Bass Rock – first thoughts

ink on paper – 18 x 26 cm

So my next project is decided. Hopefully if the weather is fine I am booked on the last landing trip of the season. The gannets will shortly be leaving for feeding grounds off west Africa for the winter. This drawing came from a previous visit a couple of years ago and it is only now that I think I might be able to meet this desolate basalt rock face on. In fact despite its proximity to Edinburgh it has to be one of the wildest places I have ever visited – an inverse to Rannoch Moor in so many ways and yet Bass Rock is another landscape where humans are absent, a place where we have no business. It is this spirit that connects these places and one where I will try and get to an understanding of sorts if that is possible. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Rannoch anniversary.

I am not done with this place. This place is not done with me.

The iron line crosses future, past. *

Fifty years ago today Joseph Beuys and Richard Demarco travelled to Rannoch where Beuys performed and ‘action’, an event of art. It involved holding aloft a piece of calf’s- foot jelly, of that much I know, but not the significance for him. Perhaps the lifeless gelatinous delicacy that pulsed with life from his own hand to effect a beating heart was an attempt to assuage the bog gods.

I am yet one more artist, one more traveller whose soul has been captured and carried off below into the black deep space of subterranean time, stored for the next thousand years or more. I shall bury a lock of my now greying hair as an act of my own resistance with a word carved on wood that reads ‘thrawn’. Me, it. It, me.

Rannoch Moor, Rannoch dear beloved place.*

(* Lines from a poem about Rannoch Moor by the poet Jackie Kay, that in its handwritten form are framed on the wall at the station. )