Monday, 19 July 2010
Five – Portgower, Lothbeg, Helmsdale – I cross the bridge but instead of turning right up to the farm I continue past Gartymore and turn right on to an overgrown farm track. I cross a stone bridge over a burn running rapid and brown. I turn left and climb through scrub land on a stony path – there is a buzzard sitting on a pylon – it does not move. I climb over a gate and see a tumbledown croft on the right which is bigger then most and in better condition. I climb over another gate and follow another path which hugs the side of the hill and cross over the burn again on a flat wooden bridge and walk towards
Friday, 16 July 2010
Tyningham, East Lothian.
Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland.
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Back to Helmsdale tomorrow morning. Can't wait to see how the knitting group and kids are getting on with helping make an installation for the exhibition.
I was interviewed by Man Shops Globe on the Sundance Channel last year to be featured in a programme about Edinburgh. I can't see a clip of the programme online yet but there are photos of me and my work, including these chandeliers titled 'A Wee Bit of Light Relief', which I made collaboratively with artists Clare Waddle and Rebecca Wilson. I'll keep you posted if I spot a clip.
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Four - Eldrable Hill – I cross the Telford Bridge over the river and then the railway and follow the road up and around West Helmsdale towards a small farm where there is a track towards Eldrable Hill. At first the track is narrow and enclosed on either side by yellow gorse then there is turf and hill and sky, heather and peat, tiny bog flowers I have never seen before - and a whole herd of red deer which run as I approach, bounding away and springing over a fence then out of sight over Creag a’ Choire. Today the wind is strong and constant in my face the clouds in the sky hang low and rain threatens. When I have followed the deer I cannot see the path behind me and I move into a new place of land and sky all around – no sea or sound of the sea. The river is hidden in the strath below so I look over to the North over Caen Hill, Solus Craggie and Cnoc Meadhonach and I see Morven - triangular peak blue and pointing to the sky. The hills all advance and recede according to the light, sometimes they seem more sheer and close and at other times it is almost as though they are at rest – stilled - a vast stone sea, it’s motion so slow according to our vision that we can only sense it with another part of our being. All the colours of the world are muted, purple and green grey and brown and I can hear nothing apart from the wind. I try to find the track that cuts down past Creag an Taghain and passes through Gartymore before returning to Helmsdale but I cannot. So I climb no further, I finish - deafened by the wind and turn back home the way I have come – chased there by the rain.
Thursday, 8 July 2010
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
As well as these longer walks I go out from Timespan each day and walk over the
Saturday, 3 July 2010
There is a soft grey and silver sky and silver smooth water, where both meet at the horizon is hidden - blurred except where far away patches of light mirror the sun. No wind today and tiny waves fold clear and quiet on stone and sand and rock that looks white sheets laid out to dry. Duck families swim and dive, bobbing up in turn, gulls swoop and scream and cormorants spread their wings. There are butterflies, black spiders, beetles, bees all buzzing in the warm air. Climb the green hill behind and up from the beach -lush with grass that soaks the feet. A path leads through part of the farm beside a deep calm pool that reflects the sky above then tracks past a walled and gated graveyard to the road beyond.
Friday, 2 July 2010
Crackaig Beach. Sheep cropped turf with minute flowers behind the dunes, caravans mostly empty some look abandoned, concrete structures left over from the war, sand and stone beach, rock pools, cormorants and shags, plovers and oyster catchers, a dead seal and dead barn owl beyond, one white wing blowing upright against the wind, salt crusts on the stones, black marked rocks like paint spilled – this part of the Earth rests on one of the many fault lines in Scotland. On the beaches you can see where one part of the world has slipped under another – some of the rocks spread out like quilts on the sand, some recline on one arm and resemble figures in the sun, others angle upward - sharp and dark splitting easily and revealing ancient fossils within – the stones in the rock pools are like jewels in the shining water.
Thursday, 1 July 2010
A blog which looks back over my shoulder– a blog for the time span between 2nd and 28th June.
This is not something I do so much now – writing I mean. So basically it will be a list of where I have been in and around Helmsdale during the first part of my RSA Residency at Timespan in June. The second part of the residency will take place in November and December of this year. It’s interesting thinking about how ideas for work begin. Before coming I had already thought about how I would investigate the passage of time, light nights and dark days, the movement of the tides and the difference between fresh and salt water. Now I was here in this remote harbour town on the north east coast of Sutherland with some basic knowledge about how and why the town had come into being and some ideas for beginning work. What follows is parts of my memory of being here. Weather permitting I will visit these places again in the winter and definitely visit the people I have met.
Places (Images to follow)
Walk One – Walk to Marrel between the hill Creag Marail and the River Helmsdale. The hill of Creag Bun-Uilidh on the other side of the river behind the town is coloured by the striking deep yellow of gorse – the blue sky makes the yellow stronger. Smell of coconut – except that really coconut smells like gorse because the scent of gorse was here first. Greens of willows, birches, sycamores, broom and grasses. Wild flowers blowing, bird song, sheep bleating, lambs running, insects buzzing, fish jumping and water flowing. A silent landscape full of noise.