r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: October 2018


Who couldn't love
a fat orange ball,
its innocent plumpness?

Rippled flesh
the colour of leaves
the colour of cheese.

All the rage in October
but in November,
punctured, sunken.

Who pushed a knife
into its face,
carved features of hate?

Pumpkins huddle at the market,
frost glistens
on their green stems.

Can you carry that?
the cashier asks doubtfully,
but I hug mine home.

Theresa Muñoz, from Close

Lonely Scotland – A guide to hunting, trapping and wildlife persecution in Scotland

Can you tell whether a snare is illegal or not?
Do you know which species are persecuted in Scotland and why?
Did you know that goats are stalked and killed for fun?

Lonely Scotland aims to achieve two things. Firstly, it is a practical source of information on trapping, hunting and wildlife persecution in Scotland written from an animal-lover’s perspective. It provides you, the reader, with everything you need to know to establish the legality or otherwise of any wildlife persecution you might witness. Secondly, it’s part of our efforts to bring about change. Much of the persecution and ‘countryside management’ practices described in the book are hidden in plain view; violence towards wildlife that has been normalised and blended into the landscape. Lonely Scotland seeks to lift the veil, and to encourage people to see things for what they are. Because only by understanding and effectively communicating the sheer extent and brutality of wildlife persecution in Scotland, can we build the case for change. -  OneKind Scotland

Outrage on Social Media about Trophy Hunt on Islay

Loch Torridon

The dawn of night more fair than morning rose,
Stars hurrying forth on stars, as snows on snows
Haste when the wind and winter bid them speed.
Vague miles of moorland road behind us lay
Scarce traversed ere the day
Sank, and the sun forsook us at our need,
Belated. Where we thought to have rested, rest
Was none; for soft Maree's dim quivering breast,
Bound round with gracious inland girth of green
And fearless of the wild wave-wandering West,
Shone shelterless for strangers; and unseen
The goal before us lay
Of all our blithe and strange and strenuous day.

For when the northering road faced westward--when
The dark sharp sudden gorge dropped seaward--then,
Beneath the stars, between the steeps, the track
We followed, lighted not of moon or sun,
And plunging whither none
Might guess, while heaven and earth were hoar and black,
Seemed even the dim still pass whence none turns back:
And through the twilight leftward of the way,
And down the dark, with many a laugh and leap,
The light blithe hill-streams shone from scaur to steep
In glittering pride of play;
And ever while the night grew great and deep
We felt but saw not what the hills would keep
Sacred awhile from sense of moon or star;
And full and far
Beneath us, sweet and strange as heaven may be,
The sea.

The very sea: no mountain-moulded lake
Whose fluctuant shapeliness is fain to take
Shape from the steadfast shore that rules it round,
And only from the storms a casual sound:
The sea, that harbours in her heart sublime
The supreme heart of music deep as time,
And in her spirit strong
The spirit of all imaginable song.

Not a whisper or lisp from the waters: the skies were not silenter. Peace
Was between them; a passionless rapture of respite as soft as release.
Not a sound, but a sense that possessed and pervaded with patient delight
The soul and the body, clothed round with the comfort of limitless night.
Night infinite, living, adorable, loved of the land and the sea:
Night, mother of mercies, who saith to the spirits in prison, Be free.
And softer than dewfall, and kindlier than starlight, and keener than wine,
Came round us the fragrance of waters, the life of the breath of the brine.
We saw not, we heard not, the face or the voice of the waters: we knew
By the darkling delight of the wind as the sense of the sea in it grew,
By the pulse of the darkness about us enkindled and quickened, that here,
Unseen and unheard of us, surely the goal we had faith in was near.
A silence diviner than music, a darkness diviner than light,
Fulfilled as from heaven with a measureless comfort the measure of night.

