Author Archives: Annie O'Garra Worsley

About Annie O'Garra Worsley

Hello there. I'm a mother, grandmother, writer, crofter & Professor of Physical Geography specialising in ‘environmental change'. I live on a smallholding known as a 'croft'. The croft is close to the sea and surrounded by the ‘Great Wilderness’ mountains of the NW Highlands. I was a fulltime mother, then a full-time academic living and working in north-west England. In 2013 we decided to try and live a smaller, simpler, wilder life in the remote mountain and coastal landscapes of Wester Ross. When I was a young researcher, I spent time in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea living with indigenous communities there. They taught me about the interconnectedness and sacredness of the living world. After having my four children I worked in universities continuing my research and teaching students about environments, landform processes and landscape change. Eventually, after 12 years, I moved away from the rigours of scientific writing, rediscovered my wilder self and turned to nature non-fiction writing. My work has been published by Elliott & Thompson in a series of anthologies called 'Seasons' and I have essays in several editions of the highly acclaimed journal ‘Elementum’, each one partnered with artworks by contemporary artists. I also still work with former colleagues and publish in peer-reviewed academic journals. I am currently writing a book about this extraordinary place which will be published by Harper Collins.

The blooming of summer

Billy Connelly once famously said that Scotland has only two seasons, “June and Winter”, but the reality is very different. Just as the Japanese divide the year into twenty-four sekki (seasons) which are then subdivided further into three ko, a … Continue reading

Posted in archaeology, birding, birds, coasts, crofting, encounters with wildlife, environment, experiencing nature, landscape, landscape photography, nature writing, rare birds, Scotland, summer, Summer Solstice, wilderness, wildflowers, wildlife, wildlife encounters | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

The opulence of confinement light and the determination of dandelions

Our dry weather continues. A few feeble showers have passed through occasionally overnight so the track to the sea remains dustily hard. The ground is unusually desiccated, the soil crumbly; it is the kind of dryness that would be found … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Shielding and shelter

There are wriggling tadpoles in small pools across the bog next to our croft but in the last few dry days water levels have dropped and their living spaces have shrunk. A rescue attempt will be made shortly, buckets and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The “Great Confinement” and the coming of Spring

1. To Torridon, BGC (before the “Great Confinement”) Diary excerpt, Wednesday February 12th. I watched the river plunging through our lower fields from the attic window. It was black and foam flecked; periodically wavelets slushed out across the field. The … Continue reading

Posted in environment, experiencing nature, geology, landforms, landscape, mountains, nature, nature writing | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Procession to late autumn

From Red River Croft it is possible track the procession of sunsets over the calendrical year, solstice to solstice. Across the Inner Sound the midwinter sun descends quickly behind the undulating hills below Skye’s Old Man of Storr while in … Continue reading

Posted in archaeology, Autumn, Autumnal equinox, birds, coasts, crofting, encounters with wildlife, environment, experiencing nature, nature, nature writing, Scotland, Skye, weather, wilderness, wildlife encounters | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Abundance

It is late August and the morning is fierce with light. Westwards the Outer Isles are floating in a blue haze, their familiar shapes swollen yet indistinct. I am roaming the croft fields with a bag and a walking stick. … Continue reading

Posted in birds, crofting, encounters with wildlife, environment, experiencing nature, landscape, meadows, nature, Scotland, summer, wildflowers, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Sinuosity

In April the land burned. Cold snow showers that had bundled together under cloud-bands of steel grey and ink in late March were swept aside by penetrating blue skies, fierce light and desiccating wind. The air was bright, dry and … Continue reading

Posted in birds, encounters with wildlife, environment, experiencing nature, landscape, landscape photography, mountains, nature, nature writing, orchids, skylarks, swallows, wildflowers#cuckoos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

One hour, one shower, altered perspective.

Along this small frisk of marginal land, sandwiched between high mountains and deep sea, an old path has been re-established by our footsteps. For me it has become a prayer walk, a cleansing-of-the-mind pather, from croft home to sandy beach … Continue reading

Posted in beaches, clouds, coasts, encounters with wildlife, environment, landscape photography, nature, nature writing, photography, Scotland, sea, Skye, storm, weather, wilderness, winter, winter weather | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Sepia, silver and gold: transition to autumn

At last, after a very busy summer, tourist numbers are tailing off.  The main beaches closer to Gairloch are still dimpled with people-trails but locally Opinan’s sands have been washed clear by showers, divots smoothed by the high tides. Now … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elemental Colours and Inner Sounds (Water Colours II)

I wrote last year about the Inner Sound and the Minch, stretches of sea between Wester Ross on the Scottish mainland and the Hebrides: https://notesfromasmallcroftbythesea.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/water-colours/ Red River Croft looks out over them both but especially where they meet, one running … Continue reading

Posted in clouds, coasts, environment, experiencing nature, photography, Scotland, weather | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments