Reading list

Read more about Scottish women adventurers and mountaineers


In addition to the extensive list of books and other items provided here, the National Library of Scotland is also an important centre for the study of mountains, mountaineering, and the polar regions. For details of these collections visit the Libary's mountaineering and polar collections pages.


Isabella Bird Bishop

'A lady's life in the Rocky Mountains' (New York: G P Putnams's Sons, 1879-1880) [National Library of Scotland shelfmark: ABS.2.94.79].

'Among the Tibetans by Isabella Bird Bishop with illustrations by Edward Whymper' (New York: Fleming H Revell, 1894) [Shelfmark: AB.2.81.35].

'The Hawaiian Archipelago six months among the palm groves, coral reefs, and volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands by Isabella L Bird' (2nd edition: 1876) [Shelfmark: AB.1.81.105].

'The Golden Chersonese and the way thither by Isabella L Bird (Mrs Bishop)' (New York: Putnam, 1883) [Shelfmark: AB.2.82.19].

'Journeys in Persia and Kurdistan' (London: Virago, 1989; originally published — London: John Murray, 1891) [Shelfmark: HP1.89.2326].

'Korea and her neighbours: A narrative of travel, with an account of the recent vicissitudes and present position of the country … with maps and illustrations' (London, 1898) [Shelfmark: K.178.f].

There are many more books written by and about Isabella which can be found in Library Search by using her name as a search term.


Ella Christie

'Through Khiva to golden Samarkand: The remarkable story of a woman's adventurous journey alone through the deserts of Central Asia to the heart of Turkestan' by Ella Christie (1918) [Shelfmark S.18.b].

She also co-authored 'A summer ride through western Tibet' (1906) [Shelfmark: S.11.d].

'A long look at life: By two Victorians, Ella Christie … & Alice King Stewart, etc [With plates, including portraits]' [Shelfmark: R.197.c].

'Fare and physic of a past century' compiled by Alice M Stewart and Ella R Christie [Shelfmark: T.120.f].

'Ration recipes' compiled by Ella R Christie [Shelfmark: 1939.41].


Una Cameron

Some of Una Cameron's journals [Library reference: Acc.10384/15 and Acc.10384/16] are in the Library's manuscripts holdings and form part of the Library's mountaineering collections.


Jane Inglis Clark / Ladies Scottish Climbing Club

'Pictures and memories' (Edinburgh, 1938) [Shelfmark: GB/A.3719].

'Ladies Scottish Climbing Club journal', Nos 1-6 1929-1978, no 7, 1998 [Shelfmark PER].

'Rising to the challenge: 100 years of the Ladies Scottish Climbing Club, 1908-2008' (2010) [Shelfmark: HB2.210.11.688].


Isobel Wylie Hutchison

'Flowers in the Snow: The life of Isobel Wylie Hutchison' by Gwyneth Hoyle (University of Nebraska Press, 2005) [Shelfmark: H3.203.0595].

'Greenland's flowery valleys (With plates)' London, 1932 [Shelfmark: Wordie.1388 (4)].

'On Greenland's closed shore: The fairyland of the Arctic, etc.' Edinburgh, 1930 [Shelfmark: S.70.e and Wordie.768].

'The Aleutian Islands: America's back door' (Earlier edition has title 'Stepping Stones for Alaska to Asia'.) [Shelfmarks: S.65.i and Wordie.1483].

'Flowers and farming in Greenland: With illustrations and lists of species (reprinted from 'The Scottish geographical magazine', vol. xlvi) [Shelfmark: Wordie.1440(3)].

'Greenland's flowery valleys (With plates)' Shelfmark: Wordie.1388(4)].

'Lyrics from Greenland: With … plates from water-colour sketches by the author' [Shelfmark: T.31.h (General) and Wordie.527 (Special Collections)].

'North to the rime-ringed sun: Being the record of an Alaskan-Canadian journey made in 1933-34 [With plates, including portraits]' [Shelfmarks: S.60.g and Wordie.754].

A prolific film-maker, there are also various films shot by Isobel in our Moving Image Archive — although, due to copyright restrictions, they can only be accessed on Library premises. The most common theme focuses on the life and activities of local people. These are listed here roughly in order from most to least 'adventurous', although all give a taste of life, culture, geography and botany in fascinating locations.


Vicky Jack

'The Sky's the limit: The story of Vicky Jack and her quest to climb the seven summits' [Shelfmark: HB2.208.10.1906].


Evelyn McNicol

'Tents in the clouds: The first women's Himalayan expedition (With plates, including portraits, and maps)' by Monica Jackson and Elizabeth Stark [Shelfmark: NF.1281.d.1].

'Scottish Field', April 1951 — a feature about Evelyn's expedition to Arctic Norway [Shelfmark: NJ.285/1 PER].


'The Living Mountain' by Nan Shepherd

Nan Shepherd was born in 1893 near Aberdeen and from a young age was happiest outdoors. She was a keen hill-walker and her poetry expresses her love for the mountainous Grampian landscape. While a student at Aberdeen university, she wrote poems for the student magazine, but it wasn't until 1934 that an anthology of her poetry, 'In the Cairngorms', was published [Shelfmark T.31.i].

During the 1940s she wrote 'The Living Mountain' [Shelfmark: HP1.78.4966]. It is a moving and eloquent reflection of her experiences walking in the Cairngorm Mountains though she chose not to publish it until 1977. Nan Shepherd died at the age of 88 in Aberdeen and is commemorated in Makars' Court, outside the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh.


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