Category: Consciousness

Two journeys, one destination (9) : Dunrobin Castle

The beautiful vision of the ‘fairytale’ Dunrobin Castle, seen here from across the bay during our visit to Portmahomack, had tantalised us with the reported splendour of its architecture and gardens. Now, we had arrived at the gateway of its estate. (1800 words, a twelve minute read) (Above: Dunrobin Castle through a long lens…) Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses … Read More Two journeys, one destination (9) : Dunrobin Castle

Helmsdale : haven of the far north

Not far south of John O’ Groats – the most northerly point of the British Isles – lies a beautiful fishing village with a vibrant present and a fascinating history (A twelve minute read, 1500 words) (Above: Helmsdale’s modern outer harbour. It has two…) We’ve finally caught up with ourselves – this twin-telling of the central and incidental places on the Silent Eye’s Pictish … Read More Helmsdale : haven of the far north

Two journeys, one destination (8) : the thousand-year fingers

Despite the world of the Picts being so far away in time, there was one man who reached back and ‘touched’ their minds with a language they shared… Art (A ten minute read, 1300 words) (Above: George Bain) He looked, once again, at the beautiful rendering of belief and life and…. everything. Once more, he was swept away by a sense of identity with … Read More Two journeys, one destination (8) : the thousand-year fingers

“Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”

In the film ‘No Country for Old Men’, there’s a famous opening scene at the site of a drugs shoot-out. Everyone’s dead when the local Sheriff and his deputy arrive and start wandering through the bodies as though they were in a Spaghetti Western. The Deputy stays silent for a long time, then says excitedly, “Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”. Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee … Read More “Ain’t this a mess, Sheriff!”

Two journeys, one destination (7) : Rosemarkie, the Black Isle

The continuing story of the ‘Pictish Trail’, the Silent Eye’s workshop in the far north-east of Scotland. We encounter the best Pictish stone at close quarters… (A ten minute read, 1100 words) Our final visit of the Saturday was to Rosemarkie, a beautiful village on the Black Isle, whose seafront looks south across the vastness of the Moray Firth. Rosemarkie was also home to … Read More Two journeys, one destination (7) : Rosemarkie, the Black Isle

Bridges of Stone and Heart

The emotional story of an unusual wartime chapel on Orkney reveals a different type of heroism… and hope. (A ten-minute read, 1400 words). (Above: the waters of Scapa Flow have not always been so calm…) Shortly after midnight on the 14th October, 1939, a German U-boat, U-47, passed unseen into the vast and hitherto safe waters of Orkney’s Scapa Flow, the base of the … Read More Bridges of Stone and Heart

Mellow Moods for Autumn (3): Heysham shadows

Heysham village is a delightful outlier of old Lancashire… Its main street curls up from a one-alley access road for a stony shoreline to become a row of beautiful stone cottages that have stood there for hundreds of years. Near St Peter‘s Church – there since Anglo-Saxon times, the road bends and climbs. This cottage dominates the corner; and today, the light and the … Read More Mellow Moods for Autumn (3): Heysham shadows

Two journeys, one destination (6) : a Pictish horizon

With the wonderful Portmahomack behind us, it was time to meet the three Pictish stones that marked the horizon line of the Tarbat Peninsula. These would originally have been visible from the sea, and boats approaching from the Moray Firth would have known they were approaching sacred Pictish land – centred on the monastery at Portmahomack. On this second day of the Silent Eye’s … Read More Two journeys, one destination (6) : a Pictish horizon

Two journeys, one destination (5) : blood and stone

Writing without the other hand to steady him was hard, but the other was clamped on his thigh, holding back the flow of blood. The words on the vellum were like the wanderings of a dying bird… he smiled at the thought, despite the pain. Through eyes filled with hot and salty water he read what he had written: ‘They came at the end … Read More Two journeys, one destination (5) : blood and stone

Mellow Moods for Autumn (1)

A series of seasonal shots for Sunday, in either monochrome or with the colour reduced to give that mellow mood… The mists and the lane. The first mists gently fill the spaces between the trees at the end of the lane. So ‘soft and special’ you want to run out and take the shot before the shafts of sunlight disappear… ©Stephen Tanham, 2020. Stephen … Read More Mellow Moods for Autumn (1)

Two journeys, one destination (4) : two sides of the hill

On the second day of the Silent Eye’s ‘Pictish Trail’ weekend, we are beginning in what is, for me, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Portmahomack is a small fishing village on the north side of the Tarbat Peninsula. It’s an hour’s drive north from Inverness. I’m at the end of the pier, gazing out across the deep blue sea towards … Read More Two journeys, one destination (4) : two sides of the hill

Two journeys, one destination (3) : the mystery of the Picts

(Above: the view of the neighbouring Inverness Castle from the steps of the museum) ‘The Romans were frightened of them…” I remember reading that the week before our Scottish workshop and being astonished. I knew the Picts had created some of the most mysterious stone carvings I had ever seen. But fearsome warriors? Weren’t these enigmatic people simply farmers? We were in the Inverness … Read More Two journeys, one destination (3) : the mystery of the Picts

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