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The Sweet Especial Scene



Published 2018. PlaySpace Publications

In Autumn Voices twenty-two Scottish writers, representing over 150 years of varied life experience since passing the age of 70, speak to us from a point where experience is at its maximum, perspective at its broadest and mastery of craft near its peak: Sheena Blackhall, Larry Butler, Jenni Calder, A,C,Clarke, Stewart Conn, David Donnison, Douglas Dunn, Sally Evans, Vicki Feaver, Lee Gershuny, Alasdair Gray, Diana Hendry, Richard Holloway, James Kelman, Robin Lloyd-Jones, Carl MacDougall, Bernard MacLaverty, Alison Prince, Pauline Prior-Pitt, John Purser, Sheila Templeton.                 

 All of them show that productivity and creativity can be extended well into later life and provide role models for future generations. These are men and women who see old age as life’s last great adventure and who have chosen to embrace it, to regard it as a new and interesting phase of life, full of possibilities, while also accepting the losses age brings with honesty, courage and even humour. Through their lives and their writing they demonstrate  qualities, values and attitudes which contribute to successful ageing and continuing creativity. We have much to learn from them

Samples & discussion:





Published 2014. Two Ravens Press. Colour photographs.


Robin Lloyd-Jones writes about landscapes and seascapes which have left a deep impression on him, and conveys responses to his own very personal sweet especial scenes. The 28 pieces form an intricate mosaic which sensitively creates a portrait of nature, wilderness and culture in many forms. From the colours of the Clyde, the vibrancy of Colombia, to night kayaking, walks in the Scottish glens, paddling into Mackinnon’s Cave and the fjords of Greenland this collection invites and encourages the reader to share this very special world.

This book is a picture of an especial sensibility to the essential world.  The author includes an unassuming discussion of his practice of meditation and he writes mindfully of a minded world where empathy extends to everything..... Landscape is mindscape - it 'has a voice.  It shouts, it sings, it murmurs, it whispers' and does so in a multivocal range which the author's acute listening renders for the reader in beautiful prose.  Sea is a character in its own right, here, as is River and Rain ..... His is a mindscape curiosity-swept and keen with enthusiasm, for art as much as nature; human culture as well as natural culture: This book invites and encourages you to experience this world on land, on water, in sunlight, in moonlight, outdoors in sweet, especial scenes or indoors in sweet, especial books.(Jay Griffiths in the Foreword to The Sweet Especial Scene)


Robin Lloyd-Jones will be familiar to readers as the author of the excellent ‘The Sunlit Summit: the life of W. H. Murray’reviewed in last year’s SMCJ. I remember many years ago being inspired by his “Argonauts of the Western Isles” when I started sea-kayaking. Twenty eight short pieces cover a wide range of his experiences and observations from close to home in the Arrochar hills to far flung corners the world such as Greenland and Colombia, interspersed with some poetry and fiction. All are carefully crafted and easy to read. Highly recommended.” (Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal)



 “It feels like the whole of humanity and its story honed down into one crafted volume dealing not only with the joy of being on the move, the joy of the natural world but with the joy at the core of the human spirit. Quite simply it makes you feel good.” (Jan Pester, film-maker, poet)


THE SUNLIT SUMMIT: The Life of W.H. Murray


Published 2013. Sandstone Press. Colour and black & white photographs

Winner of Satlire Scociety’s Research Book of the Year Award


William Hutchison Murray (1913 - 1996) was one of Scotland's most distinguished climbers in the years before and after the Second World War. As a prisoner of war in Italy he wrote his first classic book, Mountaineering in Scotland, which was confiscated and destroyed by the Gestapo. The rewritten version was published in 1947 and followed by the, now, equally famous, Undiscovered Scotland. In 1951 he was depute leader to Eric Shipton on the Everest Reconnaissance Expedition which spotted the route that was used for the first successful ascent in 1953. In later years he wrote some of the best Scottish guidebooks ever written and became a pioneer conservationist. The Sunlit Summit was awarded Saltire Society Research Book of the Year 2013


Robin Lloyd-Jones treats the reader to a masterclass in the biographer’s art. You emerge with a sense of having gained as deep an understanding as will ever be possible of a remarkable man.” (Undiscovered Scotland)


A finely crafted new biography .... Robin Lloyd-Jones has done a superb job.” (Scottish Mountaineer)


The Sunlit Summit is a masterly biography – in terms of mountaineering books I would put it on an equal footing with Jim Perrin’s wonderful biography of Menlove.” (The Scots Magazine).


