Stories that bring the world together

To see what others have said about The Hidden Fires, follow the links below. If you’ve read it, please do add your own review on Amazon, Goodreads or other retailer sites. If you would like to feature the book in your publication, site or broadcast, please contact Polygon Books for a review copy.


26 May 2023 ‘… vividly perceived and powerfully expressed…’ John Dempster Inverness Courier

April edition of Scottish Field – 5 star review: ‘…a pilgrimage that is touching, elemental, brave and deeply affecting.’

10 March 2023 “This book will sit comfortably and deservedly on the same shelf as Nan Shepherd’s masterpiece.” Alan Massie The Scotsman

March 2023 “An evocative and immersive slice of travel writing about how the beauty and grandeur of the Cairngorms spoke to her soul.” Waterstones

27 Feb 2023 “A truly inspiring and beautiful book about the Cairngorm mountains, our natural world, and beyond.” Star Book, Review by Liz Robinson, Love Reading

9 Jan 2023 “Glover writes so well about mountains.” David Robinson, Scotsman Ones to Watch in 2023


16 April 2023 Conversation with Breege Smyth on Sunday Morning Breakfast with Breege for Oban FM. Search here under that title and date. We are at 21 minutes in.

14 April 2023 Conversation with Nicola Meighan on The Afternoon Show for BBC Radio Scotland. We’re at 1:43.

10 April 2023 Conversation with Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn podcast about Writing Nature Memoir (The full transcript is also available there to read)

13 March 2023 Talking about Nan Shepherd with Paul Murton on Grand Tours of Scotland’s Rivers Series 2, Episode 1 (My segment is right at the beginning)

12 March 2023 “As I follow her in recounting the ‘grace accorded from the mountain’, I sense her blessing.” My article in the Courage issue of Books from Scotland

11 March 2023 “On my first ascent of the great mountain, I could barely believe how benign she was.” Extract from The Hidden Fires about Braeriach  WalkHighlands

8 March 2023 “Like Shepherd, my love of mountains is as old as my memory, but the ground of my childhood was the Himalayas.” Remembering Nan Shepherd on International Women’s Day – Cairngorms Voices – Cairngorms National Park

02 March 2023 Hidden Fires Book Launch Strathspey & Badenoch Herald

26 Feb 2023  Interview with Tony Kearney and Lise Wortley on Radio Scotland Sunday Morning at 1:40

26 Feb 2023 “Setting out on the journey not knowing the destination.” Interview with Alice Hinds Sunday Post

18 Feb 2023 “These peaks were her friends and she loved them.” Profile by Neil Drysdale Press & Journal

Feb 2023 “Nan Shepherd: Exhibition to mark 130th birthday of environmentalist” The National

Here’s a (growing) list of Scots and Gaelic words that appear in my writing and sometimes baffle folks from other parts. If you discover more that need definitions, do let me know.

ben – mountain or hill

cairn – pile of stones, often at a summit, though also marking a pass or waypoint

corrie – a steep-sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountainside; a glacial cirque

dreich – dreary, bleak (especially of weather)

glen – valley

loch – lake

lochan – small lake

smirr – fine drifting rain or drizzle, so thin it is almost mist

strath – a large wide valley, typically a river valley



These are the main characters from my Cairngorms-set novel, Of Stone and Sky, roughly in order of appearance or importance.

Mo Smith – primary narrator, minister turned publican, like a sister to Colvin & Sorley

Colvin Munro – a Highland shepherd, born & raised on the farm of Rowancraig Estate, disappears

Sorley Munro – his younger brother, left at 17 to make his fortune in the City, secondary narrator

Agnes Munro – their mother, a Highland Traveller by heritage, married into the farm

Gideon Munro ‘Gid’ – their father, a shepherd on Rowancraig all his life apart from service in WW2

Donald Munro – Gid’s father

Phamie Munro – Gid’s mother

Beulah Duggins – Gid’s sister, housekeeper at Rowancraig Estate

Archie Duggins – from Yorkshire, gamekeeper on Rowancraig Estate, Beulah’s husband

Liana Munro – Colvin’s wife

Tess Munro – Colvin & Liana’s daughter

Alex Munro – Colvin & Liana’s son

Dougie MacPherson ‘Mr Mac’ – Gid’s best friend, forester and ecologist

Margaret MacPherson ‘Mrs Mac’ – Dougie’s wife and friend to Agnes

Fachie MacPherson – Dougie’s son and Colvin’s best friend

Lord Edgar Mackintosh – owner of Rowancraig Estate, the laird

Kirat Aggarwal – wealthy Malaysian American businessman

Vivian Aggarwal ‘Viv’ – English, Kirat’s wife

Rahesh Aggarwal – Kirat & Viv’s son, a lawyer

Minor characters:

Nellie Pegg – one time maid at Rowancraig House

Annabelle – Sorley’s ex-girlfriend

Carrick Devlin – Sorley’s boss in Sydney

Major Walter Hoare-Cressington ‘ Watty’ – owner of Logie Estate, south of Rowancraig

Lady Miranda Hoare-Cressington – Watty’s wife

Plus assorted even-more-minor characters

To see what others have said about Of Stone and Sky, follow the links below. If you’ve read it, please do add your own review on AmazonGoodreads or other retailer sites. If you would like to feature the book in your publication, site or broadcast, please contact Polygon Books for a review copy.


