the very land itself, this is the time of extravagant growth, flowering and the promise of fruit and the harvest to come.

But despite the abundance, as Jim Crumley attests, summer in the Northlands is no Wordsworthian idyll. Climate chaos and its attendant unpredictable weather brings high drama to the lives of the animals and birds he observes. There is also a wild, elemental beauty to the land, mountains, lochs, coasts and skies, a sense of nature at its very apex during this, the most beautiful and lush of seasons. Jim chronicles it all: the wonder, the tumult, the spectacle of summer.

The Nature of Spring

Saraband, 2019 – BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Spring is nature’s season of rebirth and rejuvenation. Earth’s northern hemisphere tilts towards the sun, winter yields to intensifying light and warmth, and a wild, elemental beauty transforms the Highland landscape and a repertoire of islands from Colonsay to Lindisfarne.
Jim Crumley chronicles the wonder, tumult and spectacle of that transformation, but he shows too that it is no Wordsworthian idyll that unfolds. Climate chaos brings unwanted drama to the lives of badger and fox, seal and seabird and raptor, pine marten and sand martin. Jim lays bare the impact of global warming and urges us all towards a more daring conservation vision that embraces everything from the mountain treeline to a second spring for the wolf.

Praise for The Nature of Spring

There are books that transport us and Jim Crumley’s ode to spring takes us there on the wings of a sea eagle … Exquisitely observed … uplifting and disquieting … Crumley’s masterful words take you into the canvas of nature as into the work of a grand master … The joy, the passion, the complete understanding Jim has for his world is a portal. The world on our doorstep. –Scottish Book of the Week, The Courier

Nature writer and poet Jim Crumley returns with a third volume of close observations [and] charts the arrival of spring, from the February song of a mistle thrush to May’s drowsy warmth. –New Statesman

A fantastic writer … exquisite observations of details in the landscape as well as sweeping vistas … remarkable. –BBC Countryfile magazine

The Company of Swans

Harvill Secker, republished 2017

‘A small mound on white feathers lies on a tussock of grass made grey by a Highland winter. It is all the monument there will ever be to the life of a swan.’
With these words, and those that follow, Jim Crumley has ensured that there will be a more enduring witness to the life of this swan, and of all swans, than that pyre of white feathers.

Crumley watches, year in year out, as a pair of mute swans struggles, against the odds, to raise young on a wild patch of lock. But the pen starts to lose her eggs to predators; and the cob begins to disappear for longer and longer periods. Until comes the day when a third swan, stronger and younger than the first pen, appears at the other end of the loch.

This journal of a swan-watcher, as he calls himself, is an elegy to these noble creatures; and most poignantly it is a memorial to one swan, whose silent drama he has recorded.

This is only a short tale, but it is delicately told, and the fate of the abandoned mate is movingly described. –The Times

The Nature of Winter

Saraband, September 2017

During winter, dark days of wild storms can give way to the perfect, glistening stillness of frost-encrusted winter landscapes – it is the stuff of wonder and beauty, of nature at its utmost. In The Nature of Winter, Jim Crumley ventures into our countryside to experience firsthand the chaos and the quiet solitude of nature’s rest period. He bears witness to the lives of remarkable animals such as golden eagles, red deer and even whales as they battle intemperate weather and the turbulence of climate change. In the snow Jim discovers ancient footsteps that lead him to reflect on the journey of his personal nature-writing life – a journey that takes in mountain legends, dear departed friends and an enduring fascination and deep love for nature. Simply, he evokes winter in all its drama, in all its pathos, in all its glory.

Praise for The Nature of Winter

Inviting and informative…Crumley has earned himself the enviable position of our foremost nature commentator…Meditative…bewitching…outspoken…persuasive…a true winter’s tale. –Rosemary Goring, Herald

The Nature of Autumn

Saraband, August 2016

In autumn nature stages some of its most enchantingly beautiful displays; yet it’s also a period for reflection, melancholy even, as the days shorten and winter’s chill approaches. Taking in September to November, Jim Crumley tells the story of how unfolding autumn affects the wildlife and landscapes of his beloved countryside. Along the way, Jim experiences the deer rut, finds phenomenal redwood trees in the most unexpected of places, and contemplates climate change, the death of his father, and his own love of nature; thus painting an intimate – and deeply personal – portrait of a moody and majestic British autumn.

