Writer Nan Shepherd to feature on £5 notes

Scottish novelist and poet Nan Shepherd

The Royal Bank of Scotland said its Scottish board chose Scottish novelist and poet Nan Shepherd to feature on its new £5 note when it comes into circulation later this year.

RBS said Shepherd will be the first woman to feature on its main issue bank notes.

The choice of Shepherd for the £5 note follows the recent public vote that led to Scottish scientist Mary Somerville being chosen to feature on new RBS £10 notes which will enter circulation in 2017.

“It is thrilling to see Nan Shepherd celebrated and commemorated in this way,” said Robert Macfarlane, writer and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

“Nan was a blazingly brilliant writer, a true original whose novels, poems and non-fiction broke new ground in Scottish literature, and her influence lives on powerfully today.

“Nan’s book ‘The Living Mountain’ is a slender masterpiece that has brought many thousands of readers to see the Scottish landscape with fresh, astonished eyes.

“In person as in language, Nan followed her own path — she was a woman of fierce independence and inspiring vision.

“It is just wonderful news that she will now become known to millions more people in Scotland and beyond.”

Malcolm Buchanan, chair, RBS Scotland Board, said: “The Royal Bank of Scotland has never before featured a woman on its main issue bank notes.

“It gives me enormous pleasure that we are able to celebrate the fantastic, and often overlooked, achievements of two great Scottish women.

“Both made huge contributions in their respective fields.”

The reverse of the new £5 note features two mackerel, the single most valuable stock for the Scottish fishing industry, as well as an excerpt from the poem ‘The Choice’ by Sorley MacLean.

Behind the portrait sits a picture of the Cairngorms, beloved by Nan Shepherd and celebrated in her writing, as well as a quote from her book ‘The Living Mountain’.

The £10 note features two otters at play on the reverse and an excerpt from the poem ‘Moorings’ by Norman MacCaig.

Burntisland Beach, where Mary Somerville lived as a child, features behind the portrait, along with a quote from her work ‘The Connection of the Physical Sciences’.

The new notes will be printed on De La Rue’s Safeguard® Polymer material and will also contain a variety of new security features, “making them difficult to counterfeit but easy to authenticate,” said RBS.