Complacent through knowing Glencoe too well. Too easy to sit lost in thought. My trip away, gate-crashed by Jonas, Gertrude and Henry. The ferry carried me to somewhere new – Ardnamurchan. Stontian. Ariundle. Salen. Wonderous names. Almost out of myth and legend. Scotland on a bright cold Sunday morning. Is there anywhere finer? Wiggling my way along the A861. Hugging Locah Sunart. Stopping and dwelling. Enjoying being a tourist. My eyes overwhelmed through the clarity of light. Ears ringing to the sound of running meltwater.
Nose drinking in the smell of it all. Stimulated. My brain whirring. Photographs everywhere. Time to move on.Time to hurry a little. No time to stop too long. Time running out on my journey through the storms. My footsteps crunched over fresh hailstones. For the first time in days it was still. Full of expectation. I had come for the trees of Ariundle Woods. Ancient forests of remnant oak. Tolkeins Ents come to life, or so I had been told. Weathered. Blasted. Covered in lichen. The surrounding woodland pulled down. Exposing them in all their gnarled glory.
Sunart Woods

Fallen, Sunart Woods [Pentax 645z FA45-85] ~ click on image to enlarge

To make sense, woodland needs repeated visits.

Chaotic. Confusing. Overwhelming. It takes time to become tree like. To revel in the purposeful winding of branches towards the light. To find shape amongst the twisted roots. To seek compositions that exclude the glaring sky. Time to let the eyes go slack. Time to accept the lack of order. Time I did not have

Patchy, bright white and melting snow did not help. I found myself attempting to exclude it. To focus on branches. But photographs of only the lichen were not what I wanted. Too obvious. To to…there.

I wanted the trees to be part of the image. I did not want it to become a tree portrait. I wanted a flavour. In the end, overwhelmed. Two frames exposed.

Back in the car I pushed on to Sunart. More woods. More terrifying mind bending compositions ahead. This day was failing. One hour of light left. I was failing. A place you could spend days in. So much to see. Too much. I clambered over broken trunks. Storm blasted fallen giants. Man made culling. My boots crunched down into layers of rotting matter up to my thighs. I felt like I swimming in a log pile.

Rainfall, Sunart Woods

Falling, Sunart Woods [Pentax 645Z FA 200mm] ~ click on image to enlarge

“Just over there” the woods kept beckoning.
I know this feeling. Images all around. Your brain telling you to create. Knowing well that it is being forced out of you. Time is pushing you. Working so hard to shut that noise down. I smiled at myself and pulled my eyes away from the trees.
After an hour I was stumbling back to the path. Dusk arrived. It was starting to rain. Not the soul sapping torrents of the previous day. A beautiful Scottish pitter-patter. The sound echoing from my jacket. We who spend time out doors know its dulcet tone. I stared at the rain falling on the Lochan. Made a reflected black from the trees ringing its edge. My eyes went slack.

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