Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Up the Obbe Road - A Fantasy

The clouds were lazily flowing through the hills giving glimpses of green-swathed rocks soaked to the skin. Old, ice-worn faces of gneiss pock-marked by long-named minerals glistened in the sunless gloom. Picking their way along the grass-ways, the sheep munched silently whilst warily watching the passer-by. He walked on, head bent low, up the arrow-straight mile of tarmac laid between the heights unseen on either side. On his right the small river driven by the unseen hand of gravity, a stream of peat-black inking its way through the grass and stone, ceaselessly careered down to the sea far below. The clouds rode formlessly against this flow, as if the mountains were their natural lair. The cliffs grew steeper, more insistent in their overpowering domination and, as he braved a glance ahead, the tarmac ruler appeared to narrow, squashed by the weight of the overwhelming presence of the ancient rock on either side. A dead sheep lay in the river, it's putrefaction dribbling from beak-shaped punctures staining the fleecy coat that clung to the rotting flesh. A cousin passed it by, oblivious of the decaying form at its feet. The journeyer carried on his way, relieved not to have slaked his thirst. The rain eased a little, pausing for breath before renewing, and the human paused too. The rock face on his left, now only a few yards from the road, rose vertically for fifty-feet before sloping away as it ascended. The solid mass relieved only by a gushing fall of foam-filled water rushing from the hidden heights and crashing to an unseen fate below. A movement perpendicular to the water caught his eye and an eagle soared in silent dominance before disappearing into the space where the rock melted into mist. The traveller continued up the ribbon slope ahead, the gradient increasing, the rain increasing, the impression that the hills were pressing towards each other with each and every step increasing too. He must go on. Head returned to its downcast state, hood pulled tighter to shield his face from the damp-daggered assault, his feet regained their pace. The river ran through rocks and over tiny rapids before a second sheep lay in silent sleep on the stream-bed. This one was more decayed than its downstream brother and sticks of stained ivory sprung from the corpse echoed in the nakedness of the skull with its twin pale-brown horns. Again, a fellow member of its race was mindlessly masticating within a yard or two of these remnants of life. The voyager quickened his step, passing without pausing a third corpse, and entering further into the chasm at whose foot he walked. The sky, that grey roof supporting the clouds that draped themselves about the omnipresent oppressiveness of the rock walls on either side, began to fall under the weight of its own existence and the human form was powerless to prevent being crushed beneath it. A sheep munched silently, oblivious of the rotting horn-less body lying in the river at its feet...

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