But never a roof for shelter
And never a sign for guide
Rose doubtful or visible: only
And hardly and gladly we heard
The soft waves whisper and welter,
Subdued, and allured to subside,
By the mild night's magic: the lonely
Sweet silence was soothed, not stirred,
By the noiseless noise of the gleaming
Glad ripples, that played and sighed,
Kissed, laughed, recoiled, and relented,
Whispered, flickered, and fled.
No season was this for dreaming
How oft, with a stormier tide,
Had the wrath of the winds been vented
On sons of the tribes long dead:
The tribes whom time, and the changes
Of things, and the stress of doom,
Have erased and effaced; forgotten
As wrecks or weeds of the shore
In sight of the stern hill-ranges
That hardly may change their gloom
When the fruits of the years wax rotten
And the seed of them springs no more.
For the dim strait footway dividing
The waters that breathed below
Led safe to the kindliest of shelters
That ever awoke into light:
And still in remembrance abiding
Broods over the stars that glow
And the water that eddies and welters
The passionate peace of the night.

All night long, in the world of sleep,
Skies and waters were soft and deep:
Shadow clothed them, and silence made
Soundless music of dream and shade:
All above us, the livelong night,
Shadow, kindled with sense of light;
All around us, the brief night long,
Silence, laden with sense of song.
Stars and mountains without, we knew,
Watched and waited, the soft night through:
All unseen, but divined and dear,
Thrilled the touch of the sea's breath near:
All unheard, but alive like sound,
Throbbed the sense of the sea's life round:
Round us, near us, in depth and height,
Soft as darkness and keen as light.

And the dawn leapt in at my casement: and there, as I rose, at my feet
No waves of the landlocked waters, no lake submissive and sweet,
Soft slave of the lordly seasons, whose breath may loose it or freeze;
But to left and to right and ahead was the ripple whose pulse is the sea's.
From the gorge we had travelled by starlight the sunrise, winged and aflame,
Shone large on the live wide wavelets that shuddered with joy as it came;
As it came and caressed and possessed them, till panting and laughing with light
From mountain to mountain the water was kindled and stung to delight.
And the grey gaunt heights that embraced and constrained and compelled it were glad,
And the rampart of rock, stark naked, that thwarted and barred it, was clad
With a stern grey splendour of sunrise: and scarce had I sprung to the sea
When the dawn and the water were wedded, the hills and the sky set free.
The chain of the night was broken: the waves that embraced me and smiled
And flickered and fawned in the sunlight, alive, unafraid, undefiled,
Were sweeter to swim in than air, though fulfilled with the mounting morn,
Could be for the birds whose triumph rejoiced that a day was born.
And a day was arisen indeed for us. Years and the changes of years
Clothed round with their joys and their sorrows, and dead as their hopes and their fears,
Lie noteless and nameless, unlit by remembrance or record of days
Worth wonder or memory, or cursing or blessing, or passion or praise,
Between us who live and forget not, but yearn with delight in it yet,
And the day we forget not, and never may live and may think to forget.
And the years that were kindlier and fairer, and kindled with pleasures as keen,
Have eclipsed not with lights or with shadows the light on the face of it seen.
For softly and surely, as nearer the boat that we gazed from drew,
The face of the precipice opened and bade us as birds pass through,
And the bark shot sheer to the sea through the strait of the sharp steep cleft,
The portal that opens with imminent rampires to right and to left,
Sublime as the sky they darken and strange as a spell-struck dream,
On the world unconfined of the mountains, the reign of the sea supreme,
The kingdom of westward waters, wherein when we swam we knew
The waves that we clove were boundless, the wind on our brows that blew
Had swept no land and no lake, and had warred not on tower or on tree,
But came on us hard out of heaven, and alive with the soul of the sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Stars are a Map I Unfurl

British Sign Language poetry (extracted from a longer poem) by Gary Quinn
English and Shetlandic poetry by Christine De Luca
based on the epic solo voyage of Gerry Hughes 
concept by Kyra Pollitt
You can read more about the project on the Scottish Poetry Library's website.

Shetland's mobile library service

Take a trip with librarian Annette Shewan who drives one of the two library vans for the Shetland Library. “It [the library van] has always been very popular and well used. You go into people’s houses and end up helping them with their computer … giving information is what we do.”