Praise for The Nature of Autumn

Jim Crumley is the pre-eminent Scottish nature writer. –The Guardian

A passionate, compelling, very personal work… the honesty of his voice is striking. –Scottish Review of Books

Enthralling and often strident. –Observer

An astonishingly good writer. Not just an astonishingly good nature writer, but an outstanding artist with prose. –West Highland Free Press.

Nature’s Architect: The Beaver’s Return to Our Wild

Saraband, July 2015

Hundreds of years after their extinction in these isles, beavers are back in Britain. These highly skilled engineers of the natural world have been reintroduced at several sites across the UK and, even as they become established, are already having a dramatic effect on our wild landscapes. Jim Crumley reveals the pioneering lifestyle of these intriguing and secretive creatures and considers the ecological and economic impact of the beaver reintroductions. In beautiful prose and with considerable empathy for life in the wild, Crumley considers the future for Britain’s beavers and makes the case for giving them their freedom.

Praise for Nature’s Architect

The best nature writer working in Britain today. –Los Angeles Times.

Tinglingly readable… Crumley’s distinctive voice carries you with him on his dawn forays and sunset vigils. –Herald

Conveys the wonder of the natural world… with honesty and passion. –Scottish Review of Books


The Great Wood: The Ancient Forest Wood

Birlinn, September 2011

The Great Wood of Caledon – the historic native forest of Highland Scotland – has a reputation as potent and misleading as the wolves that ruled it. The popular image is of an impassable, sun-snuffing shroud, a Highlandswide jungle infested by wolf, lynx, bear, beaver, wild white cattle, wild boar, and wilder painted men. Jim Crumley shines a light into the darker corners of the Great Wood, to re-evaluate some of the questionable elements of its reputation, and to assess the possibilities of its partial resurrection into something like a national forest. The book threads a path among relict strongholds of native woodland, beginning with a soliloquy by the Fortingall Yew, the one tree in Scotland that can say of the heyday of the Great Wood 5,000 years ago: ‘I was there.’ The journey is enriched by vivid wildlife encounters, a passionate and poetic account that binds the slow dereliction of the past to an optimistic future.

Praise for The Great Wood

Crumley gives unique insight into the rich history of this land. –Scottish Field

Crumley’s greatest talent lies in his ability to convey genuine sympathy for the wildlife he observes, and a somehow calming sense that, however much mankind might like to think itself above all that, we re really all just part and parcel of the same continuum. –The Stirling Observer

[His] passion for the natural world reverberates to the core of his being, and he writes about it with the style of a poet. –The Herald


The Eagle’s Way

Birlinn, September 2011

Saraband, March 2014

Eagles, more than any other bird, spark our imaginations. These magnificent creatures encapsulate the majesty and wildness of Scottish nature. But change is afoot for the eagles of Scotland: the golden eagles are now sharing the skies with sea eagles after a successful reintroduction programme.

In The Eagle’s Way, Jim Crumley exploits his years of observing these spectacular birds to paint an intimate portrait of their lives and how they interact with each other and the Scottish landscape. Combining passion, beautifully descriptive prose and the writer’s 25 years of experience, ‘The Eagle’s Way’ explores the ultimate question – what now for the eagles? – making it essential reading for wildlife lovers and eco-enthusiasts.

Praise for The Eagle’s Way

The Eagle’s Way, is surely one of modern natural history writing’s masterpieces. –The Great Outdoors

Crumley is quite exceptional. Jim’s writing is absolutely authentic; his arguments vested with the power of heartfelt sincerity; his life devoted to the vital subjects he studies, expresses so finely, and opens up to our wider understanding in the context of a better and more humane planetary future. –Viewpoint

Jim Crumley soars with eagles and we watch with our mouths open, not just because the presence of the eagle fills us with awe but the virtuoso writing does, too. All Jim Crumley’s books come from an intelligence drawn from place. –BBC Countryfile

Crumley conveys the feelings involved; the excitement, the joy, the wonder of the natural world at its wildest with honesty and passion. –Scottish Review of Books

A soaring triumph. –Stirling Observer