by Rebecca Loncraine
I've the great good fortune of spending nine weeks this summer on the west coast of Scotland on a Literature Residency at Cove Park. This remarkable and unique artist's residency centre offers time, space and freedom for artists across all mediums, including performing arts, visual arts, crafts, literature and music, to make new work. Founded in 1999 by Peter and Eileen Jacobs, Cove Park is situated next to Loch Long on the site of a nature reserve. With views across the loch and out towards the sea, Cove Park is an inspiring place to be. It's funded by Creative Scotland, by trusts and foundations, including The Henry Moore Foundation, and by the generosity of individuals. People come from across the world to stay at the centre and distinguished alumni include authors Margaret Atwood and Rachel Cusk, The Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells.
While I'm there, I'll be working on Skybound, my book about flight and the imagination to be published by Picador in 2016. The book is a mix of memoir, travel, adventure, and nature writing and is about how I took up glider flying in the Brecon Beacons of Wales after treatment for breast cancer. The book charts my healing journey through learning to fly without an engine, which lead me to fly in extreme mountain environments in New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Nepal, where I flew with rescued endangered vultures in the foothills of the Himalayas. While I'll be working hard on Skybound during my time at Cove Park, I also hope to travel to Mull with fabulous nature writer Jim Crumley, to see re-introduced sea eagles, now living and successfully breeding on the island after being hunted to extinction.