Island Years, Island Farm by Frank Fraser Darling (eBook)

“A remarkable portrait of a family adapting to isolation and the extremes of nature, in a land shaped by an unceasing and intimate relationship with its people.” Iain Stewart

Unhappily land-locked in his early adult life, Frank Fraser Darling’s fortunes changed when he began visiting Scotland’s west coast in the 1930s. Surviving treacherous boat journeys, a broken leg, and hell-bent storms, he made temporary homes with his family on some of the remotest Hebridean islands so he could study the habits of grey seals and seabirds. The family finally settled on an abandoned croft in the Summer Isles, on Tanera Mòr, and started farming the barren land.

Read the full introduction by Iain Stewart

E-book edition – e-pub, PDF and MOBI (Kindle) downloaded with purchase.

This book also available as a Nature Classic paperback here.

Cover artwork by Edwin La Dell

Wood engravings by Robert Gibbings



In stock


Frank Fraser Darling was born in a farm stable near Chesterfield. Aged 15 he ran away from school and worked in the Pennines. At agricultural college he met ‘Bobbie’ (Marian Fraser), a fellow student who became his first wife in 1925. He gave up farming in Buckinghamshire for a PhD at Edinburgh University in 1928, and later won a research fellowship to study red deer in the Scottish Highlands. In 1937 he moved to the remote Summer Isles to observe seals and seabirds, and during this time became a pioneer of human ecology. Alongside his scientific work, he wrote many popular books about natural history, including A Herd of Red Deer (1937), Island Years (1940), Island Farm (1943) and the Collins New Naturalist Natural History of the Highlands (1947). His groundbreaking Reith Lectures of 1969, Wilderness and Plenty, foretold a human-made climate change.


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