defining water

Walking in this landscape, you become acutely aware of water. It defines the land. Burns fill up in response to weather,  becoming animate. After heavy rain, water becomes a visceral force in the landscape.

midsummer sizzles

S-T-E-A-M rises

from overnight rain

Ailnack Gorge

cavernous fast water

more than a colour

their blood flows

through the arteries

of the land

Often I would leave a hard landrover track, in favour of following a burn. It seemed the right thing to do.

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goodbye path

following Allt na Craoibhe-cuilinn

(Holly Burn), Red Sneck burn

crossing Starry Burn, Black Ditch,

Little Kymah

Looking at a detailed map, you see names for different kinds of water. There are burns, lochs and rivers, but also rills, stripes, grains, fleuchats, and more.

Alec Finlay, extract from ‘dictionary of waters’, Some Colour Trends

After which, I designed motifs for 20 different kinds of water.

A Route of Springs, celebrates water. It maps a walk  from Corgarff over the Ladder pass, finishing at Highland Spring Bottling Plant in Glenlivet.

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water-lines define

a confluence

a bend in the river

linear time’s one-way

spring becomes stripe

becomes allt

cloud becomes caochan

becomes cloud

on the watershed

a raindrop decides

which way to fall

circular time recycles

Whisky and Water

uisge: water

uisge beatha: whisky, "water of life"

Whisky and water are closely connected. The Hielan’ Ways area has plenty of both. The river Fiddich shares a very defined watershed with the River Livet. It presents as a natural walk: a wander from Glenfiddich Distillery to Glenlivet Distillery. The route follows the Fiddich to the watershed and descends down the Livet. You pass the Elf House cave on the way.

Elfhouse Burn

the cave’s in a fairy hillock

where the glen narrows

take it in turn

to stand inside

click to enlarge

Elf House Cave