Donnie Campbell

In this video Donnie Campbell explores just what it is he loves about running and the need for personal challenge, why his background in the marines and being brought up in Skye makes him so good at it, and why there’s nothing worse than soggy Jelly Tots. - Outdoor Adventure Guide

Forest to Mountain

October break and a surprise in the Cairngorms when the World Porridge Championships arrive. Following my fill with Porridge, I head out to wander around the forest looking for the edge to get a view to the Cairngorms.... - Scotland's Mountains

Baddengorm Woods
Creag a'Bhainne

Alexander Henry Rhind and Archaeology

Margaret Maitland, Curator of the Ancient Mediterranean, National Museums Scotland, presents her Rhind Lecture on "Alexander Henry Rhind and Archaeology".

A look at how [Wick-born] Alexander Henry Rhind’s work in Scotland informed his pioneering work in Egypt, advocacy for the protection of antiquities in both Scotland and Egypt, and his role in devising the original displays of British, Scottish, and Egyptian artefacts at the National Museum of Antiquities. -
Society of  Antiquaries of Scotland

A weekend in Mey

A weekend spent exploring the most northerly part of the Scottish mainland. From the sheep of Caithness to a sunset at Dunnet Head, you don't have to travel far from home for some extraordinary sites when you're lucky enough to live in the Highlands. - Thomas Hogben

A CALL FOR CHANGE in rural communities and protected areas

As part of the Year of Young People 2018 here in Scotland, young people from across Europe will present their Manifesto for the future of protected areas in September to all delegates.

Here, Steffi Burger, the Europarc Federation communications and policy assistant, is here to update us on what has happened and what is going to happen next.

Europarc Youth Manifesto Project 2018

London Scottish*

April, the last full fixture of the spring:
'Feet, Scottish, feet!' – they rucked the fear of God
Into Blackheath. Their club was everything:
And of the four sides playing that afternoon,
The stars, but also those from the back pitches,
All sixty volunteered for the touring squad,
And swapped their Richmond turf for Belgian ditches.
October: mad for a fight, they broke too soon
On the Ypres Salient, rushing the ridge between
'Witshit' and Messines. Three-quarters died.

Of that ill-balanced and fatigued fifteen
The ass selectors favoured to survive,
Just one, Brodie the prop, resumed his post.
The others sometimes drank to 'The Forty-Five':
Neither a humorous nor an idle toast.

Mick Imlah, from The Lost Leader

* background to the poem

The Burning

As spiders haul their thread from stem
to stem to weave the light, what do they care
if all that skilful labour’s lost when
wind unravels it, unpicking all their
careful artistry? As birds weave leaf
and stalk into their nests, abandoning
them to decay when fledglings leave,
only to build them back again in spring –
so Angus haunts the woodland hour on hour,
labouring under branches, quiet, unseen,
pulls buttercup, vetch, clovers – winding flowers
like wild embroidery into cloths of green;
makes mufflers, tailored jackets, sprouting hats,
garments for a giant or a king
to stalk the hills and sport the finery that
he has wrought from his imaginings,
and then forgets – so all this fine attire
is left to rot and compost in the rain.
He watches gardeners rake them on a pyre
of autumn leaves, then crafts them all again
because he must. Watches their ashes wind
up towers of smoke, soaring like elegies
to distant landscapes of the mind, making
of these most precious gifts, a sacrifice.

Chrys Salt, from Grass

Final Call*

Our coalition came together in around 2007 to provide a strong civil society voice feeding into the development of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Watch this short video to find out more about how SCCS, as the largest civil society coalition in Scotland, influenced Scotland's climate law.  - Stop Climate Chaos Scotland
Scotland has a great opportunity to commit to more ambitious action right now. By improving the new Climate Bill going through Parliament we can further cut emissions in the crucial period before 2030. - Friends of the Earth Scotland

We must act faster on climate change

*Final call to save the world from 'climate catastrophe'

Love Gathers All

Orkney is renowned for its poetry, stories and songs. Writers such as George Mackay Brown, Edwin Muir, Christina Costie and many more have captured the essence of the islands. 'Song' is a poem by Edwin Muir, which we have set to our own melody. - FARA

Gaelic for Outlanders: Climate Change

As part of Climate Week we are releasing a new Gaelic for Outlanders video with some words associated with our changing climate.

