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 |

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