Ring of Bright Water:
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ISBN 13: 9780670889921
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Our Awards Booktopia's Charities. The House of Elrig was his much-acclaimed autobiography of childhood.
Lords of the Atlas remains the accepted work on the feudal chiefs of the Berber tribes. But it was the otter trilogy, Ring of Bright Water and its two sequels, The Rocks Remain and Raven Seek Thy Brother , for which he would always be remembered, a fact that irritated him not a little.
View of the house at Sandaig. My two weeks on the island that spring were blissful.
GAVIN MAXWELL 3 Books Pan Ring Bright Water Raven Seek Thy Brother Rocks Remain | eBay
The glassy sea reflected a sky of squinting blue. Powder puffs of cloud hung motionless over the Five Sisters of Kintail and to the west the mammary curves of the Red Cuillin on Skye floated in a pastel haze. The Kyle straits were dotted with black guillemots and the air hummed with the softly undulating crooning of eider drakes.
Maxwell and I sat in the sunshine with his telescope scrutinising every movement. His enthusiasm seemed boundless. After dining ridiculously late, we sat at the fireside long into the small hours. Fuelled by numerous drams we read out loud the lilting ballads of Macaulay, Longfellow and Coleridge. The following day he rose late complaining of a swingeing headache. In the years since, Maxwell had had a serious road accident in which, swerving to miss a red deer stag, his Land Rover landed in a ditch and trapped his leg causing a deep vein thrombosis in his foot; Edal, his replacement otter, had nearly died of an infected tooth; a vicious attack by a third otter, Teko, had landed a guest in hospital; Terry Nutkins had lost two and a half fingers to a wound inflicted by Edal; and in a catastrophic fire the uninsured house at Sandaig was razed to the ground, Edal was killed and Gavin lost virtually everything.
If you really believe in your own powers of destruction you must consider yourself to have been successful. Maxwell standing in the doorway of the house after the fire destroyed it in The continual cycle of misfortunes ended with the lung cancer that killed him aged 55 in September He had been a heavy smoker all his adult life, up to 80 a day, regularly accompanied by a bottle of whisky.
In those last days the hospital staff had given up trying to stop him; his room was a perpetual fog of smoke and a cluster of bottles filled his locker, something that would be unthinkable today. Every year hundreds of Maxwell devotees trail the three miles down to the shore and leave on the boulder poignant offerings of shells, flowers, pretty stones and touching lines of verse in polythene bags.
To Maxwell I owe a career in nature conservation and a life in the Highlands. He got me here and gave me reason to stay, to write my first book, The White Island , ending his otter story — for that I shall always be extremely grateful. For the past 38 years, dedicated to his memory, our field studies centre at Aigas, in its own Highland glen 80 miles through the mountains from Skye, has delivered environmental education to up to 5, schoolchildren and wildlife courses to adults every year.
Kathleen Raine died at 95 in All my poems had come from that solitude. I had neither the wish nor the expectation of meeting any other living soul who could enter my sanctuary. Now another had crossed the magic threshold… it was as if he came from Eden itself. Had he wished to have been I would have been happy; but what drew me to him was nothing bodily, but rather the radiance his presence had for me always.
What was between us was something else altogether… more to do with poetry than with any personal fulfilment. Her last letter to Maxwell as he lay dying in hospital stands as a poignant envoi. For me this earth is simply the place where you are, where we have met. Without you it will be the place where you are not. I know of no naturalist or conservationist of my generation who was not profoundly influenced by Ring of Bright Water, and through heightened public awareness he greatly aided the return of the otter to our rivers and wetlands.
Yet she would never be able to suppress the impact Maxwell had on her life and work. Follow TelegraphMag.