Marhofn 269.15 - May 2013

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Sky with an E

Charles Everett

I have had a walking and art project for Skye in the backburner in my mind for twenty years ever since I read Dave Hewitt's 'Walking the watershed' about his obsession and eventual completion of the continuous walk of the Scottish watershed from English border to Cape Wrath in 1987. Even the spelling of the word Skye is evocative. Having an E at the end makes it feel an absolute blend of where sky meets earth in a heavenly blend.

My project is to walk the entire watershed of Skye, south to east, east to north, north to west, west back to the starting point in the south. I did not realise it was such a mammoth undertaking until I made a start in 2012.

On 16 March I took a train from York to Mallaig with backpack, lightweight tent and Ben-Ji, with the Sleat peninsula watershed as my target for four days. I was blessed with a glorious weekend before the weather broke on the Sunday evening. It was an 11km walk down to the Point of Sleat for the start where the crashing Atlantic waves broke on the rocks, with a glorious backdrop of Eigg and Rum and Canna.

After six to seven hours following the watershed north, just as the sun was beginning to set in gorgeous golds and reds behind the north-west tip of Canna, I found a subsidiary hilltop covered in a generous layer of soft foliage that would make an ideal spot for my little tent. Just below to the east nestled Loch Fada, Sgurr nan Caorach's own hill-top lochan. It was a clear night bejewelled by a canopy of stardust. Being March it got cold enough to freeze and when I woke at 4am for a pee the condensation had formed a crackly coating on the inside of the tent. It was about nine days after full moon so the waning moon had recently risen as a left-hand crescent in the eastern sky above the lights of Mallaig across the water.

On the second day I got as far as the fascinatingly shaped Loch nan Uamh, around which the watershed curls on south-east and north. It was luscious powder blue and inspired a bit of fantasy ceramic sculpture once I was home on my 3D crafts degree course. As the weather broke on the Sunday evening, I have only completed two days worth of the watershed and less than half of the Sleat peninsula but am delighted to have made a start.

I hope to return again for more. Although I have already done parts of the Skye watershed before - mainly back in the 1990s - the wealth of scenery that awaits me is a very exciting prospect.

Ceramic Loch nan Uamh (Charles Everett)

Ceramic Loch nan Uamh (Charles Everett)

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