Tuesday, 30 September 2008
Within this familiar ellipse we fondly refer to as, the islands, this pinnacle, & that within the detail of the bronze plaque, a worn rock hammer is clearly visible. Through days over nights of solo tracking inside the clasp of hump-backed rolling swell, counting drops & surfing each rise, dwarfed in the cold darklight of insanely flung black cliffs I barely looked up & back into my wake, such is youths agenda. I had noticed this adding an E8 to the crevassed & soaring gawp of toothless cave below many years back, but, relishing the confined struggle of cold still air & stone more than the folly of memorial, it had swiftly vanished into the mental & physical desolation of each crux sequence. More recently, the Westward lowered sun, struck this pinnacle bright like a white hot needle against a chasm of stuttered reprise & pelagic retaliation - I pulled in on a set of rollers that were going my way, pushed the paddle into the taqqat & weaved up steeply through deep oxygenated grass, gelatinous organic seepage & tiny machair flowers. I realized anew, that no civilized dwelling shadow its stance, no visible Cornflake box scattering of croft in either cardinal direction, aft or forrard, for miles...
You cannot, not, climb up to enquire of its origin.

It transpires, that the Meall Geal monument is to John Wilson Dougal, the founder of a chemical company in Edinburgh, & an amateur geologist. For many years he explored the geology of the Outer Hebrides, & was the first to describe the flint crush rock formations. Dougal wrote up many of his island adventures, & after his death they were published in Island Memories, a jewel of a book for anyone interested in the Hebrides. His name in bronze relief is underlined by that very geologists rock hammer.
William: ...Long spears, twice as long as a man.
Hamish: That long?
William: Aye.
Hamish: Some men are longer than others.
Campbell: Your mother's been telling stories about me again, eh?
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 20:20:00 | 0 Retorts
Monday, 15 September 2008
Lets clear something up once & for all. Many will tell you of working collies & the hardships they endure - the chains that bind them to the mountainside - the scavenged food they harbour - the daily beatings - those beds in the rain under leaky roofs...
Of course, when we are stormbound in the bothy or banjaxed by blizzards; when he's not learning his log-rolling trick on my kayak, swimming in clears seas or chasing buoys, I neither, am soft on the black & white shadow that shares this path. I am a tough tough tough, heartless stone of a master, in keeping with tradition, & I can prove it with photographic evidence:

Seobhag fìorghlan na h-ealtainn

Bugger...well I tried aye..

•≈ Wenley, Ignatius Pistachio as I call him, from On Kayaks, is also on his way over from Spain & is due to drop in on Gordi Broon & then myself in a few days. Hopefully it will be an opportunity to see how his rolling has improved & maybe show him some crazy variations of Greenlandic rolls I've given a hybrid edge to. Stunt rolling with a bowling ball, in its own benign fashion can do more than have your eye out. It can steal breath from your lungs due to extended bouts of laughter. Yikes!...I hope he won't want to use the bathtub - it's full of whale bones gestating in readiness for Taqqat use. It's a dogs life aye. That reminds me...time to kick that lazy collie off his bed of nails...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 21:51:00 | 3 Retorts
Friday, 5 September 2008
ť ...As Autumn stretches her wings, as these wild driven seas drum in rhetoric motion, shifting stones & sands white streaked, tattooed in ancient cipher...Nosce te ipsum...As the playground jaws of this Western abyss grind gently, half aware of whispers leaking from the world, a murmur of rhythm deafening to the eighth hunter. Yes you children in kayaks - war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things...not by far. The decayed & degraded state of moral & patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. A man who has nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made & kept so by the exertions of better men than himself...
Nosce te ipsum, promove, vetustas occaecabis solum puer aeternus
& scything swiftly through & turning high I reach a crest of distilled motion & ready myself & everything hangs momentarily, silent, as if the tongue had already been cut from the dragon by my audacity alone - & the beast looks back at me & rears up & I hear myself say...
Now, let us dance...you & I

Trivia & further trivia: After each knife party, I'll invariably return to the outskirts of my village, harboured into its shoulder of basalt, avoid the crowds & stare back at the loch following its lead edge to those Western shores of Atlantic kayaking poetry. Out there is where we each converge to recite & eviscerate & rampage, hand in hand with great breakers & night patrols of whales as we spit back smiles full of blood & teeth. In here I nod at familiar faces & retrieve supplies. In here, is for sleep, & sometimes inbetween that sleep & the doing of life, I wonder why I write here, if anyone ever really visits this...But, I have this ability I guess, of clicking my heels 3 times & relieving myself of this awkward & floundering affiliation with dry land, the preservation of uselessness it tattoos me with...
I grab a bag of chips, vinegar leaking from the paper, & climb the creaking pathway through the storm pines, my head still swaying with wave motion, my nose still leaking saline enigma, the collie zig zagging for large eared vermin & idly take this photo from what we call, The Lump. Here, on the 18th of June 1742, the last hanging & public execution on Skye took place. Angus Buchanan, for the murder of a peddler. A peddler being a trader of illicit or legal goods rather than a random cyclist...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 02:45:00 | 0 Retorts