The Company of Swans

The Company of Swans


This beautiful record, on fine paper, is Crumley's homage to these noble creatures, but it is also an elegy, a love song to one swan whose silent tragedy he watched from one season to the next.

‘A small mound on white feathers lies on a tussock of grass made grey by a Highland winter. It is all the monument there will ever be to the life of a swan.’

With these words, and those that follow, Jim Crumley has ensured that there will be a more enduring witness to the life of this swan, and of all swans, than that pyre of white feathers.

Crumley watches, year in year out, as a pair of mute swans struggles, against the odds, to raise young on a wild patch of lock. But the pen starts to lose her eggs to predators; and the cob begins to disappear for longer and longer periods. Until comes the day when a third swan, stronger and younger than the first pen, appears at the other end of the loch.

This journal of a swan-watcher, as he calls himself, is an elegy to these noble creatures; and most poignantly it is a memorial to one swan, whose silent drama he has recorded.


  • A book to be treasured
    Rosamund Young, author of The Secret Life of Cows

About the authors

Jim Crumley

Jim Crumley was born in Dundee in 1947. His love of nature was born and nurtured among the fields, hills and shores of Angus where he spent his childhood. After 25 years as a journalist, he turned to writing books in 1988. His thirty titles, many about the nature and landscape of Scotland, include The Last Wolf and The Eagle’s Way, which was shortlisted for a Saltire Society award. His new Encounters in the Wild series, published by Saraband, sees Jim get up close and personal with Britain’s favourite animals. The Nature of Autumn (2016) was longlisted for the Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Richard Jefferies Society and White Horse Bookshop Literary Prize. His latest book is The Nature of Winter (2017).
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Harry Brockway (Illustrator)

Harry Brockway was born in 1958 and studied sculpture at Kingston Art School and at the Royal Academy, where he learned engraving. He makes a living as a stonemason as well as a wood engraver.
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