Maggie Fergusson

The traditional British hedge is fast vanishing

11 May 2024 9:00 am

The best hedges teem with the biodiversity that plays such a vital part in our future. Yet, since the 1950s, farmers and developers have been destroying them at an alarming rate

We must never lose the treasured Orkneys

13 April 2024 9:00 am

Fertile fields and spectacular sea stacks are matched by an extraordinarily rich, dramatic history. No wonder the islands have been so celebrated for centuries

Four months adrift in the Pacific: a couple’s extraordinary feat of endurance

2 March 2024 9:00 am

When a freak occurrence wrecked the Baileys’ sloop 300 miles from the Galapagos, their chances of rescue were minimal – and one of them couldn’t even swim

The man who loves volcanoes

19 August 2023 9:00 am

Clive Oppenheimer feels a deep kinship with the many volcanoes he has studied. When he is airlifted from Mount Erebus, he suffers ‘the heartache of leaving a lover’

The company of hens could be the best cure for depression

3 June 2023 9:00 am

Their jostling energy and distinct personalities bring joy not only to their owners but increasingly to children in therapy and lonely pensioners in care homes

The stone boats of Celtic saints inspire a bizarre pilgrimage

4 February 2023 9:00 am

In homage to St Magnus, the stonemason Beatrice Searle carries a heavy load from Orkney to Trondheim, following an ancient pilgrims’ way

All the art you’d pay not to own

5 November 2022 9:00 am

‘To my mind,’ Renoir once wrote, ‘a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful and pretty. There are too many unpleasant…

If buttons, balloons or premature burial terrify you, rest assured you’re not alone

1 October 2022 9:00 am

Every summer, during our holiday in Orkney, there is a moment of panic. We’re standing on a dizzying cliff –…

Poor parenting is at the root of our failing schools

30 April 2022 9:00 am

When it comes to education, I’m in two minds, maybe three. I was sent to private schools, including, for my…

The revival of the blacksmith’s craft — a new generation goes at it hammer and tongs

30 October 2021 9:00 am

At Intelligent Life, the Economistmagazine where I worked for some years, it was easy to feel intellectually challenged. Even the…

A narrow escape in Britain’s most treacherous mountain range

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Twenty-five years ago, my cousin Jock, a Scottish priest, rang in shock. Two priest friends, David and Norman, had been…

Orcadian cadences: celebrating the reclusive poet George Mackay Brown

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Maggie Fergusson on the reclusive poet George Mackay Brown

One of the last men-only jobs left — offshore in the North Sea

30 January 2021 9:00 am

As a child, I loved the Ladybird ‘People at Work’ series. I had the ones on the fireman, the policeman,…

Treasures or clutter? The problem of knowing what to keep

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Every so often the past makes a pass at you. An old school report, a train ticket, a curl from…

Above: The Spangled Cotinga of the Amazon Rainforest is one of the seven species known to fly-tiers as the Blue Chatterer. Left: The Resplendent Quetzal, found from Chipias, Mexico to Western Panama

The most bizarre museum heist ever

28 April 2018 9:00 am

They don’t look like a natural pair. First there’s the author, Kirk Wallace Johnson, a hero of America’s war in…

Light at the end

26 August 2017 9:00 am

It’s an irony of our secular age that the more we fear death, the more enticing we find it. The…