Ice. I’ve lived in cold places, but never this cold I suppose. Frozen sand, iced ponds, incredible shards and circles and forms, as beautiful on incredible beaches as within the pocked asphalt alongside an industrial estate. I know these have nothing on what can be seen all along the East Coast today, the frozen wonder of Niagra Falls, but then I suppose you should never compare wonders.
Country walks without a car in the highlands of Scotland are harder to manage than anywhere we’ve been I think. This one ended beautifully, but was mostly along quite a busy road.
Roskeen Church, heebiejeebies, note least because rabbits had burrowed under and into many of the graves. But the hands, my god.
The Thief’s Stone, ancient, unable to see any carvings at all peering over the fence and the ‘Pictish Trail’ brochure gives no easy directions.
A bird of prey mobbed
And down to Dalmore distillery. Closed.
And the incredible beauty of the firth, snow-covered mountains, pools of mirrored water and ice full of birds. The remnants of an old WWI naval base.
Always the oil rigs when you turn back around…
Inverness. It is cold and beautiful, full of sun and mists followed/preceeded by rain. I have seen ice, have walked on frozen sands. We are staying in a most beautiful fisherman’s cottage on the river Ness, fixed up by wealth, a claw-foot tub in one gabled window, central heating and a le creuset casserole dish of the kind I aspire to own just left here in which to cook my favourite chicken with garlic, lemon, white wine. We curled up after dinner on the couch, watched the Godfather and an old Sherlock Holmes played by Basil Rathbone. Caught Hootenany with Mavis Staples and George McCrae and Soul II Soul and Ruby Turner. At the new year, fireworks exploded over the river just for us I think. Happiness complete last night.
This morning we woke to sun.
We thought we had to move quickly to keep the sun, we crossed the bridge to a world beautiful. Like paintings I stared at when I was little, could never imagine being present within.
Our cottage whitewashed there on the left, a green door. We walked down along the water through industrial and council estates, past burdens civil and into Merkinch Nature Reserve.
Back home to a breakfast of Lorne sausage and haggis and eggs, the sun now shining warmly on the world, unforseen by all weather predictions. Long may it continue.
Happy New Year.
An unexpected reminder of the transitory nature of life and flight
An immensity of space
And into the woods
and out again
I have never walked across frozen sand before
through a watercolour world
of frozen waters
The only thing missing, a great flock of salmon pink flamingos glowing against the dark cliffs and snowy peaks, being herded by Tilda Swinton back into her exotic aviary. It did start raining by the time we got back to Nairn to wait for our train.
We are on the edge of autumn.
I walked between the archings of trees, saw a sudden great spread of wings — a grey heron fishing in the fragment of a stream still left to us. It disappeared into a leafy dusk, another world entangled with this city. Leaves starting to turn, those already fallen glow gold like another sun beneath my feet.
Well, almost every house. In Valletta it is also every corner. Streets are full of shrines. Especially in Mdina/ Rabat, even where there is no saint, there is a nature scene, or a thanks to country that has made a family member welcome(ish) and able to send money home. They are amazing.
Our last walk on Gozo, it involved no ruins or temples, but we saw more salt pans and we found one stone circle but of nature’s origination. Għarb was definitely one of my favourite villages. We passed the shrine to St Dimitri, who legend has it emerged from his frame in this chapel to rescue a boy stolen away by slavers and returned him to his mother. We passed a tumbled pile of carved stone balustrades. There were wildflowers we had never seen before, more windswept coast — but not quite what we were expecting. I think the beauty of the cliffs all around this island raise expectations a little high. But then we reached the deep gullies carved by ocean, the great window. The sun went setting behind us. Lovely.