"Art & Nature in the Outer Hebrides" by Bruce Kendrick is a deeply personal, idiosyncratic and fascinating book that should be considered an essential companion for anyone planning a visit to the Western Isles or Outer Hebrides. There are plenty of guide books available that tell you what to see and do and where to stay and eat in the Western Isles, but Bruce Kendrick isn't in competition with any of them. This is a book that gets you thinking about what lies beneath the surface presented by the more usual guide books: about the archipelago's people, especially its artists, and about the rich natural world of the islands. This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and one I will keep to hand and read again before my next visit to the Outer Hebrides.
You get a sense of the author's approach and the contents of the book from the publisher's description: "The Outer Hebrides is an island archipelago on the remotest north-western periphery of a bigger island archipelago, itself part of Europe’s Atlantic coastline. And what is Atlantic Europe if not the north-western tip of the vast land mass of Eurasia? Here is an unrivalled sense of place, on the edge, the periphery, the brink. Bruce Kendrick has been visiting these islands, regularly, since 1970.
"Art & Nature in the Outer Hebrides combines his highly commendable nature writing with fascinating stories of folk he has met over the years who create wonderful art and crafts in these remote islands. How do these artists, be they painters, potters, photographers, or poets, interpret their world of nature, their culture, their heritage, here in the wilds of the north-east Atlantic Ocean? Like many worthwhile things in life, making art is not without its challenges. There will be setbacks on any lifelong journey but there will be triumphs too. If there is one trait these Hebridean-based artists do have in common it is their single-minded determination and persistence to create art, in all its many guises, from out of the deep well of their own imagination and their inescapable world of nature’s beauty and inspiration. Bruce is also an accomplished nature photographer and his supporting images of both art and nature in these islands only add to the book’s appeal. So come along and enjoy Bruce’s fine narrative style as he travels from Lewis in the north to Vatersay in the south where nature prevails and art flourishes."