from the north, clockwise

  Ben Stack
     An Lèan-Chàrn

                    Glas Bheinn



               Cùl Mòr

           Cùl Beag

     Stac Pollaidh
Ben Mor Coigach

A litany of beauty
A snow-struck ring of grace

Cnoc na h-Iolaire, behind Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland
10th April 2021


After that moment of pure terror on the mountainside – when I clung to the sliding scree in desperation, the fjord deep and blue below me – I’ve finally reached the summit and sit at its northern precipice, looking down. Fog blows up at me in cold gusts. It’s hardly a surprise: the whole summit has been crawling in cloud since I arrived but, unlike the dull clamminess I’ve come through, this fog is lit from the inside. It seems sourceless, blowing up out of nowhere in swirling puffs and, other than the lumpy rock immediately around me, I can see nothing else. I would have thought I would be disappointed: to have come all this way – by sea, by bus, by painstaking foot and hand – and not be able to see the view from this most northern Faroese peak. Yet I find I am grateful. After that terrifying moment below, to be here now in the presence of this unseen luminance, this blind light…

I become still and let it absorb me. I hear birds cackling, wind in small gusts; I see moss shining quietly when the fog is blown thin for a moment. And it’s such a beautiful fog. It fills my brain, like a dream I can’t wake from – a bright mist, a lucent opacity, a billowing emptiness I don’t ever want to leave.

Villingardalsfjall, Viðoy, Føroyar / Faroe
22nd June 2019

Sàil Ghorm

a maniacal butterfly
and a bee bombing about
and my limbs aching in their driving desire

in the drenching blue sun
in the scouring white wind

on the stones
on the bones
on the bare back of Scotland

close rough grey textured stone with mountains in the blue distance

Quinag / A’ Chuinneag, Assynt, Scotland
5th May 2015