Scotland has long had a love affair with sport.
More famous as the birthplace of golf and for the popularity of sports like football and rugby, this passionate collection of essays brings to life our nation’s relationship with different kinds of sport – ﬁshing and shooting.
Lord James Percy grew up in the untamed landscapes of Northumberland and Scotland and throughout his life has had an appreciation for wildlife and its conservation.
However to say that this book is only about ﬁeld sports would do it and the author a great injustice. We also get a sense of Percy’s respect for the people and the places that make what he does so enjoyable.
With obvious passion, Percy writes about the highs and lows experienced by all shooters and ﬁshermen on every outing as they are forced to do battle with – but also show immense respect for – the natural world. It is this complex relationship with nature on which the author sheds light with some skill.
Though ﬁlled with nostalgia and romanticism, Percy’s rose-tinted specs do not prevent him from giving a very real and up-to-date account of rural life.
He is particularly strong on topics such as the demise of sea trout due to infestations of sea lice and the lack of funds available to national parks to prevent people from exploiting the ‘right to roam’ by destroying fences and disturbing livestock.
His home, Linhope in Northumberland, is where he ‘indoctrinates’ his children, in the same way that he was inducted into a love of all things outdoors as a child.
From his ﬁrst ﬁsh, to the ﬁrst time that he held a gun, we see how the author’s passion for this way of life has been with him virtually from birth.
The way he has raised his children will ensure the countryman’s way of life will not die out any time soon.
A beautifully honest and often comic piece of writing, it is without doubt a must read for lovers of the Scottish and British countryside, hunting and ﬁshing, and all things sporting.
Fields of Dreams: A Journey of Sporting Passion, by Lord James Percy, published by BPG Media, £30.