Spaced to provide each with its own territory, the mountains of Assynt oversee this boggy, rocky, lochy terrain like implausibly shaped sandcastles thrusting from a vegetated lunar landscape. Of them all, Suilven is the most improbable. From the side, it is reminiscent of a giant mammoth’s silhouette, but from its seaward end it is a triple dollop of ice-cream that looms over the surrounding terrain, ready to slump in the next heatwave.
Ice-cream is not generally available at the local beaches, but the small bays of Achmelvich, with their pale, clean sand, offer plenty of scope to recreate the region’s hills in miniature. My grandson, however, just shy of two years of age, delights in demolition and getting his adult servants to fill bottles with sea water so he can tip them out again.
Two thirds through a family holiday, I have finally wangled an afternoon of peace and quiet to write. As I sit harvesting vitamin D, I am grateful for the breeze that keeps the notorious midges at bay. Amongst the more benign inhabitants are the damsel flies and dragonflies, which zip silently on meshed wings across the track to the loch, like iridescent wands scouting for witches or wizards.
Also along the ferny path, a poem emerged:
Buoyant on the honeyed breeze
Bumble bees bounce and feed
From heather’s many bells,
Nectared blossom among
Assynt’s bouldered mounds.
But, as a sufferer from Lyme disease, and with vegetation overhanging the trail, I can’t help but be a trifle edgy:
To bracken they cling
to pierce skin,
if it’s your fate.
Tick, tick, tick…biting time!
I wonder if their presence here predates human habitation, or if they came with the people and the herds they followed…
From the land that time forgot, farewell for now. Another, longer blog may follow shortly after I return to my normal world.