Loch Etive

Connell Bridge | Photo at Pixabay

We pass the Buchaille Etive Mor, that classic mountain pyramid, as we drive deep into Glen Etive to the head of the Loch. We take down the canoes and pack them with a two man tent, sleeping bags and enough food for three days. After paddling a few miles down the loch we spend the first night camped far from any roads on the loch shore. On the second day we pass under the Connell Bridge as the tide is in and paddle on to the sea. The tide is starting to turn so we quickly paddle back into the loch before the rapids under the bridge can form as they do at low water.

After camping on the loch side for a second night I awake to a glimmer of light through the tent fabric and unzip the tent door and flysheet. Still lying in my warm sleeping bag I enjoy the strengthening light. The Americans call this half hour before and after sunrise ‘the sweet light’ when luminance grows and the world forms anew.  Through a light mist a little further down the shore I become aware of large forms moving quietly. In the night a dozen red deer have come down to the loch to graze. Our different worlds, for a few minutes, are shared.

Colin Dixon

Blencathra

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Blencathra

Beyond my cosy window lies
A monster with enormous grass green thighs
He haunts my dreams
Disturbs my waking eyes
Immense
Lowering
Blotting out my skies
Furrowed, fretted, ridged his wrinkled face
Drops slow tears of frothing lace
He rears his head, a coronet of rocks
Wreathed in sunny veils and envaporous locks
Before man came or time began
God saw his dawn
A million million years ‘fore I was born
The Roman tread here spoke the Celtic fortress rose
My petty four score years he laughs to scorn
He is the torment of my dying time
The last peak I have not strength to climb.

Violet Taylor
Voices of the Mountain