A forgotten, windswept moor with broken old crags overlooking Inverclyde, it's a good spot to escape in the high summer. I'd be keen to know if anyone has bouldered here - Little Craig Minnan, in particular, was a terrific buttress with exciting problems over good grassy landings. There appears to be more rock in Muirshiel than I remember, as though I'd missed some vulcanism in the last decade or so. Buttresses everywhere... but sometimes the high contrast summer light makes them seem more substantial than they are!
In my palm, I roll around three small stones taken from the waters. One is a blue schist pebble, slightly chipped, another a perfect egg of sandstone conglomerate and the last a pink and white granite sphere. When I force my brain onto the rack of geological time, exploding it out into a thousand ‘civilizations’ or so (my attempt at imagining a million years), then multiply this by, say, 50, I just about get an idea of each stone’s provenance. I feel I am rolling around three small planets in untouchable orbits; three lost worlds of breathtaking beauty, shape and form; elegant worlds which have been crushed, eroded, rolled into one another and, briefly, given this current page of a pop-up book: there you go, this is your planet for now; turn the page another million years and another world pops up. Stones are border guards of the unknown and secretive territories; bureaucratic knots in our states of understanding deep time . . .