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Book of the month: The Unremembered Places

Exploring the beauty, mystery and wildness of Scotland's unremembered places.

Non-fiction isn’t for everyone. It certainly isn’t a genre I tend to read unless it's connected to a subject I’m interested in, like writing or editing, or books about books. Written well, a non-fiction book can transport you to different places, increase your knowledge of a particular topic, and broaden your perspective.

The Unremembered Places

Why is non-fiction difficult to read?

It is harder to build a mental picture if you don’t have some background knowledge about the content of a non-fiction work. Many readers find non-fiction easiest to dip into rather than take on holiday or read just before bed. It often comes down to selecting the right non-fiction work based on your purpose and interests. For example, if you wish to write a novel set in the 1920s, you might like to find something light to get you started before diving into a more in-depth work.

The joy of reading (Unplash)

A wild adventure

I chose to read Unremembered Places because of my own ties to Scotland. I was a little hesitant, given my preference for reading fiction, but as soon as I started reading, I knew I was in for a treat. The Unremembered Places tells of Scotland’s forgotten landscapes, places across the country that capture the mystery and beauty of past and present. The author takes us on a wild journey through mountain passes, across desolate moorland, and inside ancient caves. He writes with curiosity and passion, and his descriptions capture the wild spirit of the places he explores.

A Scottish landscape (Unplash)

On Patrick Baker

As can be deduced from his published works – The Unremembered Places and Cairngorms: A Secret History – Patrick Baker is an outdoor enthusiast. He has traversed many of Scotland’s wild and beautiful landscapes and ventured overseas to explore the varied terrains of Europe. When he isn’t walking or writing books, he works as a writer for an investment management company and has experience working in the publishing industry.

Ancient landscapes (Unplash)

On history and geography

The book is a successful blend of history, geography and personal experience. The nine chapters are packed with historical facts and geographical details as Baker explores the forgotten histories of settlements and structures across Scotland. His fusion of travelogue and historical narrative builds connections between past and present, history and literature, geography and industry, and finally, people and places.

Wild Scotland (Unplash)

On personal experience

Baker’s ability to make readers feel as if they are walking and paddling alongside him is partly what makes this book so compelling. He ties the factual elements of the book to the emotional side of his journey, providing readers with an insight into his own experience and response to the landscapes he traverses. Scotland becomes a wild, beautiful and haunting place, where past and present coexist. The book is brought together by the author’s passion for the great outdoors, his light sense of humour, and his unquenchable curiosity for the wild Scottish landscape and its stories.

A hiker in the mist (Unplash)

To sum up


A book about Scotland and the past may not be your cup of tea, but for those of you with Scottish heritage or an interest in the country and its landscapes, you might hopefully be convinced to give The Unremembered Places a try. Even if you don’t read this book, perhaps you'll be tempted to try a non-fiction work related to your area of interest, however niche or broad.

Do you have a favourite non-fiction book? We'd love you to share the title and your thoughts in the comments.



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