Ladhar Bheinn, 2004, oil on canvas
The Knoydart area in Scotland exerts a fascination for walkers. Undisturbed by roads and virtually uninhabited, this rocky peninsula is only reached by boat (from Mallaig) or by foot. Walking in, after reaching the end of the longest single-track dead-end road in Britain, one enters a lush world of Caledonian pines, high bracken and fjord-like valleys. Rounding the headland before reaching the hut at Barrisdale, Ladhar Bheinn (Larven) comes into view – a great castellated semicircle rising high above Loch Hourn. Its remoteness lends a magical quality to this first view and in the subsequent days of walking and resting, I revisited it many times.
This scene indelibly prints itself on the memory, at once a place of openness and freedom and also a place enclosed, a circle of walls, a secret place. The hidden centre of the mountain offers a stable, still point around which turbulent forces coalesce: the unceasing movement of the sea, the rapid shifts in weather. Colours delineate the relationship between stillness and movement, between hidden centres and unseen continuities expanding out beyond the field of vision.
Ladhar Bheinn circle