There need be no other biography of W. H. Murray.”  (Robert McFarlane in the Foreword to The Sunlit Summit)




Published 2007. Whittles Publishing. Colour and black & white photographs


Robin Lloyd-Jones has been exploring the enchanting west coast of Scotland in his sea kayak for more than forty years. He takes us on many a memorable expedition to wild and beautiful shores. Amongst magnificent scenery and ever-changing seas we are transported to Jura, Scarba, the Garvellach Isles, Mull, Staffa, the Treshnish Isles, the Monach Isles, Iona, Lewis and the Uists, Skye, the Orkneys and the Shetland Isles -  to places with music in their names like Tir Nan Og, the land of the ever young. Along the way the author tells us a great deal about the wildlife and history of the area but, more than that, he makes us feel we are with him in his kayak. We know the terror of a force nine gale, the tranquility of moonlit trips and the lure of tiny bays and seal-meadows accessible only to a slim kayak. We encounter dolphins, otters, unidentified monsters and nuclear submarines. This is a book to set the imagination adrift and appeal to the Robinson Crusoe in all of us; a book for those seeking wider horizons, be their vessel a kayak or an armchair. 

The author paints a vivid picture of life close to nature as his adventures take him amongst otters, dolphins, sea birds and some unidentified life forms, on one of Britain’s most picturesque and enchanting coastlines." (Yorkshire Evening Post)


Moods and images of the beautiful, intriguing and mystical, the dramatic and breathtaking.” (Mail on Sunday)


This is a special book. Most kayak writing comes from kayakers who bash out their stories as best they can. By contrast, Robin is a writer who kayaks. Some descriptions are close to poetry.” (Ocean Paddler)


The yarns unfold over four decades as we share his sense of adventure and wonder at the magical environment, along with engrossing historical asides and pithy anecdotes on sea kayaking technique and practice. ...... You can revel in the lyrical evocation of his many island jaunts as well as the modest recounting of the occasional near disaster that readers of such books expect. The author is as accomplished a writer as he is an expert sea kayaker.”  (online review)


His tales are interesting, well written and told with an engaging sense of humour. ‘Argonauts of the Western Isles’ is highly recommended.” (Qayaq Magazine)



Fallen Pieces of the Moon



Published 2006. Whittles Publishing.  Colour and black & white photographs


An account of a kayak trip along the west coast of Greenland: Turreted fairytale peaks, glistening snowfields, waterfalls plunging over immense cliffs into the sea, a million tons of iceberg capsizing. Woven into the day-to-day account of contending with unsettled weather, unstable icebergs and midges and bugs by the billion are insights into Inuit culture – their language, their shamanic practices, their hunting and navigation techniques and much more. Told with humour, the book is endlessly informative and entertaining on topics ranging from cannibalism, kayak rolling and Inuit string games to cargo cults or how the invention of bully beef influenced naval tactics. Fallen Pieces of the Moon is a celebration of a sparse, ancient landscape. It describes days of absolute stillness, ephemeral cloudscapes and the ever-present icebergs like cathedrals of glass or floating jewels.


A well-written book that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. It does a good job of communicating something of the wonder and awe that Greenland inspired in the author. For anyone interested in Arctic and Inuit history and culture, this is the perfect sea kayaking book to enjoy while curled up in front of a warm fire.” (Qayaq Magazine)


It is one of the most engaging kayak books I have read in a long time and it comes thoroughly recommended to paddlers of all abilities.” (Sea Paddler Magazine)


A book with a difference! Robin Lloyd-Jones takes the reader on a journey through a wonderland of snow, ice, giant cliffs and a look at the west coast of Greenland that few people other than the native Inuit can have seen …. Thanks must surely go to the author for allowing the reader a glimpse of a mysterious land and its people.” (Sea Breezes)



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