Former University student to feature on new banknote

A former University of Aberdeen student has been selected to appear on the Royal Bank of Scotland's new £5 note.

Nan Shepherd, one of the first women to graduate from the University, will feature on the note when it comes into circulation later this year. 

Ms Shepherd graduated in 1915 having completed a degree in Arts and continued on to have a very successful career, shaping what is now the University's School of Education.  During her career, Ms Shepherd went on to write 3 novels and a collection of poems, all of which are set in the North East and incorporate the landscape and environment of the region into their fabric.

The Quarry Wood, Ms Shepherd’s first, and most well-known, novel tells the story of a young crofting woman who came to study at the University and describes both the challenges that she faces as a woman in a largely male-dominated world and the excitement of learning.

Having gained international recognition for this and a further 2 novels, Ms Shepherd went on to write a non-fiction book on hillwalking in the Cairngorms called ‘The Living Mountain’.  Recently republished, The Living Mountain has been described as a ‘less of a hillwalking manual and more of a meditation on the experience of walking in the hills where she describes climbing as a ‘spiritual experience’ that encapsulates a ‘journey into being’.

Professor Alison Lumsden, Professor in English at the University, and expert on Nan Shepherd said:

“It’s extremely exciting to have Nan Shepherd appear on the new banknotes.  Nan was a truly exceptional and evocative writer and her love of the North East of Scotland is clearly evident throughout all of her work. 

“Above all, I am sure Nan Shepherd was chosen because, although nearly 100 years old, her work poses questions that are still highly relevant today.  Nan’s work asks questions about our relationship with the environment and the landscape – and fundamentally, how we renegotiate these relationships in an ever-changing climate.  These are issues that are both pertinent and important for our times. “