Monday, September 30, 2019

Abandoned - sheds and small cottages

©2019 Barry Smith - Cottage by a small stone beach - Mellness - such strength - facing the sea - maybe a boat shed and fisher persons cottage?
Fiona and I did a trip from the cottage to Ullapool and then up the west coast. There was much rugged beauty of ancient stone and reflections of trees and mountains in still lochs.

Another haunting feature of the trip was the number of small sheds and cottages that seemed to have served their purpose and now were left to gradually disintegrate.

©2019 Barry Smith  - On a hill near Elphin
©2019 Barry Smith - By the roadside - Elphin
©2019 Barry Smith - Towards Ullapool
©2019 Barry Smith - Near Foindle - love this wee one with its oval window
©2019 Barry Smith - West side of Loch Eribol
©2019 Barry Smith - Bottom of Loch Eribol
©2019 Barry Smith - Beachside Melness
©2019 Barry Smith - Roadside - Horse Sound
©2019 Barry Smith - Near Tarbet
©2019 Barry Smith - Roadside - Loch Inchard - love the peeling paint and disintegrating tar sheet covering - and a blue door of course.
Whilst there is a sadness to this temporary occupation and then abandonment there; is also the beauty of these strong silent structures that have all held spirits in some way. There is also a beauty in the rust, peeling paint, greying timbers and mossy stone.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Brutal beauty

©2019 Barry Smith - Historical rings of aged timber Sletell
Fiona and I were told about an abandoned post-clearance village called Sletell. After checking out the sculpture The Unknown we decided to take a detour on our way home to see if we could find the remains of the village. We could not find it following the directions we were given - or at least what we heard. We were about to give up when we saw a couple of older guys talking and took the chance to ask directions - one said this fellow will show you - he is heading over that way. The second guy said follow me and I will show you the path. We rolled him for what seemed an age - we were no where near the location. Suddenly he pulled up and said park your car there and I will show you the start of the path. Sure enough 20m the path started uphill - he said it will take about 15 or so minutes to get there depends on how fast you walk - it took us 35 minutes.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Start of the path to Sletell
It was totally worth it - such beauty.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Looking to Mt Loyal from the top of the ridge to Sletell
©2019 Barry Smith  - Twins pathways through the heather
©2019 Barry Smith  - One of the three cottages
©2019 Barry Smith   - A second cottage - see the cove - imagine building a boat and going out to sea over that "beach"
©2019 Barry Smith  - Very unusual to find timber roof supports like this in cottages of this age
©2019 Barry Smith  - The beach
©2019 Barry Smith  - Possibly an early circle hut?
©2019 Barry Smith  - Making do with what you have - or including bits of history from a past life???
©2019 Barry Smith  - Fractured lintel
©2019 Barry Smith  - Beauty of stone and location
©2019 Barry Smith  - Thistle at the base of the cottage 
Then why do I say brutal - well three families were expelled-evicted from their farms and relocated miles and miles away in this remote spot on small acreage and were basically told to become fisher folk. They had to build their own houses and there were no amenities. Such was the brutality of the clearances - legal but not moral surely.

One of the other beautiful aspects of the walk was that the guy visited some other folk near the trail so that he could ensure we made it back we think. But it also turned out that he now owns the land and was pleased that we recognised it for what it was in terms of its beauty and history.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Cornucopia of fragments from the highlands

©2019 Barry Smith - A lone sheep silhouetted on the hillside - looking west at sunset from the cove
This post is a bit of a cornucopia - no real theme apart from the beauty around us.

Such a diversity of things that catch the eye.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Geese in formation heading south
©2019 Barry Smith  - Literally hay being made in a brief period of good sunshine
©2019 Barry Smith  - We met this sheep several mornings in a row - it got used to us invading it's space.
©2019 Barry Smith  - Sunset reflected off a cloud and then reflected in the sea of the small fishing cove
 Of course there is rust - rusty fragments from our visit to Dunnet Head.

©2019 Barry Smith  
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith  
©2019 Barry Smith 
Vistas that change dramatically with the weather  - looking to the north sea from the cove headland.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Clear stark horizon
©2019 Barry Smith  - Hard to distinguish the sky from the sea
Such beauty to uplift the spirit.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Trip to The Unknown

©2019 Barry Smith - The Unknown
After a morning's work Fiona and I decided to make the most of a sunshine filled day in the Highlands and return to Borgie Glen to do a walk to the sculpture by Kenny Hunter called The Unknown - "an outcast in iron surveying the landscape".

The sculpture sits on a wee hill in a pine forest looking towards Mount Loyal. The work stands over 2m tall and being cast in solid iron it will stand for many years - raising all sorts of questions and comments.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Big unknown
©2019 Barry Smith  - The Unknown in the landscape
©2019 Barry Smith  - Looking to Mt Loyal
This was the location where we discovered a wee glade filled with mosses, lichens and fungi - after a couple of weeks of wind and warmer weather many things had finished their cycle of growth - but it was still a glorious place to pause for a sandwich for lunch.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Lunch spot in the heart of the glade
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith  - Some Blue-greens remained
©2019 Barry Smith  - Angel wings
©2019 Barry Smith  - Finished their cycle
©2019 Barry Smith  - Another unusual form of lichen
Another feature of the walk was the abundance of heather and other flowers.

©2019 Barry Smith  - Tiny heather flowers
©2019 Barry Smith 
©2019 Barry Smith  - Bee on daffodil 
©2019 Barry Smith  - Grape like heather flowers
©2019 Barry Smith  - Delicate pink heather
On our way home we sought out and walked to a clearance village - sad but beautiful - but that is for a later day.