r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: September 2015

The Whale-watcher

And when at last the road
gives out, I’ll walk –
harsh grass, sea-maws,
lichen-crusted bedrock –

and hole up the cold
summer in some battered
caravan, quartering
the brittle waves

till my eyes evaporate
and I’m willing again
to deal myself in:
having watched them

breach, breathe, and dive
far out in the glare,
like stitches sewn in a rent
almost beyond repair.

Kathleen Jamie, from The Tree House


Air an t-slighe sìos
gu ruige ’n caladh anns a’ bhreacarsaich
agus an Western Isles a’ fuireach,
a lìon beag is beag,
chaidh na rionnagan às an t-sealladh.

Thall am bad
air choreigin, dh’fhairich mi fead.
Chaidh na h-eòin às.
Dh’fhàs an speur dearg.

Agus cuid aca, mun àm sin
agus an dà thràth ri dealachadh,
nach ann a bhuail iad anns an sgàilean
mar gun robh iad a’ feuchainn
ri cur às dhaibh fhèin.

Rody Gorman, from Dreuchd An Fhigheadair / The Weaver's Task: a Gaelic Sampler (ed. and intro. by Crìsdean MhicGhilleBhàin/Christopher Whyte)

This evening

This evening
Walking down
To the harbour,
I pictured The Western Isles
Filling up, piece by piece,
As the stars went down.

Above the hull,
From somewhere, I heard
A whistle.
The birds disappeared,
The sky reddened,

And some of them,
Wild with flight,
Didn’t they crash against
The screen, like feathered

translated by John Burnside


This far north, the harvest happens late.
Rooks go clattering over the sycamores
whose shadows yawn after them, down to the river.
Uncut wheat staggers under its own weight.

Summer is leaving too, exchanging its gold
for brass and copper. It is not so strange
to feel nostalgia for the present; already
this September evening is as old

as a photograph of itself. The light, the shadows
on the field, are sepia, as if this were
some other evening in September, some other
harvest that went ungathered years ago.

Dorothy Lawrenson, pub. in Painted, spoken, 22

Hebridean Storyteller

The Hebridean Storyteller is inspired by the Western Isles of Scotland and aims to shine a light on the rich culture and heritage of these unique islands. The chair uses technology to bring the stories of islanders to life, giving the user an insight into what life is like living on an island on the edge of a nation and a continent. It does this by first sensing the users presence with a pressure sensor embedded within the seat. This acts as a trigger that audibly plays a random story through speakers built into the arms of the chair. I hope that this project will help raise awareness of the islands and encourage people to want to explore them further.
The actual design of the chair takes inspiration from the islands distinct characteristics - strong, resilient and dependable, yet warm and inviting. It is modern and contemporary but still holds tradition in its heart - the use of Harris Tweed in the upholstery is a symbol of the people of the island and their strong identity and livelihood. - John Thomson

wild water

the island in September

yellow sea-cabbage                        blue of scabious

white of yarrow                              pink of yarrow

the eye of ragwort                         sound of the harebell

cloud of meadowsweet          willowherb seed froth

salt in the mayweed                       mayweed in sand

rust of docken                                seared burdock

fruit of the bramble                      splash yellow of lichen

bistort alone

long drift of chamomile          tormentil yellow

red of haws                                    red of rowan

bistort alone                                  bittersweet

violet of self-heal                          blue of scabious

Gerry Loose, from island (Spring 2003)

Peat Reek

Set in the early 19th century, James Stewart is a young and enthusiastic customs officer who has just been dispatched to a lawless region of the Highlands in order to tackle the widespread illicit distillation of white-spirit: Peat Reek.

Upon his arrival he meets and begins an unsteady relationship with the local Presbyterian minister: Lachlan; a man who appears to have no opposition to the illegality of the distillation practise.

In conversation with Lachlan in his dimly lit home, James attempts to understand the complacency that Lachlan and the other locals have with the illegal activities that are going on around them. With little government support, he is left helpless in a hostile and baron [sic] landscape. -
Peat Reek