Feeling Wildness on the West Coast of Scotland

The West Coast of Scotland is a landscape known for its exceptional remoteness and rugged terrain – attributes commonly described as wild. My dissertation examined the cultural practices and social dynamics that keep wild places alive. Local communities dependent on seasonal tourism face a dilemma. How do you bring resources in while protecting the quality of wildness that creates value in the first place? What are the social costs of this trade-off? 

One of the central curiosities in my research was wildness itself: a feeling that everyone claimed to have experienced, but no one felt in quite the same way. What was common to these experiences was the perception of being carried away and exceeded by a force that was more than human. Wildness was valuable (and disputed) precisely because it couldn't be programmed or pinned down. Controversies over wild landscapes in Scotland uncovered a message with broader human significance: the need we all have to feel transcendently alive, and the danger of not valuing different ways to get there.

The following images were taken during multiple research trips to Scotland between 2014-2016.



Copyright © Mackenzie Cramblit 2019