Down the Mountain

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Come with me on a tumble from the dark jagged peaks of Bla Bheinn (Blaven) down to the soft grassy shores of Loch Slapin, on the far south west of the Isle of Skye. Sheets of dolerite encased in gabbro, speckled with basalt dykes create a distinctly dramatic Munroe. The stone itself confuses compasses, the mountains way of keeping us awake. You need to be good at reading the sun and a map when you cross these rocks which lie on the very east of the Coullin. As sharp as razors these peaks can create their own weather, wrapping clouds into swirling rain in the blink of an eye, before parting into glorious sun.

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The Blue Mountain chisels through the land, offering drama and crumbling rocks. From the wind whipped peaks, pieces crack and tumble down towards the lower slopes. This rock dust is highly fertile, and where it gathers in gullies and cracks, nature flourishes vibrant and green.

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Bog Myrtle, Heather and Bog Cotton clothe the less sharp slopes, as we tumble down over the high pastures of the loch side. Sun drenched and rain drenched a carpet of plants has taken root here for millennia, in the shadow of the high rocks.

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Hidden in the cracks, crystal clear water tumbles from high mountain springs. Gathering volume and losing speed it pours over water smoothed boulders, singing tales of heroes and beautiful princesses. The trees cluster over the stream whispering secrets and stories of what has passed beneath their boughs. The wind softens and the earth throws tender ferns and leaves skywards, in this hushed glen.

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Soft lichen and moss gathers in the stillness, filling the trees with soft green clouds, perfect for lining nests. The trees are full to bursting with a choir of Gaelic birds, and the soft magic of the low slopes soothes away any cares.

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Here in the moss filled woods trees have stood for longer than even our ancestors memories. Cloaked in softness you might come to rest for a while beneath the wise trees of Bla Bheinn, and it would not be time wasted.

For those who like facts, Blaven’s Gaelic name is Blร  Bheinn, the ‘bh’ representing the letter ‘v’ which is not present in the Gaelic alphabet. The meaning of the name is confused and variously documented as ‘blue mountain’, ‘warm mountain’, ‘sunny mountain’, ‘mount of the blast’ or ‘hill of bloom’, but the locals all call it the blue mountain.

Blaven is one of the Isle of Skye’s twelve Munros – a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet (914.4m) in height – and is the east most peak of the Black Cuillin. Separated from the main Cuillin range by Glen Sligachan, it is the highest of the surrounding mountains at 928m (3,044 feet). Just so you know, you should always refer to ‘The Cuillin’ (singular) and never ‘The Cuillins.’

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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28 Responses to Down the Mountain

  1. I really hope I’ll walk there one day!
    Scotland is on my inner map of places that will ‘call’ sooner or later.

  2. restlessjo says:

    Cloaked in softness sounds an ideal place to be, Seonaid. ๐Ÿ™‚ It looks totally beautiful.

  3. gwynnrogers says:

    You are so beautifully descriptive and your pictures so distinct and detailed. I absolutely marvel at your thoughts. You truly are inspiring. Thank you!

  4. A most beautiful place. Thanks for taking us along. Keep the technical stuff coming … I like it. D

  5. LightWriters says:

    Marvellous! The tangled lovely wilds of Scotland, the Munros, The Cuillan, and Skye! (heaven on earth, if you ask me!) .

  6. Colline says:

    Love the shot of the rocks amongst the shadows.

  7. Rachael Charmley says:

    So like the way you weave magic and folklore into your narrative. It’s redressed the balance for me. I have never been to the Isle as I thought it was riddled with tourists ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. beeseeker says:

    Skye is a special place and the words here bring the drama… from the small to the large, the local to the universal, the real to the faerie… as do the stunning photos.

  9. I recognise that mountain! Beautiful post – every time I read your words and see your pictures, you make me long to go back to Skye again.

  10. I love how the wild mountain offers both the razor-sharp edges and unpredictability of weather and the inviting woods with moss softening your steps.

  11. John says:

    How nice to have these magnificent photographs to go with Richard Hugo’s poetry, ‘The Right Madness on Skye’.

    • I hadn’t heard of Richard until now, but just googled him and he sounds great. I love to connect with the feeling of the people who have walked ahead of us in the beautiful places on earth ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I felt like I was able to take this beautiful trip with you! Wonderful job! Thanks:)

  13. An enchanting faery land of a place. The water bubbling just above the surface and the moss-laden forest beckoning one to enter are not to be resisted.

  14. icelandpenny says:

    I particularly like the image of the “moss filled woods”, that path draws one in…

  15. Dina says:

    Lovely post, Seonaid. I hope to get to Skye one day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Oh I know you would love its fairy filled glens and haunted mountains….but you already have a giant Scottish adventure on your hands ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Dina says:

        Zes!! ๐Ÿ™‚ We*re much looking forward to our adventure. ._)
        Now we are off to a giant celebration of 200 years constitution Norway.
        Big hug from the North, Dina xo

  16. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Majestic mountains and delicate wispy moss, and I just love bog cotton, we don’t see it down here!

    • The delicate and the rough all woven into the beautiful tapestry which is the north west of Scotland Gilly…..I’ve loved bog cotton too since I was a little girl….imagining the fairies weaving it into fine clothes ๐Ÿ™‚

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