The Great Wood of Caledon - the historic native forest of Highland Scotland - has a reputation as potent and misleading as the wolves that ruled it. The popular image is of an impassable, sun-snuffing shroud, a Highlandswide jungle infested by wolf, lynx, bear, beaver, wild white cattle, wild boar, and wilder painted men. Jim Crumley shines a light into the darker corners of the Great Wood, to re-evaluate some of the questionable elements of its reputation, and to assess the possibilities of its partial resurrection into something like a national forest. The book threads a path among relict strongholds of native woodland, beginning with a soliloquy by the Fortingall Yew, the one tree in Scotland that can say of the hey-day of the Great Wood 5,000 years ago: 'I was there.' The journey is enriched by vivid wildlife encounters, a passionate and poetic account that binds the slow dereliction of the past to an optimistic future.

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