Friday, 26 March 2010

Dafthermit Scottish Tales

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The Final Leap

With the North wind howling outside it is lovely to have my feet resting near to the burner on a wee log and dreaming the dream of days gone bye..
A wee story comes to mind of a day by the river ,not long ago
So as the snow outside retreats up the ben ,no longer a carpet of pure white snow more a thread bare rug discarded across the glen.
let me tell you of a day in the magical mountains of SCOTLAND.
As i made my way down the moss covered bank i pushed gently on the silver birch branch in front of me..
I knew at once this was a place i wanted to sit and watch a while
a wee golden pool at the foot of a waterfall was visible through the wood lined banks
The silver birch was in full leafed splender  and here and there spindly branches leaned out across the peaty water and dipped there tips into the warm water.
The sky above was filled with a moon so large that it felt you could leap on it and go for a night ride across the sky .
the wee river leading from the pool was bubbling and dancing around large rocks in it’s way under the moon light
as i made my way to the edge of the pool i could see some slight movement from the surface of the pool so i carefully took my seat and focused on the spot
for the next couple of seconds nothing stirred in this wee piece of heaven ,then YES
i was sure it is .it is a salmon one of the monarchs of the mountains a fish that i believe embodies all about us Scots.
a great wanderer a fighter and such passion to reach the place of its birth
So as i sat there every nerve a tingle ,the joy at being able to witness the return of this great fish
his head out of the water looking at the waterfall for the way forward over this last great barrier to the pool of his birth less than 20 yards away.
The journey he had just completed seemed to flash in his eye a journey off thousands of oceanic miles or more, perils and dangers than he cared not to think off,the day he had finally spotted the river estuary  but he had made it and with a final sum of his energy he knew he would be there soon..
he seemed to gaze at me for a split second then with all his reserved energy he began to climb out of the water twisting this way and that in an effort to release all the energy at one single explosion and almost as if in slow motion he gained high first one foot then another and just as it seemed he would make it he fell backwards into the pool
I watched as for a couple of minutes no movement on the pool i feared he had used all his energy and with a hint off sadness i looked to the moon still beaming still beaming how many times had you seen this journey i thought .
Then a slight movement in the golden bubbly waters and i knew he was back (like i said a true SCOT) the battle was not over and with an even more dramatic burst of power he leapt clean 3 foot in the air and with the moon shinning brighter as if in encouragement a final splash at the surface he made it and with a quick glance backwards to me he headed to the pool of his birth there in the magical mountains of the northern country of Scotland..
then from nowhere fish first one or two then what seemed hundreds filled the pool and started to scale the waterfall from all angles fish leapt and failed the jump then more would leap and some succeeded this seem to send more and more hope until they seemed to take the barrier in their stride but a few with every ounce of energy spent drifted to the bank DEAD and DYING  ..
at that moment i was about to get and go home when from the corner off my eye two huge yellow things seemed to fall from the sky
the moon was hidden behind a wandering cloud but still enough light escaped to allow me to see what it was
An eagle larger and more colourful than i have ever seen swooped legs stretched out talons at the ready ,wings folded back plummeted through the gap in the trees and with an amazing accuracy landed on one of the floundering fish and gently came to earth his meal well and truly secure
With a loud call that reverberated across the glen he tucked into his meal one monarch feeding another .the way it has always been
peace and light
the dafthermit x

The Piper Of Glascarnoch Loch

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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 ..
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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


