Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter by Miriam Darlington; Nightwalk: A Journey to the Heart of Nature by Chris Yates - review by Esther Woolfson

Esther Woolfson

Nature Notes

Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter


Granta Books 363pp £20

Nightwalk: A Journey to the Heart of Nature


HarperCollins 216pp £14.99

Both Otter Country and Nightwalk were realised over extended spans of time. As a child Miriam Darlington was handed the skull of an otter by her grandfather, the Oxford professor of biology and genetics C D Darlington. It was an experience that sparked a lifelong fascination with these elusive and beautiful creatures, which impelled her to travel the length of Britain. Chris Yates, a distinguished and prolific writer on fishing, began planning what would become this book in 1971, deciding, after some earlier attempts to begin it, to write ‘a description of a meandering walk that begins in the evening and ends at sunrise’, an endeavour that has resulted in a book of rare insight and beauty. 

Indefatigable in her quest, Darlington begins in northwest Scotland as she travels to Sandaig, the place disguised as Camusfeàrna by Gavin Maxwell in that most famous of books on otters, Ring of Bright Water. Over the course of more than a year, travelling by van, bike, car and train and

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RLF - March