From the bridge at Invercannich the track rises sharply to the shoulder of Carn Dubh-Ghlaic (hill of the dark hollow). Allt Coilte (river of the woods) falls in a series of cascades to the left, strata forming cleft ridges and inclines across the slope. Near the top the land levels out and becomes very boggy, scattered birch rising from the dead bracken. At the deer fence there is a gate, to let the stalkers through with their Argo vehicles, and a band of recently regenerated trees – fir, rowan, birch and juniper looking fresh and new against the brown scrub. The ruins of the shielings sit here – stone walls turning to rubble year upon year as the frost, wind and bracken take their toll.

This year, in March, they could just be seen – traces of doorways and hearths catching the eye, white and grey against the dormant ground. But later when the bracken rises and the heather flowers they will be hidden in folds of vegetation, like submerged reefs. Ghosts of a past life. Of summers passed above the glen. Of cattle grazing. Of turf fires and water collecetd from the burn. Of people who knew the names of  the hills and rocks and crags and rivers, and had no need to travel far from what they held in their hearts. Of a landscape rich in meaning that carries their spirit forward.

TW Painting 16_04_2013_001

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