Bernie Bell (small bear) and Mike go on a road trip
The Ancient Stones of Kilmartin Glen
Friday 28th April – In which smallbear meets her Kilmartin Kin. Fine dry day. Swallows and Sand Martins in the garden – also Orange Tip butterfly. Main Kilmartin walk : Glebe Cairn, Nether Largie North, Mid and South, Temple Wood, Ri Cruin Cairn, stone rows, Temple Wood again then back to Kilmartin.
Neter Largie South is the oldest cairn, Neolithic, something akin to Duntryleague (the ‘Singing Cairn’ in County Limerick). Irish connection. Very much kin to Bernie – v. much welcomed there.
McB searches Temple Wood stones for the carving of Bernie’s dream image, without success, but Bernie is ‘told’ and says “That one”. At first we can’t see it, then the design on the left side emerges into view, lit sideways by the rays of the sun.
After that, it’s hard not to see it! The spiral on the right-hand side, is harder to see, but is possible to trace, with a finger – can feel it, tho’ can’t see it. Bernie shows it to an Australian couple, then a couple from the Netherlands. Then , on the way back, to two very interested Spanish men ( Bernie Bit – they smelt gorgeous!). Spreading the good stuff.
Lunch was picnic at Temple wood. Evening meal at Kilmartin Hotel , v. good, unpretentious, music like an 80’s disco that we’d love to go to. Bernie visited in the night by a being. ( Bernie Bit – a strange little chap – green, smooth head with patterns on it. Amiable – no idea what that was about!)
Saturday 29th April – First to Dunaad, volcanic hill rising out of Moine Mhor bog. Citadel of kings. Bernie gets more than half way up over rough ground. Leaving it to McB to ascend to the top – a well, inauguration stone (places foot in footmark in king-making stone), Citadel at summit. Panorama over Moine Mhor bog and glen.
Then to Lochgilphead for petrol, Red Cross shop ( shirt for McB, Crocs for B), pizza at The Argyll Café – v. good indeed. (BB – they don’t usually do pizza at lunchtime, but fired up the ovens for us. Brilliant, original, 60’s wallpaper – hope they don’t ‘do it up ‘ and lose that.)
Bernie and Mike continue their road trip. Follow the Orkney News to keep apace with them …….
I’ve played the Kilmartin Hotel dozens of times. A strange gig in a tiny room, but Dunaad is a special place, rising like an island on the flat plain.
It holds the particular memory of me putting my back out three quarters of the way up the hill. I had to lie on the ground for a while then struggle back down before a 40 mile drive home. I wasn’t out of bed for a month after that.
I have a bad back, on-going – hence my stopping just over half way. There was a steep bit, which was just too steep! So I sat, and thought, and looked over the Moine Mhor, and did a relaxation meditation to help my back. What a place. What a place.
And – it was when my back first ‘went’ and I was stuck sitting on the sofa for a couple of months, that I first wrote my ‘Orkney Walks with Stories’ down. I don’t know about you , Eamonn but, for someone who is usually out and about, that incarceration in the house, was driving me nuts! So, I started to ‘go for walks in my head’. It helped enormously. The nurse who used to come to see me thought it was a great strategy, and said that she was going to recommend it to her other patients who were in a similar situation.
Then I wrote them down in a sketch pad on my knee, then typed them up, when I could sit at the ‘pooter, but still couldn’t get outside.
Then eventually, sent them to Fiona at ‘The Orkney News’!