Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Wake for the Wild
Yesterday, May 17, I joined a group of walkers and lovers of nature and wild land on the Wake for the Wild, organised by Alan Sloman. With about 40 others, many of them, like Alan himself, on the TGO Challenge, we carried a coffin from Loch Mhor over a rough, heathery ridge to Dumnaglass Lodge (where we were met by the police, called out just in case we were dangerous) then on up to the wild moorland that will be destroyed by the Dumnaglass wind farm. The day started with a fiddler playing a lament over the coffin before it was rowed across the loch to the start of the walk. Near the Lodge we stopped while Alan said a few words about the purpose of the trip and his belief that the last of Scotland’s wild land will soon be no more and at the high point we toasted the wild with a variety of whiskies (including some from England!) and Janet Donnelly, an authorised celebrant for The Humanist Society of Scotland, said some moving and valedictory words about wild land, ending with a quote from John Muir.
Throughout the day the gentle beauty of the rolling hills, the soft light, the every-changing clouds, the first summer moorland flowers and the vast vistas of hills and sky were a reminder of what we will lose and what future generations will never know.
An ironic note to the walk was provided by the Dumnaglass Estate, which had posted notices especially for us headed “Wake for the Wild” which asked us to be careful not to disturb nesting birds and to “avoid damage to the ground”. If only the Estate would follow its own advice. As it is, I don’t think the effect of 40 walkers respectful of nature and the land will be noticeable compared to the 12 kilometres of bulldozed high level roads, 1000 tons of concrete and 33 giant turbines the Estate will build, effectively trashing the landscape and its inhabitants.