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?
Hamish: Some men are longer than others.
Campbell: Your mother's been telling stories about me again, eh?