TAKE NOTE; BEFORE She Appeared on the Royal Bank of Scotland's New Fiver, Nan Shepherd Had Been Forgotten by History

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), April 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

TAKE NOTE; BEFORE She Appeared on the Royal Bank of Scotland's New Fiver, Nan Shepherd Had Been Forgotten by History


Byline: EDITED BY MELANIE HARVEY ANNA BURNSIDE

poet and nature lover from the north-east was just a footnote.

Not any more. Later this year, Shepherd will appear on the RBS's PS5 note, set against the backdrop of her beloved Cairngorms.

Millions of people who will never read her novels, poetry or essays will see her face when they buy a drink or pay for a newspaper.

She's not the first woman on a Scottish banknote. That was missionary Mary Slessor, who appeared on the Clydesdale Bank tenner in 1997.

There was uproar in 2013 when the Bank of England planned to replace prison reformer Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on its PS5 note. (His place was eventally taken by Jane Austen.) So supporters of Scottish women's literature are delighted RBS are putting Nan Shepherd and scientist Mary Somerville on their paper currency.

Sue Gyford of Glasgow Women's Library said: "Nan Shepherd was such a surprising choice, I'm absolutely thrilled. Her writing was so important but so many people don't know anything about her.

"Her book The Living Mountain is an astounding piece of work. It's such a change for nature writing, it's not about getting to the top or conquering nature. It's about feeling it and being there, lying on a hill and letting it all happen."

Nan Shepherd was born in 1893 in Peterculter. The family moved to Cults, where she stayed most of her life, studying at Aberdeen University then lecturing at the city's College of Education.

Her first novel, The Quarry House, was published in 1928. She went on to produce two more over the next five years. All are set in insular Scots communities, looking at women who are torn between family and the exciting new opportunities offered by the modern age.

The board of RBS in Scotland picked Nan Shepherd. Another woman, Victorian science writer Mary Somerville, was the DECISION Malcolm Buchanan, of RBS public's choice to appear on the new PS10 note.

Chairman Malcolm Buchanan said: "It gives me enormous pleasure that we are able to celebrate the fantastic and often overlooked achievements of two great Scottish women. …

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