Bog, bothy, Zen: introducing Sydney Scroggie's environmental and metaphysical thought

Sarah Janet Helen Leith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dundee poet and disabled hillwalker Sydney Scroggie is less well-known today than Nan Shepherd, Aberdeen’s spiritually and environmentally aware Scottish poet and mountaineer. Thanks both to Robert Macfarlane and Samantha Walton, there has been a recent revival in Shepherd studies, and this article, the first to consider Scroggie’s life and his writings, seeks to introduce Scroggie and his works to this conversation. While research into Shepherd has challenged traditional ideas of hillwalking as the sport of the lonely male mountaineer, Scroggie challenges any preconceived notions that hillwalking is an essentially abled activity. A nature writer, Scroggie’s writing presents an ecosystem of the senses where the physical and the metaphysical interact. By considering his environmental and metaphysical thought, this article presents Scroggie as a figure hitherto unfairly neglected by studies of both Scottish and British environmental thought, as well as Scottish literature. In similar ways to Shepherd and Frank Fraser Darling, Scroggie viewed humans and environment as intimately connected, and the Cairngorms as a landscape that should be respected and protected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-79
Number of pages20
JournalNorthern Scotland
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Sydney Scroggie
  • Nan Shepherd
  • Nature writing
  • Environmental thought
  • Metaphysical thought


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