Book of the Year 2021 – Bookmark Festival Article in The Herald

Longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2021


05 May 2023 “There is a very strong spiritual strain running through the book… giving it a powerful redemptive theme.” Rev Prof Ian Bradley in The Church Times

19 Feb 2022 “Unfolds impressively and with a sweeping scope, dispelling romantic notions of the Highlands to acknowledge its material realities, and doing it through diverse, well-developed characters, before capping it with a satisfying ending.”   The Herald

05 Aug 2021 “It’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read, outstanding Scottish literary fiction and a real contender for my book of the year.” Joanne Baird of the Portobello Book Blog

06 June 2021 “It’s immensely readable – and overflowing with grace.” John Dempster for the Inverness Courier (& other Highland News Group papers)

15 May 2021 “I adored the writing: it’s a gorgeous, poetic story full of big themes: love, grief, ecology, politics, history and community… One of my favourite books ever.” Sarah for ScotLitDaily

May 2021 “With the most wonderful blend of stark plot lines mixed with richly descriptive detailing, this is a beautifully readable novel.” Liz Robinson for LoveReading website

Spring 2021 “Ranks with the finest of nature writing.” Neil Reid for Scottish Mountaineer magazine

3 May 2021 “A book which explores love, both the love of people for one another – brothers, youngsters, couples – and love of the place in which they live.” Vee Walker on her blog

21 April 2021 “Of Stone And Sky is a rich stew of a novel, one with a Victorian complexity of plot, a family saga which is also a socio-economic survey of Highlands history over almost 300 years… A considerable achievement.” Alan Massie for The Scotsman newspaper


05 May 2023 The Church Times podcast interview with Rev Prof Ian Bradley

22 April 2022 On Northern Bibliosphere podcast: Land, Communities & Identities

June 2021  My article on Society of Authors in Scotland blog: On the Trail of the Lost Shepherd

26 June 2021 Best Summer Reads – Susan Swarbrick for Herald Scotland

May 2021 Feature by Dawn Geddes in The Scots Magazine

22 May 2021 Interview with Nora McElhone for Dundee Courier

May 2021 Conversation on John Burns Podcast

2 May 2021 Article by me for the Sunday Post about my relationship with the Cairngorms

23 Feb 2021 Feature on Nan Shepherd in Dundee Courier by Gayle Ritchie including section on me

Below are written sources that I drew from in my research for the novel Of Stone and Sky. My greatest sources, however, were the people who live and work in this area and who so generously shared their stories with me. They are included in the acknowledgements in the book.

Bishop, Bruce, Lost Badenoch & Strathspey
Forestry Commission Scotland, Glenmore & Rothiemurchus in the 20th Glen, Ann, Old Kingussie and Badenoch
Grant, I.F., An Old Highland Farm; Highland Folk Ways
Gray, Affleck, Legends of the Cairngorms
Goodall, Steve, People of the Moor and Strath; People of the Clachans; People of Conviction, Rebellion and Enlightenment; People of the Railways and Village
Gunn, Donald & Spankie, Mari, The Highland Clearances
Macdonald, Fiona, The History of Scotland for Children
MacPherson, Sandra, A Strange & Wild Place
Marshall, Meryl, Glen Feshie, The History & Archaeology of a Highland Glen
Rennie, James Alan, Romantic Strathspey, Its Lands, Clans & Legends
Russell, Helen, The Past Around Us: History of the Parish of Alvie & Insh

Scarlett, Meta, In the Glens Where I was Young
Sinton, Thomas, minister of Dores, The Poetry of Badenoch
Taylor, John, The Wild Black Region

Barr, Donald & Brian, The Spey, From Source to Sea
Davies, John, The Scottish Forester
McIntosh, Alastair, Soil and Soul; Rekindling Community
Monbiot, George, Feral
Shepherd, Nan, The Living Mountain
SNH, Scotland, The Creation of its Natural Landscape

Hunter Prof, James, On the Other Side of Sorrow; From the Low Tide of the Sea to the Highest Mountain Tops; The Making of the Crofting Community
Wightman, Andy, The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland (And How They Got it)

Eden, Ronald, Going to the Moors
The Field magazine
Williamson, Jamie, History & Challenges of Running a Highland Estate in Badenoch

Clarke, Reay, Two Hundred Years of Farming in Sutherland
Duncan, Tom, Magic Moments, Four Seasons on a Scottish Hill Farm
Rebanks, James, The Shepherd’s Life, A Tale of the Lake District
Slimon, Campbell, Stells, Stools, Strupag: A personal reminiscence of sheep, shepherding, farming and the social activities of a Highland Parish
Thomson, Iain R., Isolation Shepherd

Documents from the Highland Folk Museum
Neat, Timothy, The Summer Walkers, Travelling People & Pearl Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland
Smith, Jess, Jessie’s Journey
Williamson, Duncan, Fireside Tales of the Traveller Children

Dennis, Roy, Birds of Badenoch & Strathspey
RSPB Handbook of British Birds

Fletcher, Susan, Corrag
Gunn, Neil, Highland River; Butchers Broom; The Silver Darlings
Jenkins, Robin, The Cone Gatherers

MacCaig, Norman
MacLean, Sorley

McGrath, John, The Cheviot, the Stag & the Black, Black Oil

Cairngorms Nature Action Plan 2013-2018
Stronach’s Short History of Agricultural Tenancy Legislation
Summary of Land Reform Acts 1999-2003
432:50 SAC Land Reform Paper – July 2013
The Land of Scotland and the Common Good – May 2014
Summary of Land Reform Review Group Report – 23 May 2014
Land Reform in Scotland: Final Report Mar 2015
EA & HTC Submission to RACCEE Committee
Alastair McIntosh’s letter to Land Reform Team Feb 2015
Consultation on the Future of Land Reform – Analysis of Responses , 2015