Heriot Toun in summer

Words for Summer 2011

Loch Etive: That Time

Alec Finlay, 2010


We'd swithered about Gassan all Spring. If we'd known earlier about Beregonium - Barr nan Gobhar, Ridge of the Armourers - that would have been pair for the ancient Smith-cult founded by Tamaomaru, Kenkya and his son Gassan. Then there ws a provisional plan to send s climbing-poet or poet-goat up Beinn Mheadhoin, to bivvy under the Shelter Stone and cross the stepping stones. But that mountains beyond another mountain, Ben Macdui, and although Basho climbed to the snow patches almost as far as the gates to the clouds, we opted in the end for craft. We couldn't resist the invitation to stay with Annie Briggs, at Kilmiddlefern, and that brought us close to dreich Bonawe.

But Etive caught our imagination and we looked at her both ways along the loch. Station 37 Collages Loch Etiveside (August) and Glen Etive (September), this time and that, tracking the Deirdre myth inland from Benderloch/Beregonium, deep into the mountains, compassing the the crown of Ben Cruachan W-E, looking for the places she and the three sons of Uisneach, Naoise chief among them, enjoyed their chaste picnics, by the side of Deirdre's waterfall in Glen Etive, or in her House of the Sun (Tigh Grianach), or in Naoise's wood (the Coille Naoise) in the bay between Achnacloich and Aird's Point.

(W.H. Murray)

Sora's hokku (1)

Alec Finlay

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