Making mountains, producing narratives, or: 'One day some poor sod will write their Ph.D. on this'


  • Katrín Lund University of Iceland



This paper looks at ways of narrating mountaineering experiences in Scotland. I shall examine how mountaineers organise and abstract their experiences in the form of lists, logbooks, photographs and drawings, and compare to the official listing of Scotland's topography. My argument is that when storing experiences in various material forms, mountaineers are creating their own personal topographies. These entail narratives invested through the bodily act of moving over the ground on foot. Not only are these narratives a form of play, through which mountaineers reanimate their experiences, but they are also often transformed into documents, such as logbooks, diaries, or collections of photographs and drawings. Although the topographies as created in these documents may appear to be frozen in time, I suggest that they continue to generate the movements in which they are grounded. As such they are part of an unfinished and ultimately unfinishable jigsaw puzzle. This will lead me to consider what anthropologists can learn about their own ways of organising and abstracting their experiences from examining the material culture of mountaineers.

Author Biography

Katrín Lund, University of Iceland

Katrín Lund is a lecturer at the Department of Geology and Geography, University of Iceland. She has done research in southern Spain and the Scottish Highlands. She can be contacted at kl(AT)