Sunday, August 30, 2009


What really struck me, was the changing light, the swift cloud movements, their formations in just two hours and the effects all these natural changes had on the scenes I had photographed. When I looked at the picture shots I had taken, it was hard to believe I had been in one place, or I had taken all the pictures in that time frame.

Admittedly, I had accidentally timed the visit to occur in a window of opportunity as the weather was highly unpredictable, being that there was a tail end of a hurricane blowing around us. Scotland has some splendid coastal area, many of them highly exposed to the elements as this one was.

The visitor information boards all warned of 'DANGER' particularly with the winds, the exposure to the cliffs, the rocks and the cold North Atlantic sea below. These were the same dangers the villagers who were here, faced on a daily basis. So dangerous was this location that livestock, chickens and children had to be tethered for their own safety. Imagine that!

The people had all gone, many had emigrated to New Zealand. A community of people had been 'cleared' from fertile inland homesteads to this dangerous, stony coastal space where they carved out some kind life for about 80 years, by various and ingenious means. By the early 19th century, all, bar three people, had moved on. The clues to how they survived were mostly hidden under the bracken, thistle and heather growth. All that clearly remained for us to see, in the early years of the twenty-first century, was a monument, constructed in 1911 by order of a great grandson of one of the families, who himself was a New Zealander. It reminded us that it was not just the shadows of people and children whose dangerous pathways we were treading, these people had identities. The monument ensured that their names would be remembered, though the visible evidence of their lives, their stone cottages, which were in ruins, would probably disappear eventually, these hardy people's legacy would not.

Amongst all the thoughts of times long gone, my camera clicked, recording the memories of the current day.


TG said...

This made me sentimental. I always think about what will be when people who I hold dear, will not be around anymore. I guess if you die yourself, it's not as painful as seeing your dear ones die thru the course of your life. That scares me. Transitoriness is something that humans will never overcome, maybe that's the meaning of life, to somehow accept that time passes and things change, transform, die off. I admire people who are old and happy and went thru soo much. Yet they still have that joie de vivre mentality. I fear I will be old and embittered.

TG said...

Ok, maybe I was too pessimistic. It's just this phase in my life, where things don't go the way I want. I guess I'm more optimistic, when i am in charge of my life.

Flighty said...

Interesting post, and I like the first photo! xx

ZACL said...

Hello Mr F.

Thanks for calling in here to chat.

I find the first photo very much describes the coldness (perhaps evil invitation?) of the cold sea. It also demonstrates the starkness of the place. The differences of light in the two pictures, though within the same time frame, I think, amply demonstrates my initial point.

I did take some photos of the heather bells amongst the heather, they are delightful just now, I may think about posting one or two such pictures.

Bye just now. :) xx

ZACL said...

Hello MKL,

Isn't interesting how images and words can affect people.

Whilst I was taking photos, I was conscious I was not thinking into the lives of the people who were forced to live in that forlorn exposed place. I was observing the ruins,what was left of their lives, much of it now covered, hiding most of the stark reality of what their daily lives must have been like. Lives were lost. not just of adults, but also children. Birth mortality rates are likely to have been higher in such an exposed and deprived environment. It really would have been about the survival of the fittest, the most ingenious and versatile.

Afterwards, when I got to reflecting on this visit, I marvelled at the survival skills of the people in the village. Those same attributes live on in all of us, we just have to tap into them.

Marie said...

Interesting post and great photos. I'm drawn to places like that.

ZACL said...

Hello Marie,

Thanks for visiting and for your comments.

We are still talking about the visit. There is a certain air there, feelings, hard to describe. They would be unique to each and every one of us. Pervading it all is the bleak beauty of that exposed coastal

zewt said...

scotland... i only remember fort william and eye of sky.

i like the way you put words together... very very beautiful.

ZACL said...

Hello Zewt,

Thank you for your compliment. It is most kind of you.

I have never visited the Isle of Skye, the majority of visitors to Scotland do visit the Isle.

Fort William is good for outdoor sports interests. I visited it about 18 months ago. Driving on the roads to Fort William is slow in the Summer, when there are lots of visitors wanting to climb the mountains.