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Guest blog by commissioned photographer, Chris Puddephatt

Apparently they were!

Nine o’clock meet at Glencanisp for the familiar walk up to the renovation site; this time I know everyone except Jacob, who had come all the way from the Netherlands.

I’ve never seen it so dry; our boots are dusty from the desiccated track; the burn is hardly flowing at all, and the lochs are shrinking. Several weeks of dry sunny weather have left their mark.

The familiar walk to Suilven. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
The familiar walk to Suilven. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

When we arrive on site, Chris G. gives a bit of advice on how to use the tools, and each of the volunteers gets their own feature to work on. Brilliant idea; I’m sure they’ll come back in the future to check their respective handiwork.

In fact, Jacob has a head start; he was here previously and is now working to finish the “cross-drain” he started last time.

Jorine working on her step. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
Jorine working on her step. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

I get a photo of one of the orchids growing next to the path that I mentioned in my May blog. To me, it’s quite significant that transplanting a bit of vegetation along the sides of the path makes it part of the landscape so quickly.

Joe, Jorine and Gail are beavering away on “minor adjustments” to last years work, where the passage of time has revealed the need for an additional drain or step. Digging holes, manoeuvring big rocks into them, packing with smaller stones, re-dressing with gravel and side vegetation….. adjustments, but not quite so minor? I obviously try to persuade them that taking photos is actually hard work too, but I’m not sure I succeed!

Joe busy digging out a hole for an additional step to go in. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
Joe busy digging out a hole for an additional step to go in. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

We see a few walkers making their way up to climb Suilven, and they express their gratitude for the work that’s occurring. Several of them have visited previously and remember crossing the “peat bog” as being a necessary evil, often getting wet feet in the process. Not anymore!

I carry on up to the ridge myself; getting some shots of the section I’d seen under construction last time, and also the long line of white bags of stone waiting to be emptied. There are black one-tonne bags of stone up the gully now too.

Back at the “coal face” I get a picture of Jacob in mid-air jumping on some turf, and Gail also in flight, jumping on her spade!

Jacob jumping with joy at his handiwork. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
Jacob jumping with joy at his handiwork. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

I guess it’s about four o’clock when the boss “calls time” and the volunteers are allowed to go home. Conversation changes to fish suppers and cold beers as we stride back down the path. Then we remember that the honesty shop at Glencanisp sells ice cream……

The group still smiling - even at the end of a long day. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.
The group still smiling – even at the end of a long day. Photo © Chris Puddephatt.

Find out more about the Suilven Path Project here


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