Posted by Brydon Thomason on Thursday 14th December 2023 | News


At last, after far more years than I care to remember my new book hit the shelves earlier this month. To have written this book is a huge honour. This feels especially so as it is now 35 years since the legendary Shetland naturalist, the late Bobby Tulloch wrote his celebration of our islands and their wildlife, ‘Bobby Tulloch’s Shetland’.

When I first approached my publishers, The Shetland Times a decade ago my proposal was to profile Shetland’s most iconic species throughout the seasons. That always felt the best approach however through time I realized I wanted the book to be about so much more than the wildlife and the islands, but also to share our sense of belonging and pride of place and particularly, our connections to our natural world, past and present.

Gaada Stacks, Foula

To give this book and Shetland the heart and soul it deserves, I have given our wildlife and seasons as wide-ranging overview as I could within 286 pages, a word count of 24,317 and 179 photographs which feature just shy of 80 species – but believe me, there was so much more to say and share! We had to be realistic of its physical size – and weight!

Any photographer to have devoted their work to their homeland will know how hard it is to shortlist, let alone chose the final images for a project like this. To give you an idea of how easy it was to get carried away, the first page count was over 340 with over 250 images!

It is essentially a coffee table picture book, however the subjects and species within are deserving of so much more than pictures alone so the images are accompanied with informative text that puts our most iconic wildlife into seasonal context, and blends historic observations with contemporary insight. Through a combination of research along with my own passion, experiences and memories, I hope I’ve found a relatable tone in my writing style and that through all these – I have done Shetland proud!

I owe so much to my good friends Jon Dunn and Mike Pennington for their help during the editing process and the many others acknowledged within the book for various favours over the years, relating to assignments featured.

Equally, I shall remain eternally grateful to Iolo Williams and Dennis Coutts for their respective Forewords (yes- I have two!) and to Kate Humble, Ann Cleeves and Patrick Barkham for their back cover endorsement quotes, and my publishers, The Shetland Times and all who’ve worked with me on this;

I love Shetland in every season. This book, with its stunning photographs makes me feel I’m there. A must for people passionate about the islands and about natural history in all its forms. Ann Cleeves, author of crime series, Shetland.

Visually stunning, this thought-provoking book is a fitting homage to Shetland’s wildlife by one of the islands’ most celebrated naturalists and photographers.  Thomason shares his deep connection with the natural world that has inspired him all his life, introducing the reader to the iconic species of his homeland and reminding us that it is in all our interests that our wildlife is protected, treasured and most of all, enjoyed. Kate Humble, broadcaster and author.

A beautiful, intimate and informative celebration of the natural history of this most magical archipelago. Brydon Thomason is a Shetlander and this book shines with deep knowledge, local lore and wonder, as well as the latest science. Patrick Barkham, author of The Butterfly Isles, Islander and co-author, Wild Isles.

Read some of the reviews so far:

Order online »

Order online at my publishers The Shetland Times.