Nan Shepherd

(1893 - 1981), Scottish novelist, poet, educator

Anna "Nan" Shepherd (11 February 1893 – 27 February 1981) was a Scottish novelist, poet, and memoirist.


  • She had given love and received only adoration: and love is so much bigger a thing than adoration — more complex and terrible. At its absolute moments it holds resolved within itself all impulses and inconsistencies, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, the spirit's agonizing.
  • Light still lingered in the sky; the hills, that had been dissolved in its splendour, like floating shapes of light themselves, grew dark again.
  • The Cairngorm Mountains are a mass of granite thrust up through the schists and gneiss that form the lower surrounding hills, planed down by the ice cap, and split, shattered and scooped by frost, glaciers, and the strength of running water. Their physiognomy is in the geography books—so many square miles of area, so many lochs, so many summits of over 4000 feet—but this is a pallid simulacrum of their reality, which, like every reality that matters to human beings, is a reality of the mind.

Quotes about Nan Shepherd

  • Her last book, The Living Mountain, was written in the years towards the end and after the second war, but it was not published until 1977. This volume celebrated the experience of climbing and hill-walking in the Cairngorms, one of Nan Shepherd’s life-long pleasures, and here, as in her poems, it is possible to identify the passionately metaphysical strain that underlies her creative prose and her sense of the nature of existence itself.

  Encyclopedic article on Nan Shepherd on Wikipedia