Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The piper of Glascarnoch Loch

water run3

With a final look at the night sky and the huge halo around the moon i smiled and  closed the door and hurriedly headed to bed .
Already all life in the bus was in the land of nod ,snoring and dream filled whimpers filled the room
Pulling the duvet up i fell back onto the pillow and started to drift off ,it had been a day filled with sites and sounds that only the mountains can supply.
In the moment between being awake and asleep i could hear the sound of some pipes drifting passed the bus ,many times over the year i have heard this sound sometimes passing the dam other times sitting by the loch the haunting sound of the pipes would drift passed .
Tonight was different the sound was  clear and so loud almost as if someone had pulled into our wee parkup
i pulled on my dressing gown and went to see who it was that had pulled in,many times people in trouble on the road would stop and ask for help
but as the door pulled back to reveal nothing ,no one was there yet the music played on .. i was shocked but just put it down to the wind and maybe someone was parked just up the road turning to head back to my warm bed i stopped and listened
the sound was louder and seem to be played with so much passion
before i knew it i was walking along the side of the road heading towards Loch Glascarnoch
The full moon was resting on the summit of Ben Wyvis  and lit my way almost as if it was daytime. still the music played on .
As i walked passed the wee copice of woods on the left the music STOPPED and as the loch came into view
peace and quiet filled the glen no wind nothing just quiet ..
water run1
Looking up the road towards Loch Glascarnoch dam and Aultguish inn beyond i could see that no one was parked at any of the layby’s ..
For the first time since coming back to the mountains a feeling of terror filled my whole body the hairs on my neck stood proud , a shiver started , shocked and reverberated throughout my body
a feeling of being watched was overwhelming but i shook my head and forced myself to get a grip and as i did the negative feelings seem to leave to be replaced by quiet and calm once more ….
Looking to the loch i was sad that i had forgot my camera the loch and mountains were a perfect image the very air all around was pure and cold
Something seemed to beckon me to the water edge and i made my way there ,i love these mountains and as i have said they have given me a feeling of place and space like i have never had in my life .
Sitting on the rock a feeling of wonder rushing around my soul a splash in the middle of the loch caught my eye
water flew into the air an fell onto the blue cracked ice again another splash this time a few yards away
a pike was on its hunt for food ?
Ice covered nearly 90 percent of the water .the natural shapes and colours from the ice truly nature the artist at play .

the wind stirred and played with the shapes formed by the ice ,sounds echoing of the mountains and rolled back to the loch and seemed to race to the dam wall only to disappear over it and off down the glen to Garve .
A cloud rolled in and slowly the light from from the moon faded and i was left sitting there in the dark only the stars where left to cast a dim light out across the frozen water
at the edge a small crack in the ice quickly grew and grew then a loud crack was sent bouncing off the walls of the glen and a large piece of ice started to rise skyward gently rolling to the left before crashing back to the water
i stood back trying to work out what could have caused this sudden movement in the frozen surface
i watched as a mist rolled down the side of the mountain and quickly reached the edge of the water and with a strange feel to it i watched as it rolled out and within a minute the loch was almost invisible
the cloud that had covered the moon rolled on bye ,the golden rays from the moon shone on the fog ,the atmosphere took on a foreboding feel and once again a feeling of terror gripped me
i noticed a large rock to my left and dived behind it not sure what i was escaping from but every sinew of my body said this was wrong
i looked round the edge of my large piece of moss covered granite to the water and what i saw froze me to the spot even though i tried with all my might i could not dive behind the rock for cover
From the water a head began to emerge strange pieces of material draped from it ,that only as the head rose was i able to see it was weed from the depths
i managed to step slowly back behind the rock but the image before me captured me like nothing in my life before
and i watched as a man wearing full highlands dress emerged the ice parting as made his way to the shore he was carrying a set of pipes in one hand the other held a huge golden claymore he glided out from the loch and as he stood there under the moon
water dripping back onto the ice with only a faint splash
he stopped to look all around he headed for a large rock i stared in awe ,then the piper once again stopped and slowly he turned his head towards me and let out a call in Gaelic i could see that his right eye was missing and in its places a small stone was lodged
a large scare was etched into his face from the corner of his mouth up to his left ear
i dived to my right forcing myself against the rock without thinking i stopped breathing and fear gripped me i was sure he had seen me and i waited for what seemed like an age before gathering the courage to turn and look again .
after a couple of minutes i convinced my self i was just dreaming to much cheese before bed as my old mum would say
getting to my feet i turned and as quickly as my confidence had returned it vanished there not two feet from me was the piper pipes at his mouth the sword strapped to his side
i thought my heart was going to explode and with it my life would end here at this wonderful highland snow covered spot
But with one smile from the piper all my fears went to be replaced with an overwhelming feeling of warmth and peace
he beckoned me closer and before i knew it i was shaking hands he said with the softest voice sit and i spent the next hour listening to some of the most haunting and passion filled music i have ever heard
at the end of it he took of his cap and nodded to me and heading  back to the water and entered it
the frozen water lapped at his feet but in seconds he was fully emerged and the sound from the pipes had gone
the last image i have is when he had turned to go i could see several tears in his jacket and a large knife handle was sticking out, fully embedded to the hilt how many years had he carried this reminder with him ..
I headed back to the bus
I think i will keep this wee story to my self

peace and light

the Dafthermit

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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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