Mar phàirt de sheachdain far a bhios sinn a’ sònrachadh air cùisean co-cheangailte ri atharrachadh na gnàth-shìde, tha bhideo eile againn anns an t-sreath de Ghàidhlig son Outlanders far an tèid ionnsachadh air cuid de na faclan a thaobh aimsir.
- Historic Environment Scotland


Tha cian nan cian a-nis bho thàinig
gainneamh a Sahàra a Ghlaschu,
is tha creagan Leòdhais tòrr nas sine
na Tursachan Chalanais,
ach fhathast, chan eil sinn air ar glasadh
ri mointeach is cladach,
no ann an taighean-prìosain
nam bailtean:
’s tha crith-thalmhainn
gar sgapadh
gu rannan-ruadha an t-saoghail mhòir
’s ar cainnt ’s ar dualchas gar leantainn.

Ruaraidh Mac Thòmais


It was many years ago
that the sand of the Sahara reached Glasgow,
and the Lewis rocks are much older
than the Callanish Giants,
but still we are not confined
to moor and seashore,
nor to the prisons
of the cities:
and an earthquake
scatters us
to the far edges of the great world,
with our language and our tradition going with us.

Derick Thomson

National Poetry Day 2018

Rudan a nì uisge

Smaoinich air tuil, smaoinich air tobar,
smaoinich air muileann, ’s i ’g obair ’s ag obair;

smaoinich air d’ fhuil ’s i falbh ’s a’ falbh
trod chuislean uile a dh’oidhche ’s a là;

smaoinich air craobhan ’s feur ’s air lusan,
chan fhàsadh iad idir gun frasan is fliuichead;

smaoinich ort fhèin a-muigh anns a’ pholl—
dè ghlanas an salchar aig a’ cheann thall?

Smaoinich air mamaidh a’ dèanamh do dhìnneir,
gun uisge sa phana cha bhruicheadh nì dhi;

smaoinich air uisge a thig às an adhar,
cò às tha e tighinn agus càit am falbh e?

Smaoinich air cungadh nuair bhios sinn tinn,
cò ann a leaghas na mathasan grinn?

Smaoinich air frasair no bath mòr teth,
le splis is le splais is deatach tighinn dheth.

’S tha ceud rud eile a nì sinn le uisge,
nach smaoinich thu orra is tòisich air liosta.

Maoilios Caimbeul, from Dreuchd An Fhigheadair / The Weaver's Task: a Gaelic Sampler (ed  by Crìsdean MhicGhilleBhàin/Christopher Whyte

Think of a flood
Think of a flood, think of a well
Working, working, think of a mill.
Think of your blood, moving, moving
Through every artery of night and morning
Think how the grass, trees and plants know
They need the cloud-bursts of rain to grow
Think of yourself out in the mud and the mire
Think what cleans your hands, feet, hair.
Think of mammy making your dinner
Without water boiling in the pan for her
Think of water that comes from air,
How it came from there and goes, where?
Think of medicine when we are ill
How much water we need to get well
Think of a hot bath or a shower
The splish-splash pleasure, the hot vapours.
So many other things we may need water for
Make your own list for your son or your daughter.
translated by Jackie Kay

The universal reach of Gaelic song

Celebrated Gaelic singer Anne Martin discusses how music can bring people together and help break down cultural divides. As well as reflecting on her own international work, she performs a moving song she shared with delegates at an indigenous music seminar in Melbourne.

Sàl / Saltwater

Collaboration between musician and composer Iain Morrison with visual artists Dalziel + Scullion on a performance to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of The IOLAIRE, on which 205 returning servicemen lost their lives as they approached Stornoway on New Years Eve 1918. Twelve short films have been made to accompany a live performance of the music.
Co-commissioned by An Lanntair, Stornoway and 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions