The last photo in my last post was also my last photo in the year-long project Looking East, Looking West. My good friend Rebecca and I worked on weekly diptychs from our respective sides of the Atlantic throughout 2014. This morning I took some time to look back through our posts and have chosen some of my favourites to share again here. These posts remind me of good days, bad days, difficult days, happy days… 2014 was a strange year in many ways. Here’s to 2015.
South Uist is a really magical island. It’s famous for the almost-continuous machair and sand on the west coast, but it’s the east coast that I find really enticing. With the exception of a few clusters and occasional lone houses, few people now live in this area. Infrastructure and expansion around the 1960s meant that those households still living on the coast* were faced with the reality that the services and facilities being afforded to communities in the west would not be extended to those in the east.
There is an abundance of excellent walks to be had in South Uist. When you start exploring a bit you begin to understand the difficulties in supplying services to this area. Walking overland is arduous, long and pretty impractical. On paper it seems to make much more sense to travel by sea, though what the waters around the east coast are like I don’t know. Perhaps going by horse, as many likely would have, is easier than just on foot. These photos are from a walk around the headland at the end of the Loch Aineort road last month. We followed a route – roughly- recommended in the Cicerone guide to walks in Uist. It’s excellent and much recommended.
*population movement anywhere is a complicated business – there are many and varied additional reasons why people had been moving away from this area.
A rare chance to fly up over the Western Isles from Uist – Lewis. The weather wasn’t the best, and nor are my photos, but seeing the islands from the air emphasises just how watery and knobbly they are.
A number of years ago I worked in a well-known Edinburgh bookshop. I worked a few evenings a week, alongside studying full-time. I really loved the job – being surrounded by books, getting a hefty discount on books, speaking excitedly about books with colleagues and customers. It was, on the whole, pretty good. I made a lot of friends when I was there, but one friendship in particular grew through a shared love of cold places, knitting, youtube videos of animals doing stupid things and, of course, books.
Rebecca and I remain close friends today, despite now living on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Last year Rebecca touted the idea of doing a project between the two of us, and I, being a fan of everything Rebeccca does, of course said yes. The result is Looking East, Looking West – a weekly diptych of photos from the two of us. It’s nice to be able to share photos in this kind of context, and it’s good to have a project to focus on week-to-week. It’s not easy remembering to take photos, and particularly ones good enough to put up (did I mention Rebecca is really, really good?) but it’s good fun. So the photos I put up here might well be leftovers from those I send to Rebecca, but hopefully over the course of the year they’ll improve and develop (excuse the pun).
Thank you, Rebecca, for encouraging me to do something different, something that feels quite bold.