September 11, 2019

Why are Scotland’s wild places owned by so few people, isn’t it time they were cared for in a way that benefits all of us?

John Burns

NovellaSky Dance, 2019

Roughly 600 people own most of Scotland, nowhere in Europe is land ownership concentrated in the hands of so few. Much of this land ownership dates back to medieval times. Many land owners have traditionally used these wild places to hunt deer and shoot birds, activities which are heavily subsidised by us, the tax payers. Deer stalking and driven grouse shooting dominate vast areas and do enormous damage to our environment and our wildlife, turning our hills into blood soaked deserts. What benefits do the people of Scotland, gain from these practices?

As a hillwalker I spent many years wandering the mountains of Scotland, simply ticking off Munros and failing to ask what was happening to the places I loved. Sky Dance is a novel that follows two hillwalkers as their eyes slowly open to what is taking place around them and decide to take on the establishment. It’s a book about what happens to our land, our heritage, our wildlife. Questions that will decide what kind of Scotland we pass on to future generations. Through Sky Dance I want engage outdoor folk by asking them important questions about what is happening to the land beneath their feet.