An Autumn Portrait

One of our Community Grants Scheme recipients this year was Griogair MacAllein who led story walks across the area throughout last year. Here Griogair shares a seasonally suitable poem:   AN AUTUMN PORTRAIT Griogair MacAllein The forest floor, a canvas wet with dripping raindrops. A child brings 4 twigs – the top, the bottom & 2 sides A frame. Another child forages for leaves, 2 Pine cones, pieces of Birch bark. Granda brings reeds and a feather and the hair of a Rabbit. The children build a face on the forest floor Fenced by the 4 twigs the 2 Pine cones, the pieces of Birch bark, the leaves, the reeds, the feather and the hair of a Rabbit. Those moments in time Meant to be made. Granda watched and smiled. ‘’It’s you Granda. Smiley face!’’ Granda smiled back into the mirror on the forest floor The wind’s bite called them home. Even a dog sniffed and left the portrait untouched. The wind stayed. The 4 twigs scattered, the 2 Pine cones, the pieces of Birch bark, the leaves, the reeds,


On Age

Guest blog by Mandy Haggith, Director of Assynt Foundation. In Assynt we are very proud that our mountain, Suilven, has a starring role in a new feature film, Edie, the main character of which is an 80-something woman played by Sheila Hancock. In a lovely interview in the Herald (see here) she makes out that this is a somewhat senior age to be trotting up mountains, but compared to the ancient rocks under her feet, it’s nothing. In my long poem about Suilven, I wrote: ‘The mountain appears ancient this morning but this is an illusion caused by our scurrying, fleeting shortness of time and tenacity…   Suilven is a young softy, hard-headed perhaps, but mostly just dust washed up, a grand mud pack, a mighty sand castle.’   Suilven is a billion years old, but that makes it a youngster compared to the Lewisian gneiss on which it sits! The bedrock of gneiss that ruffles out across Assynt is among the oldest rocks on earth, more than 3 billion years old, older than recognisable life. It is a metamorphic


So Many Views of Suilven

Guest blog by Mandy Haggith, Director of Assynt Foundation. Over the twelve years since the local community has owned Glencanisp Lodge, with its splendid views of Suilven, I have run seventeen retreat weeks for creative writers. Every one of the participants falls in love with the mountain and it has inspired no end of wonderful writing. Even people who have not written poetry since schooldays find themselves coming back from a walk with the words of a new poem ringing in their ears. I tell them that the Assynt landscape is littered with verse – Norman MacCaig found many of the good ones, but there are any amount of new poems out there, waiting for unsuspecting poets to trip over them and bring them home. MacCaig’s classic poem, ‘Climbing Suilven’ is engraved on a stone at the start of the walk from Inver Kirkaig up the river towards the mountain, just under the bookshop, Achins, where you can buy his collected poems!   I nod and nod to my own shadow and thrust A mountain down and down. Between my

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