Saligo

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Since arriving on Islay there have been a few places I’ve been desperate to get to. Being as I am sans vehicle, and with the buses not servicing much beyond Loch Indaal or Port Ellen, I’ve had to be patient. Happily, the milder weather is bringing with it both seasonal bird visitors to the island as well as large flocks of tourists and holidaymakers. Even more happily, some of these holidaymakers are here to see me. As a result I’ve had the chance to get out to corners of the island so far unknown to me, beyond pictures and notes of historical interest in books.

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One of my top places to visit, which seems to be high on a number of ‘must-see’ lists, was Saligo Bay. No wonder people like it, it is wild, remote and bears the full brunt of the Atlantic on its shores. I visited on a day of exceptionally strong winds and saw waves bigger than I’ve ever seen before, with spindrift as high as the waves themselves. Beautiful light, stunning rocks, lambs cavorting around behind me in the dunes. It was spectacular.

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What’s in the name? I’m not sure. Some indicate a Gaelic origin, others state simply ‘unknown’. For the military historian there’s plenty of interest in the area with significant remnants of wartime communication stations, now well embedded in the sand and providing shelter for newborn lambs. It’s a really spectacular wee corner of the island.

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A lamb very adept to listening.

 

 

Storyville & arctic terns

Just a few quick links for a rainy, windy Wednesday evening.

The Storyville series on the BBC is rarely less than excellent and two episodes recently have been particularly good. The Queen of Versaille was remarkable – a rags-to-riches-to-rags story of wealth, greed, delusion, corruption and ultimately family life. The most recent Storyville on was Expedition to the End of the World – a group of scientists and artists travelling into areas of Greenland thought to be unexplored. It, too, was wonderful with interesting musings on the relationship between art and archaeology (a favourite topic of mine). The landscapes were like something from a dream, but shattered often by the reality of the dangers of the area, with polars never far away.

Last year I was pleased to contribute an arctic tern to the Bird Yarns project. I was lucky enough to see them exhibited at the Dovecot studios in Edinburgh (and, by a stroke of luck, actually found my own). Reading more about the project and the flock as it moves across the country I’ve come across Air Falbh Leis na h-Eòin; another fascinating multi-disciplinary arts project in English and Gaelic that I really hope I’ll get a chance to see in person. I love the combination of environment, language, and music. It encapsulates something that I find so important about Gaelic: that it, as a language, evolved as a result and reaction to its surrounding environment and landscape. It’s a topic I’ve been researching for my work recently and it just keeps demonstrating to me how important it is to reconnect language with environment. It’s a project worth a nosey, anyway.

Happy wednesday.

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