Thursday, 20 October 2011


Image Above: John the shepherd and dogs
Location: Isle of Erraid, Mull, Scotland

The line will move and I will move with it but for the moment I wait perched on a granite tor watching the shepherd and the dogs move sheep between the valleys that hang below the island’s south east corner. It seems an age since I have just sat with the island and felt the slow rumble of its granite pulse through the wadding of peat and heather. People ask me about the remoteness of the place but I am not entirely sure what they mean. Remote from what? When I look on the map I understand their concerns as I trace a thin spit of land out into the North Atlantic. Still there is a feeling that I am closer to something than I have ever been.

The line has not yet moved, I look back to Ben More as it emerges from the clouds holding a net of snow cover. To the north, south, east and west black squalls are moving over the ocean dappling the waters with both light and dark. Moments pass when the island’s granite shines like teeth and then the curtain is drawn and the shadows fall. Sometimes I feel like there is no sense in investing in the present or the past here everything feels as if it is at that moment of creation like a dream filling sleep.

The line has not yet moved and I am not sure if I am waiting now. This morning we helped pull one of the shepherd’s cows out of a ditch. On route to the animal I thought about the other times I had helped with other cows and other ditches and wondered if history was repeating itself or just my expectations. If I could only stop and forget myself instead of filling the landscape with memories of conversations and plans.

The shepherd has past the line and a hand goes up. I leave the ridge picking a route that will bring me across the valley floor in full view of the sheep on the far side, they will move, my presence already worries them.

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