thegranitesea is a blog by Anna Fleming, a writer, climber and Mountain Leader.
I climb, walk and swim, exploring the outdoors through body and mind. I am curious about how we experience natural environments, the cultural layerings of place, the more-than-human world and deeper time. This blog began as a space for writings and reflections on the Cairngorms, when I began working there in 2017. It now contains musings on other places further afield.
My debut book, Time on Rock: A Climber’s Route into the Mountains, was published by Canongate in 2022. Time on Rock offers a climber’s eye view of the natural world, tracing a geological and personal journey across the British Isles over ten years. The story takes us from the gritstone rocks of the Peak District and Yorkshire to the gabbro pinnacles of the Cuillin, the slate of North Wales and the high plateau of the Cairngorms.
“Refreshing . . . she writes beautifully about landscape, and her passion for these ancient formations is physical and poetic” ― Observer
“So detailed that it’s almost cinematic” ― Scotsman
“Like a climber scanning the crags for the next line, I’m left wanting to read more of her work” – Times Literary Supplement
I won the Moniack Mhor Travel Writers Award (2020), the Hugh Miller Writing Competition (2019-20), was shortlisted for Lancaster University’s Future Places Essay Prize (2021) and was awarded the K Blundell Trust grant from the Society of Authors (2020)
My work has appeared in the Guardian, Psychology Today, UKClimbing and I am a regular contributor to Caught by the River. I have had my writing published in anthologies including, Waymaking and Women on Nature.
From 2017-8 I worked as Education and Inclusion Officer for the Cairngorms National Park Authority, and since then I have continued to work for them in a freelance position. In 2019 I managed a Writer-in-Residence project, supporting local writer Merryn Glover to deliver creative writing workshops for communities across the Cairngorms, as well as producing an anthology of new creative writing, Shared Stories: A Year in the Cairngorms. Over 2021-2, I worked on the first ever Cairngorms Youth Fund, facilitating a group of young people to co-design, run and deliver a Fund for young people within the Cairngorms.
My PhD, ‘Wordsworth, Creativity and Cumbrian Communities’ (2017) examines how the communities of the Lake District shaped Wordsworth’s writing.
For an introduction to the blog, read Cairngorm Colours