Publication Date: 06/07/2023 ISBN: 9781838858780 Category:

Footprints in the Woods

Sir John Lister-Kaye

Publisher: Canongate Books
Publication Date: 06/07/2023 ISBN: 9781838858780 Category:


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Footprints in the Woods is John Lister-Kaye’s account of a year spent observing the comings and goings of otters, badgers, weasels and pine martens. This family – Mustelidae – all live in the wild at Aigas, the conservation and field study centre that has been John’s home for more than forty-five years.

With the patient and meticulous care of a true naturalist, John observes and records the lives, habits and habitats of these elusive animals. Hours of careful waiting and watching in the woods and loch, the river, fields and moorland is rewarded with insight into how these animals live when unhindered by human interference; sometimes red in tooth and claw, but often playful, familial, curious and surprising.

As a boy, badgers and weasels were John’s first encounter with wild animals. Now he has spent fifty years living side-by side with them in the Highlands and come to know much of their ways. Footprints in the Woods is the culmination of that long association with the Mustelidae family, a love letter to the otters, badgers, weasels and pine martens that also call Aigas home, and a reminder of the fragility of habitat and the beauty and variety we have to lose if we don’t choose to actively protect it.

Publisher Review

From pine martens to weasels, John Lister-Kaye's mesmerising new book reveals the true savagery of mustelids . . . Lister-Kaye's many expert, wide-eyed descriptions of their hunts - gleaned from thousands of hours of painstaking, superhumanly silent observation - bear both the unsentimentality of a lifelong naturalist and the eloquent punch of a superior thriller-writer. [He is] not only a marvellously lucid writer but also an unusually poetic one * * Telegraph * * This book conjures otters, badgers, pine martens and weasels right onto the page, in language that is deft, vivid and alive -- JAY GRIFFITHS Lister-Kaye is the real thing: a peerless observer who is just as much part of the land as his beloved badgers. This, unusually, is nature writing that is actually about nature rather than the writer, and so it has the power and wisdom of the hills and forest. Marvellous -- CHARLES FOSTER, author of CRY OF THE WILD Praise for John Lister Kaye: Utterly charming and captivating * * Sunday Times * * If only we could all be as attentive to the life around us as John Lister-Kaye. No one writes as movingly, or with such transporting poetic skills, about encounters with wild creatures -- HELEN MACDONALD, author of H IS FOR HAWK Scotland's high priest of nature writing; it's charming and moving to wander along with him * * The Times * * With an untameable enthusiasm and generosity of spirit, Lister-Kaye translates [ . . . ] into a kind of inter-species friendship -- JAY GRIFFITHS, author of WILD: AN ELEMENTAL JOURNEY John Lister-Kaye is one of the most joyful, inspirational naturalists I know -- KATE HUMBLE A great naturalist -- CHRIS PACKHAM Renowned conservationist John Lister-Kaye finds as much drama in the creatures of his garden in the Highlands as watching polar bears cross frozen ice packs near the North Pole . . . He has fallen in love with these moments of everyday adventure * * Sunday Mail * *

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