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Yesterday’s sunny Autumn day offered a fine opportunity for a hilltop stroll…

The onslaught of Arctic winds (in all seriousness – straight from the NNW) froze my fingertips and made photographing a little challenging, but the images I came away with really capture the fluidity and drama of the light (and the weather) at this time of year…

Mmmm, desolation…

From desolate to picture-postcard in 5 minutes…

I have a couple of panoramas from the top of the Caterthun I’m going to try and stitch together.

And it was the last day of Autumn indeed – today, snow arrived on the wind…

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We like our lore in Scotland, traditionally at least, and this be peak faerie season. Lock up your babies!

The Enchanted Forest event at Pitlochry plays on this, and of course tourists it up, but you can’t deny the fun in creeping through an artfully lit forest staffed by druids and unicorns, on a calm, cold, moonlit night in the days surrounding Halloween (or Samhain, to give it its Celtic name). A good and proper way to celebrate the passing of this ancient festival (rant about commercialised, americanised ‘trick-or-treat’/harlot-y costume abomination soon to follow…)

The tree-based light installations surround a small loch, making for stunning reflections on a still night. Turn these images sideways, however, and the faces of the Faerie Folk come out! –

By all accounts, if walking out at night during this high season of supernatural activity, it is best practice to wear your clothes outside-in and back-to-front. Centuries-old established method of faery-mischief repellence…

Back at the start of September we went down to the Borders for a friend’s birthday celebration, by all accounts expecting a hippy campfire weekend out in the woods. This version of events continued accordingly until around 10pm, when we decided to make a diversion to a charity rave in a nearby field. We thought the field in question was only a few hundred metres down the road from the woodland community where we’d set up camp. The car was already running on fumes, as was I – Laura, still sober, offered to drive to the new venue. She had no insurance and hadn’t driven in some two years, but we were on quiet country roads, what could go so wrong? I placed my driving licence in that nameless hollow in front of the gear stick: “it’s a really old picture, they’ll never be able to tell it’s not you!”

The rave location turned out not to be just down the road at all, and we ended up rolling around the countryside surrounding Galashiels – thankfully mostly downhill – on a lengthy search, fraught with potential fuel-death. After having the chance to stop in town and fuel up (me in my intoxicated state; no doubt that’s illegal as well), we spotted a small, painted sign lit by fairy-lights in a gateway: “Party→”

Sometime after 9am next morning Laura drove us back to our tents, confident she was fine to take charge of the vehicle despite no sleep. None of the rest of us were in a position to disagree. None of the other five of us full-grown tall people, that is, that were to squash into the small Seat… A car that had begun the trip spotless was showing the signs of having been with us every step of that epic full-moon weekend, filled with empty booze containers, grass, and mud up to the ceiling…

As if all that hadn’t been illegal enough, I discovered this week when I went to renew my driving licence that the current one had expired sometime back in August… Not to mention the fact that I’d lost the accompanying paper part somewhere in South America, and hadn’t lived at the displayed address for over four years… The new one arrived already, no questions asked. Sometimes, luck is on my side!

Since I’ll be leaving the country again soon, and indefinitely, I thought I’d best make the most of my remaining time at home and get out into the landscape, by far the best thing about my homeland. My home county of Angus is a tourism backwater, and its dismal towns either suffer for it, or are the cause of it, it’s hard to say which. But the agricultural pastures which roll between hills and woodland and right to the cliffs of the North Sea shore make it the most beautiful of the land, in my opinion, and are what shall one day bring me back.

Though I took a lot of classic shots of that landscape today, I’ve chosen slightly abstract ones which display textures:


Light through the beech leaves and on the bare dreels, post-harvest.

I like this one cause it doesn’t really fit. It’s ambiguous, homogeneous even. It could be anywhere, though it makes me think of Kansas, or Nebraska. Not that I’ve ever been to either, but I did fly over them in an aeroplane once…

Today, I’m feeling monochrome…

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This afternoon I was overcome by an urge to head for the coast. The sun had retreated, but the breeze was still warm and the clouds made a fine spectacle. There were others on the stony shore at Auchmithie, enjoying the close of the summer. Slavic voices fleeted up on the wind, too distant to tell where from, and I wondered how they had come to find this hidden cove.

 Some houses for sale: tiny, squint, one-story things, like rural homes ought to be; and I fantasise of a bleak, seaside existence…