A blog about a hike across Scotland (and possibly other things)


I am David Brown, a writer living in Baltimore.  From 1991 to 2013 I was a science reporter at The Washington Post, writing about medicine, public health, epidemiology and the life sciences, and occasionally about history and art.  I am also a physician trained in internal medicine who worked as a clinical instructor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine until July 2014.  I am a native of Framingham, Massachusetts, and a graduate of Amherst College.

Should you want to learn a little bit more, I direct your attention to the post “Pat Russell,” which is the last one in “Scotland 2” and can also be found here.



  1. John Schwartz

    David, it’s John, your fellow post Postie and science department alumnus. I just read your wonderful piece in the WaPo about hiking with Will, who is apparently no longer six years old. Imagine my surprise! It was a wonderful, meditative, funny damn story, and I feel like a better person for having read it. Also, none of my kids will ever hike with me, for reasons of obligation, distance or sloth, so you are one lucky guy.

  2. David Brown

    Dear David, I am a global health professional who followed your WP work. I am trying to get in touch with you but unable to find a current email address. I hope to hear from you. Best, David Brown, Cornelius, NC

  3. John Bloomfield

    Hi David: I represent a new coalition called the Horseshoe Crab Recovery Coalition, formed to protect the crab along the Atlantic Coast and restore its numbers to their historic levels before populations crashed in the 1990s. If you are interested in writing about the coalition’s work, please see our news release:


  4. Bill O’Brian

    Hi, David. Just a quick hello and Happy New Year from a former Post colleague. I’ve wondered occasionally over the past decade what you have been up to — and today, as I stumbled on this site, I got my full answer. The site looks great. I’ve never been to Scotland, but I hope to visit sometime, once the pandemic recedes. Before I go, I’ll definitely make sure to re-consult this site closely. Email me, if you’re inclined. Maybe we can get a cup of coffee one of these days.

    • Jim Rodger

      Hullo Brian, Being a Dundonian but living in Lancashire these days I greatly enjoyed your piece in the Washington post. My sister who lives in New Jersey passed it on this evening. I thought I would let you know that not very far from your hotel in Dundee there is a lonely blue plaque regarding Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley who lived for some time and is mentioned in her preface of her book Frankenstein. You might wish to check out the novel?

  5. Bill O’Brian

    PS to the above: I learned of your site at the end of your wonderful Post story about the Adirondacks of New York state: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/canoe-adirondacks-saranac-lakes/2021/01/07/c8d4aaf2-34da-11eb-a997-1f4c53d2a747_story.html
    Great story, fabulous photos.

  6. Ros Rowell

    Hi John, I just found your blog, and a piece you wrote about myself on a trip through Scotland. You blog is wonderful, but looking back I find some of my quotes cringe worthy and wonder if you could please make ne anonymous. Time has moved on anfpd I am uncomfortable with some of the things I said, in lieu of recent changes . Thanks, and goid luck and I hope sll is going well with you and your wtiting,

    • davidbrown

      Dear Ros
      For some reason I just saw this message from last month. I’m afraid I am not going to make you anonymous in the blog. When we talked you knew I was going to write something for my blog (which is why I took so many notes, and I believe even got extra paper from you). What you said is now more than five years old. Everyone changes, and people know implicitly that what one says five years ago may not be what one would say now. As unimportant as it is, my post about you is a historical document. I am not going to edit, or edit out, history. (You may recall that was Winston Smith’s job in “Nineteen Eighty-Four”.) I’m sorry if this upsets you, which I imagine it will.
      David Brown

  7. Don Johnson

    In August 2004, 200 years after Lewis and Clark came through the Breaks, my youngest daughter, my 2 grandsons, and I rented two canoes did the trip from Fort Benton to Judith Landing.

    A lifetime of stories came from those 3 days. Wonderful trip.

    Enjoyed your article very much

    • davidbrown

      Thanks for this. It is a great place. I want to go back–and see the White Cliffs this time!

  8. Tina M Martin

    David Brown,
    Thanks for your informative, detailed piece on Dundee in today’s Washington Post. I loved your detailed exploration of its history, economics and the early public health study. A great read indeed!

    • davidbrown

      Thanks for this, Tina. I wrote a review of a biography of J B S Haldane a couple of years ago and that’s where I learned of the study of the air in the tenements by his father, J S Haldane. It’s a real tour de force of epidemiology and social medicine. It can be found on the web.

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