Week Twenty Nine
Actress Shonagh Price is the first image from this week. Taken at Gullane beach on a perfect May morning this photo forms part of a series of images I have been working on entitled ‘Magnetic North’, a project in which I am photographing artists, actors, writers etc.
The next image is at the very beginning of the old drovers route which leads to Bealach na Bà (The Pass of the Cattle) and is the notorious road that hairpins terrifyingly over the mountains to Applecross, in Wester Ross. The road is more reminiscent of the Swiss Alps as it switchbacks wildly over the Applecross peninsula before descending, thankfully more gently, into the community of Applecross. Until the late 20th century this was the only route in or out of the village, and was completely impassable in winter weather. I first drove this road a few years ago in an old 1970s Volkwagen Type 2 campervan (now sadly sold) with a very dodgy clutch – there are no photos from the ascent as my hands were glued, white-knuckled, to the steering wheel. With the accelerator pedal pressed to the floor I crawled up the slope, praying nothing was coming down because if I had stopped I would never have started again…
The third image from this week is of Malcolm F, and forms part of another ongoing series of images ‘This Happy Breed – at home and work in Scotland’ which will be exhibited either later this year or early 2014.
And finally, the grave of Rob Roy McGregor (more correctly Red Robert), in Balquhidder. I have a small confession to make in that, even though I have a degree in History I know almost nothing of Rob Roy. To be honest, until a few years ago I couldn’t have told you for sure if he was real or imaginary. A sorry state of affairs indeed. Anyway as I stood next to his grave on a chill spring morning in the lovely Stirlingshire countryside he felt real enough, this Jacobite soldier who, in later life, would be unfairly branded an outlaw (legend has it he lost his cattle and money to an untrustworthy cattleman and defaulted on his debts as a result) before being eventually pardoned by George I. He died in 1734 and shares his grave, in the old churchyard in Balquhidder with his wife Mary and his sons Robert & Coll. His name lives on though in popular fiction, poetry, film, music and best of all, a whisky-based cocktail.