Road to the Isles.

 

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Low cloud cloaks the tops of the hills. A stag rises above a ridge, stops, waits for the hinds to follow. Their bodies disappear into the landscape, all tan, ochre, red and earth. Suddenly they start, panic and flee across the heather. Soft rain, hard granite, the boulders defy all weathers up here. A lochan, a loch. The lonely train track across the moor. The hills darken and fade in the thickening smirr.

 

Oil on wood – 26 x 15 cm.

Path to Glencoe.

 

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Hot wind from Africa swaws and skimmers over the moor. Indigo mountains smudge the horizon.

Frogs, caterpillars the size of a finger, orchids, dragonflies striped and blue. Through the trees, the air cooler, darker, wetter. Walk and walk. Small blue butterflies and amythest toadstools. Water sparkles down the hillside the colour of burnt sugar. Crossing a burn getting feet wet. Walking until the last line of trees and up over a rise, there, a view so wide, so lonely, magnificent, stretching from Schiehallion to Glencoe. Small wooded islands in the loch, the water ribbons away to the south. And the wall of mountains that contain this moor watch on, guarding against escape.

A quick drawing, the clegs find me out and the long return walk.  On the drive back this landscape of  moor and mountains drifts in and out, making its own memory in my head and I feel a sense of loss that seeing a landscape brings when trying to bring it back. Yet this place has always been here, or as long as people have and it’s that connection through the centuries that binds us to the land and makes us not forget.