The Rock

Walking along the road to Ullapool as you hit the highest part of the road between Inverness And Ullapool you are greeted with a stunning view of Loch Droma and beyond.
No matter how many times i see this view it never ceases to move me
This night , it was a clear night the air seemed to be even more fresh than usual
walking on i could hear voices coming from the shore ,this was not strange especially at this time of year as many people make their way up here for a fire and a night with the starts
I smiled to myself at the laughter echoing from the people and the glen that surrounds us but pushed on as i wanted to spend the night at Corrieshalloch Gorge
Eventually the voices disappeared in the slight breeze but as i looked back something was wrong i stood and tried to work out what it was
about to turn and go sure all was ok when i noticed a huge rock at least 10 feet by ten feet standing there ,i had never seen the rock before in all the time i had lived and passed very spot this spot .
I stared at the rock but the more i looked at it the larger it seemed to get it was covered in moss like no other from the loch and strange figures seemed to be etched into it
putting it down to just a trick of the highland light ,i lit a fag and relaxed with the night sky ,the people seemed louder again and i thought i would be good to spend some time with them .
So i made my way down to them along a winding wee moss lined path until someone shouted “Hello and welcome “
i looked up and shouted many thanks my friend it is a wonderful night for a fire
i was greeted by everyone at least thirty people where sprawled  along the shore guitars playing some singing others in what looked like deep conversations
but the overwhelming feeling of love and peace was so strong ( i love times like this when people share their talents with the world and for a short time no jealousy etc just love and happiness )
The drinks flowed food from what seemed the four corners of the world appeared rice pasta the smell drifted of across the loch
Lying there i was so happy
I stood up to head behind a tree just a wee way of for the call of nature
when i finished i stood out from the tree and shouted anyone for a swim
Looking up there was no sign of anyone ,nothing even the smells from the food gone
the fire that had only a few seconds ago been raging was gone.
I froze ,every hair on my body standing up my breathing came to a halt ,sweat seemed to flood down my back
was all i could say
i looked around again trying to find some signs of the people trying to convince myself it was just some huge practical joke
But still nothing then the rock seemed to move closer at first i stood back
but somehow i found myself moving closer to it
The sight that greeted me will never leave me
what i had thought was moss was in fact human hair strands of blonde red brown hair covered  the large granite rock
then as i wide eyed stared i saw
EYES hundreds
Human nails and fingers were also strewn across the rock
somehow the rock pulled me even closer i could make out long marks in rows of four where visible all coming from the centre of the rock and out to the edge
Something tugged at my boots ,i looked down and could see the hair was wrapping itself around pulling ever tighter
i reached down to try and free myself from this nightmare but as i reached out a hand emerged from the very centre of the rock and gripped my arm with such force no matter what i did ,the more i tried the tighter the grip became 
The hole in the centre of the rock grew larger and larger
Screams like nothing i had ever heard powered from the rock
And slowly i was pulled closer and closer
the hole started to shrink the light from the highland sky fading away ,the grip on my arm and boots seemed to relax now
but still i was held firm the rock now had me in a grip i would never again be released from
the last thing i saw was the long finger nail marks i had seen earlier
now added to my by my OWN
The End


                                    The Tree ( the Highland Guardian)

For years now in the Scottish highlands tales of people that disappear without trace while travelling the Ullapool road have been told.
Visit any highland pub and ask if its true
you will be greeted with stern faces and Voices that are  hushed , with the smoke from the peat fire filling the room ,all will say as one
“we don’t talk about it “
Let me tell you of a night not long ago:
As you leave the wee highland village that is Contin and head up the long winding hill passed Rogie Falls
a large sign on your left will appear
warnings of snow and ice and even deer on the road  is displayed .
This night i was sat on a rock high up watching the mist and moon in the eternal dance .
I noticed a car started the climb up the hill far off the sound of the peat filled water roared down the falls
as the car approached the sign it flashed
YOU SHALL NOT PASS” over and over again
I watched as the car ignored the sign and carried on its arrogant way .
As you climb the hill it levels out to a magical view lochs, mountains ,sky all at once fill your eyes
the sheer beauty of which almost stops your very heart from beating
The car passed by UNTIL and with no reason STOPPED ………
I waited for the car to continue on its journey or the person to get out but nothing
Then from the left bank a long thin moss covered branch stretched out slowly at first then seemed to quicken as it got closer to the car window
and with that ,it crashed through the windscreen but no noise travelled up the hill nothing just a perfect highland evening .
The branch pulled back and in its grasp i could see a face wrapped in the woody embrace
The face seemed to be screaming and distorting in fear but again no sound NOTHING
I watched as the person was dragged from the car completely
and more branches entwined the body till it disappeared from sight.
I stared at the road and tried to make sense of what i had just seen
but no answers came to mind the car just sat there nothing to show what had just happened .
Many times in my life when faced with extreme danger time seemed to slow down and i thought that this is what had just  happened and i rushed down the bank to help .
As i got to the car i could see that no one else was in it
the only sign was the broken window but when i looked at it again even that was unbroken ,no glass, nothing the car was in perfect condition as if it had just left a showroom in Inverness .
i stood there looking all around unsure what to do when i noticed a wee tree off to my left .
Amongst all the fine tall trees with leaves of gold was a wee tree no leaves and half the size of the rest
walking closer i could see that ever branch was covered in knots and the branches seemed that they were to heavy for the wee trunk to hold up
looking at the ground though huge roots spread out in every direction almost the width of the trunk itself they headed off into the distance
Looking closer still i thought i could see a wee light right in the heart of the tree and as i focused the light got brighter and brighter swirling faster and faster
frozen to the spot i watched as the whole tree glowed from every tip of every branch a light pulsed the like i had never seen
A feeling of warmth and trust flooded the wee glen..
From somewhere deep in the woods a voice whispered in my ear
      our friend
I sat down on the soft moss and leaves and listened as an ancient  story was told to me
We are the trees we are the trees the very lungs of the earth
For as long back as we can remember this wee tree has stood

