Showing posts from November, 2005


The first snows on the southern highlands now have a wider vista behind the the slow dismantling of the old distillery, like time being reversed. All the bricks being removed, taken away, turned back into dust and clay, buried back in the earth... and still we return to Dumbarton, dismantling the old, forging the new. Winter has come early this November... it's bouldering weather - time to get on the slopers you couldn't hang in summer, time to enjoy the brief thrill of rubber biting into smooth basalt, sticking and allowing the torque to be applied... letting the power surge smoothly without the clutch slipping. Dave MacLeod is very close to the roof link-up under Gorilla , saying he feels way stronger than last year (!) - the body tension in him is locked taut as an Erskine bridge cable, which is the least required to maintain the rigid architecture between fingers and heels. Dave MacLeod working 'Pressure' Someone took a chainsaw to the old 2HB sycamore, a rather ra

'The Inchbae Intrusion'

Sounds like a bad thriller, jets screaming overhead, somewhere in Scotland, someone on the run across the heather, pursued by guns and dogs, hiding behind boulders... Ian Taylor had seen them as well, glacial drift and erratics all over the place, in dumpy moraine hillocks and drumlins. Once or twice I almost ended up in Black Bridge craning my neck out the side-window. Then one day I stopped, put the wellies on and went to satisfy the rock-thirst again. Situated between Garve and Ullapool, these boulders are mostly hidden from view, but a litter of small ones by 'Lubfearn' (the alder loop), under the choked throat of Altguish, were recently attended to by myself and Ian Taylor. Here's what Ian found as description for the area: 'originally a porphyritic granite with abundant orthoclase phenocrysts, but is now a coarse biotite-granite gneiss in which the phenocrysts are largely deformed to augen wrapped round by a steaked out matrix of quartz, biotite, potash felspar

Border Raid

Shape and movement moulded into one! Okay, it's not Scotland, but while storms rattled chimneys in the far North West, a late autumn sun skidded low over the post-harvest Cheviots and if the Tweed had deigned to meander further south, we'd have a mini-Fontainebleau in Scotland. But the Dovehole boulders rightly remain part of 'the coonty'. Just past Coldstream, the road bends sharply through Milfield and a forest break on the east flanks of these gentle hills reveals a nest of sandstone sculptures... a perfect haven for an autumn afternoon, my only company a few pheasants ratcheting off over the stubble like clockwork-sprung toys. Some spots are perfect microcosms of movement. The wind-imagined shapes of these sandstone stumps rise like remembered dunes from an ancient land, their original domes and rope-twists smoothed out into half-seen shapes and mythical softness. The movement is quick like half-remembered dreams, you flow through the easy meditations on generous po