Fool’s Gold

Fool’s Gold

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My next-door-neighbour Gregor looks after a dog of whom I’ve become very fond – where I now live on the island of Luing – on one of the famous inner Hebridean ‘Slate Islands’.

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I was very glad to see her return from a few weeks away – and, both in high spirits, we took to the coast-path where a jaunty rainbow seemed to lead – as they do – to promise of riches ahead. We didn’t care for treasure – just for fun and fresh air.

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The path follows a string of abandoned mine-workings. Surrounded by towering walls of rocks, evidence of the extraordinary risk and hardship endured by the slate workers – I was, not for the first time, disgusted by the social mores of the time dictating that those at most risk were least rewarded.

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The path gradually narrows, something the dog already knew, but ignored, in her pursuit of an old ball (where she was concerned – treasure enough). Having not walked this way I was more cautious .. and occasionally fretted that the dog might overstretch, land on the spur of rock below the path.. and require rescue by lifeboat.

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The southerly cliffs of Mull, now and again caught the sun, turning red, seen against the blues and greens of the sea and sky.. looking like a Kaffe Fassett patchwork. In the direction we were taking, this path is part of a route headed north and then east around the top end of Luing towards Port Mary and South Cuan, taking in several more abandoned slate works and quarries along the way.

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Luing is home to much wildlife – and the old quarries make wonderful shelter for goshawks, peregrines, sea – and – golden eagles ( the first three of which species I’ve already caught sight of). As I currently become clumsy and incoherent with excitement – I’ve yet to capture any image worth a jot. A long lens for my Canon is suddenly occurring as more desirable than a wide-angle at this point.

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One day soon I’ll return with help (abseiling-expert friend springs to mind) to explore this intriguing ledge and the just-out-of-reach rock-face beyond..not a good idea when alone – my sensible four-legged companion having patiently waited behind on the preliminary reccy’.

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The living history of the working of the slate – though long-ago abandoned – can be brought, in the present, to serve the island community. Through continuing to protect and champion its past, its community spirit, and its wildlife – Luing can inspire future generations to ensure that its unique qualities are protected, and enriched, for all time.

There is ‘gold’ to be found here. No fooling.

Fools’ Gold

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About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
This entry was posted in Life In Focus, Natural World, One School Of Thought and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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