We grow as has our ancestors tall and strong for as long as we can remember it has always been that way
That wee tree old and twisted is  THE GUARDIAN
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it has gathered all the negative and evil from man those that would not listen to the signs and protected us all for as long as earth has travelled the universe
Lately though it has started to moan and cry the pain rumbling under the ground to far of glens and beaches to other guardians stretched out across these ancient lands
One day soon we will all know the tree ,the wee tree has fallen
and on that day Earth and all that live upon her WILL know the Guardian is DEAD
The evil the pollution the greed of humans will result in a storm the like of which has never been seen and will sweep across the lands and oceans ..
A day of cleansing
as i headed out of the woods i noticed a FRESH KNOT on the branch of the old tree , a face seemed to look up sill frozen in fear
So if you happen to journey north take the time, look out and heed the signs
and if you should be lucky enough to see that wee troubled tree
touch her gently and thank her
                                       THE GUARDIAN of the highlands
                                                                 The End
                                  A wee tale from the Dafthermit in the tin can
                                                                      small daft hermit
p.s don’t worry about the car it was collected by my friend Hamish sold and the proceeds were sent to the local hospital…

I have a group on facebook to bring an end to Seaworld’s and all captive animals  please visit here CLICK HERE

                                      Turn Left at the moon

As the two suns rose above the far of mountains
The planet began another day bathed in there golden rays ,everywhere life stirred from the crystal clear pools high in the mountains to the forests that blanketed huge areas of the planet and on to the blue oceans life teemed and started the daily wonder that is life
             For millions of years the natural cycle had played out this truly wonderful picture
Then one day in the sky a small object came into view ,it thundered through the bright blue sky trailing a tail of flames it hurtled to the ground beyond the forest
Life on the planet would never be the same again
Within a few years the invader from far out in space had changed the once beautiful planet beyond all recognition..
Where once huge tracks of land had been covered in trees ,now only small pockets remained
The organism that had arrived swept across the planet killing everything in its way even deep in the ocean the animals and other life were not save from the deadly invader
Soon rivers that had flowed untroubled to the oceans for millions of years now slithered full of dark and bubbling fluids killing all life in them starving the fish of the needed oxygen and minerals they needed to survive

Across the planet all life was in a war it had no chance  of winning
One by one the animals died out ,until one day only the deadly virus that had arrived from space was the last visible sign of life until even that DIED to..
The small space craft the original capsule to carry the deadly invader crumpled into the ground along with the millions that bad followed ,until the day the planet began to rebuild and one day the way it had been will return again ….
                                                           The End



                        Explostions on the BUS

All around the bus
The evening stars shone bright
A flurry of fresh snow was falling
The roaring fire casting a warm yellow glow
Belly’s full with Mel’s Italian Stew
So of to bed content and happy
The dogs by the burner curled and relaxed
The cats in their chosen beds for the night
One on the tele the other under the sofa
Drifting drifting and gently the land of nod calls
All aboard the bus was peace and quiet.
Then in the darkness of the early hours
A strange rumble could be heard
Quickly followed by another then another
Then An explosion the likes had never been heard in the highlands
A terrifying sound that alerted me from my wonderful sleep
Then another explosion this time louder and longer
with Sudden realisation the Italian stew was back
and with the remembered advice of NEVER NEVER AGAIN
ringing in my head
I prayed and rolled over, tugging at the quilt to try and fall back off to sleep
But a minute or two later another roll of thunder
This time the dogs sat bolt upright
and with looks of worry etched on their faces they bolted to the bed DAD DAD DAD’S in trouble
With long moist nose’s sniffing the air
The worried look on both their faces was quickly replaced by
a look of abject terror
with a fleeting glance between them exchanged
all thoughts of love and worry for dad had gone
OH NO DADS off again
QUICK QUICK dive for the nearest cover all dogs for themselves
For the next hour or two i lay there rumble rumble explosion explosion
not to mention the SMELL god the SMELL
WELL ,no more could i stand it and with a roar i commanded my bum to leave get out the door
OUT OUT get out the door
but all to no avail
So in an attempt to sleep oh god sleep
and with my disgraced and disowned bum now hanging from the bed no quilt for that
i tried tried to sleep sleep again

and with one final feeble PUTT PUTT i drifted back to sleep
with a smile on my face i began to dream when “BANG “
but this time to my relief i knew it wasn’t me
and i lay there in dread
for all around i could hear one by one the animals begin
Oh shit,i had forgotten , Mel had fed the animals the last of the Italian STEW OH GOD NO NO
and with the noise of a passing deer at the window, and i swear as it headed off i could hear the PUTT PUTT of the dreaded Italian Stew……..
i rolled over and screamed NEVER NEVER NEVER AGAIN…

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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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