Life, crafty stuff, long walks, thoughts, and little oddities.

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10th January 2021

Frozen in time

I pass the ancient well on my way. The water trickles downwards through the steep hillside, emerging in a deep pool. The metal mugs still sits there on the edge, ready for those who want to sample the healing waters. Today, with the snowmelt, the well is overflowing across the path, creating a muddy quagmire. Further on, the shell of the old chapel still stands, surrounded by the kirkyard. Sheltered from the worst of the elements in this small nook in the hill, open to the river valley in front, across the snow strewn fields. A small stream rushes past, the edges still ice-bound. This ancient place has watched countless seasons pass by. A place of tranquility in the midst of the world’s current storms.


Holidays and memories

When I was sixteen

We moved to a place

With views of mountains and fields

With estuary and sand dunes

Where you could paddle

Along the narrow inlets

At low tide

And watch the fish dart ahead

Flashes of silver in the sunlight

And feel the flicker of flatfish

Disturbed by your passage

As they skimmed the surface

of the sand

It was not always a safe place

For the tide could turn and rush in

Leaving you in a mad scramble

Towards the shore


But not for anything

Would I have missed

The touch of the fish

As they tickled my feet


A week spent away in Benderloch, just north of Oban. No email, no internet. Just the sea, the mountains, and the green… bringing back memories of my time near Porthmadog. I was up in Benderloch for Woolfeis, the gaelic wool festival. Great fun, of which more later.


Shelter in the storm

The walls of the town march round, no longer a defence but a viewing platform. The streets of the place are quiet today. I perch on my vantage point. People scurrying from cars to shops, huddled against the biting wind. Rain is heading in, sweeping across the bay. The bulk of the castle shields me from the worst of the weather. A shelter in the storm.

conwy castle


Dusk sky and sunset fields

sunset land

Darkening dusk sky leads the eye to sunset fields, dusted golden by the light. The dips and rises of this place are thrown into sharp relief, a living map. History layered on story. A farmhouse lies sheltered, huddled from the elements. Long shadows march across the land, bare autumn trees growing legs in the late day. The long grass has been bleached white by the winter winds, thorn bushes standing stark black in contrast.


Frosty leaves and old stones

The ancient fort stands on top of the promontory, overlooking the bay. Old stones grassed over now. I stand in the winter’s sun, gazing out to sea. Aware that in this place, I am not alone. Past and present overlap, a blurring of time. If these stones could speak – what stories they could tell. Two thousand years and more this place lived. A small community, overlooking the ocean. Protected from strangers, lifted high above the waves. Imagine. The laughter of people long gone fills my mind. In such a place was peace. Oh, and hard work, and toil. Not an easy life, up here, battling the elements. But safe. Secure. In tune with their world.

I climb down the steps, to the land once sea, and make my way to the shore. The tide rolls in, depositing its load. Seabirds call, turning over the seaweed. Up on the dunes the morning frost lies still, outlining leaves with sliver glitter. The fishing fleet is out, dots in the distance. The Isle of Man floats on the horizon, and the Mull rests on a bed of mist. Not much of a change over two thousand years.

silver glitter on winter leaves

This post refers to a place called Barsalloch Fort. If you are interested in knowing more, look at http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/portwilliam/barsallochfort/index.html for pictures and  www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyresults/propertydetail.htm?PropID=PL_029 for archaeological info.