fallen forests and doocots

last Sunday I went for a circular walk from Morton Lochs on the north west of Tentsmuir, near the Tay estuary

expecting to meet daughter and co back in the carpark after an hour. I could see the tremendous damage done by storm Arwen to this section of the forest, which is very exposed to the north, by the open space of the huge estuary. most of the trees flattened, and those that weren’t, broken off halfway up the trunk. I had heard that three hundred acres of forest was down.

I disregarded this not terribly emphatic hint about the route I was taking – and found a few fallen trees which were easy to get around or over. I’ve got used to seeing paths made by other walkers around fallen trees in the past few weeks since the storm.

then about 15 minutes away from the car I met fallen trees across the track. I got around them,

but then almost immediately met this. I could see some people had been over the fence into the neighbouring field, but some other marks seemed to show that people had got through here

and as I was stupid enough to try to get through them rather than returning the way I had come, or getting into the field (over a barbed wire fence is not easy with a 22 kilo dog) it took me another 2 hours of being lost in the tree trunks, climbing over and under, totally shattered and dehydrated, to get almost to the car park. I could see where I was, using the OS app, and because of the obstacles all lying at right angles to the path I wanted to take, I just couldn’t get in the right direction, west, we would climb over or under a few trunks and then there would be branches impossible to get through. at one point we had been over the same ditch three times.

this transit van abandoned and partially crushed – what a terrifying experience that must have been with trees falling and crashing all around!

the whole forest was flattened and if daughter had not come down the track from the car park and over about 20 trees to meet me I might still be there curled up in a foetal position with B to keep me warm. B fell on her back trying to go over something I wanted her to go under and hurt her shoulder. not a great place to take a dog, though she is more agile than most. anti inflammatories for us both that evening.

Morton is an interesting place where they found Mesolithic middens, shells, fish bones, reindeer and wild boar bones, and flints. I would have hunkered down listening for the ancestors.

all the part inside the red line was flattened. I met someone on the beach later in the week who has a Visla, he lifted the dog over the wire fence and went round the edge by the fields.

since then I have been going on rather shorter walks than usual

giving my shattered muscles a chance to recover. these photos are from St Andrews, Lumbo den

and Spinkie den

rather less challenging

with one tree trunk to get around or over

another (partially) wooded walk in Auchterarder this weekend, here lots of oaks which you don’t see so much in Fife, but this is Perth and Kinross

a pretty walk with a small river

beside some rather nice houses

even one huge one with matching garden

the forest greens having an effect in the studio

although this was just a first layer

and sadly looked very dark and doomy today

so it got firstly a lot of writing and then grey and white and a bit of pink squeegeed around on it, which I then cut through with masses of spray bottle action. so much of that paint dripped onto the floor!

and onto a paint tin, making an interesting musical accompaniment

another on-going, a diptych this time. I’m interested in how much space I have to make in this one

covering up with creamy greys and whites

and as usual, changing my mind to uncover, then re-cover.

it’s looking very different from recent work and has no text … I have a few pieces in limbo at the moment

this one I like as is, except for the four or five weird faces lurking in it …. or perhaps I actually like them and will keep it as is …

all those trees … so alive, so huge, so dynamic

I’m not seeing them in my work just at the moment, just weird faces ..

today I tried another new walk from Ceres as I had to post a painting off and the post office in the Spa shop there is the best.

starting off on the old pilgrim way from Culross to St Andrews

it follows high ground and this bit of it is called the Waterless road. there are great views of other places I walk to the north

I turned off after just over a mile

following a wiggling, swooping tarmac lane from a farm

down into the back of Craigrothie, past a ruined dovecot (doocot here in Scotland). they are quite common. and usually this shape with the crow-step gothic gables.

how cutely rural is this – a ford with a little arched stone bridge to keep your feet dry.

the second doocot is more of a folly on the old Wemysshall estate

on a little hill in the woods

following a steep path with greasy steps, and out by this pretty gate.

now I have to submit some paintings to things, the Scottish Royal Academy annual open, a gallery in the US that’s offering to look at their Instagram followers’ paintings – very noble of them – and some poems.

I’ve got one from my fallen forest experience, for the Rialto’s nature and Place competition. there’s always some compensation, though my hips and my knee are still quite unhappy from all that crawling and climbing.


One Comment

  1. What a scary exhausting walk / clamber / nightmare – good to know that there are plenty of easier walks too. Great that you can use it in paintings and poems though, you are so multi-talented! Great photos.

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