Saturday, 29 January 2011


Over the past couple of years I have been doing a project called 'Assynt: Fire, Ice and Stone'. It began thanks to a Scottish Arts Council writer's bursary, which enabled me to get off the environmental campaign trail, stay at home in Assynt and devote myself to writing. The general plan was to walk to all the many piles of stones in the area that are remnants of buildings or signs of human occupation, and then write about them, while thinking about the big elemental forces (particularly fire and ice) that have shaped the landscape and the lives of people who have lived here for millennia.

There are also stones that are nothing to do with human activity, but still tell intriguing stories, particularly the boulders that were picked up by glaciers during the last ice age and dropped again, often in incongruous places. There are bits of Canisp on our croft, for example, about 10 miles from where they 'belong'. These enigmatic stones are called Erratics and I have a very, very short story of this title in the new edition of From Glasgow to Saturn - scroll down to the bottom of the page, mine is the last and least story on the fiction page. I'll be interested in any feedback.

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