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The Oaks of Sunart

An uplifting post about the restorative powers of nature from one of my favourite parts of the world, wild and beautiful Ardnamurchan.

The Caledonia Collective

As soon as the man on the phone stopped shouting at me and hung up, I made up my mind about going away. A few minutes later I had a self catering cottage booked in the village of Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. I reasoned that besides being a place I’d wanted to spend time for ages, it was also the furthest I could possibly get away. A place no-one could find me, where I could just get my head down for a few days and indulge in silence, rest, and avoid crossing paths with another human.

A whirlpool of fatigue, insomnia and negative thinking had held me fast for months. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep it up. Months of autopilot, of not really being there, putting on a face, taking things day by day. Time was slipping away and I was never reaching that…

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Today Was a Gift

A glorious blog that will transport you to beautiful places.

The Caledonia Collective

A few days ago the first snows of winter arrived on the mountains. There was a hard edged clarity of light in the forest that I only know from winter – white edges and black shadows running along every branch. The remains of autumn colours clung to the tips of wind stripped birch trees, like the final tiny glow of a candle flame before it dies.

The day was beautiful, but it seemed to signal a premature end to an autumn that never really got going – at least, not if landscape photography was what you had in mind. Autumn is the season of riotous colour and surreal mists. Interplays of shadow, light and land. But this year many days were wet, the temperatures too high for those sublime mornings of sunlit frost on golden boughs. So I was not too sorry to see winter’s promise in the air. A…

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Elm: The Tree of the Underworld

The Caledonia Collective

IMG_4369The Woods by Hamish Napier

Hmmm, I wonder what kind of tree that is?

The one on the corner of the Anagach Hill turn-off down the Old Spey Bridge road in Grantown.

I’ve cycled passed it every day on my way to school most of my life and never given it a moment’s thought. But it’s HUGE. Now having been away for 16 years, I can no longer fail to notice the imposing beast. It’s impressive.

Tall and twisted, its long spooky arms and countless finger sprawl out in every directionfrom a distorted, gnarled, swollen trunk. The folds of bark have the look of one of those manky old wine-bottle candlesticks caked in generations of candlewax that you find on the shelves of a mountain bothy. The lower branches are unnaturally thin, like badly chosen sticks for the arms of a meltingsnowman.

In summer its dull green leaves flap about…

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If You Look Deep Enough You Will See Music

The Caledonia Collective

The relationship between landscape, nature and our own human creativity has always intrigued me, it has indeed formed much of the basis of my musical life.

The journey into this relationship started for me at Redpoint in Wester Ross with the release of my first solo fiddle album and would take me subsequently to the north of Spain, through the ancient Chisholm clan lands of Glen Strathfarrar, Glen Cannich and Glen Affric and most recently to Sandwood Bay in the north of Sutherland.

This is a relationship that fascinates me and something that drives me to find new inspiration for my own music wherever I can find it. To somehow find the music that lies underneath.

Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) famously said “If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music.”

I believe, like Carlyle, that immersion over many months within an…

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Video – What does having a female role model mean to you?