The Cairngorms: Scene and Unseen

by Sydney Scroggie


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‘I have discovered that it is not the visual side of things in the hills that constitutes the profoundest aspect of the experience, any more than it is the croak of the ptarmigan, the scent of the heather, the feel of the granite under your fingers, or any other of the merely physical phenomena which are part and parcel of the hills. What draws you there is an inner experience, something psychological, something poetic, which perhaps cannot be fully understood when the physical aspect of things gets in the way when you can see.’

First published in 1989, Syd Scroggie’s classic The Cairngorms Scene and Unseen has stood the test of time as one of the best original accounts of Scotland’s bothy culture.

A Lovat Scout, Syd was a true man of the hills and an ‘inveterate scribbler’. Despite losing his sight and one leg a fortnight before the end of the Second World War, he returned to the Scottish mountains with companions and summited over 600 hills well into his 80s. Syd is frequently quoted as saying, ‘I can do without my eyes, but I can’t do without my mountains,’ and his rich, vivid descriptions of his beloved Cairngorms speak of an insight that transcends the corporeal.

With a foreword by the legendary Tom Weir, this eloquent and inspirational book is a portrait of forbearance and endurance, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in the stories and history of Scottish mountain culture.


Softback with 200 pages
Size: 110mm x 178mm portrait
ISBN: 978-1-907233-41-8

About the author

Born in Canada to Scottish parents, William Sydney Scroggie (1919-2006) was a renowned Dundonian climber, walker, poet and author.

After leaving school, he joined D.C.Thomson, where he was sub-editor on The Hotspur. He taught himself Greek and, in addition to writing The Cairngorms: Scene and Unseen, he published a collection of his poems titled Give Me the Hills in 1978.

In 2000, a cairn was built in Scroggie’s honour on Balluderon Hill in his beloved Sidlaw Hills a rare honour for a living hillwalker. Scroggie walked up the hill for the official unveiling, despite being aged 81 at the time. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Dundee in 2001.