Atlas Arts





Diana Mackie and walkers on the slopes of Ben Aketil.


After many months of planning and anticipation Còig Sgiathan | Five Wings has begun.

Fifteen artists from a range of disciplines are joining walks that will take place between June and October. Diana Mackie is a painter who has recently made her first film combining her dramatic landscapes with music, dance and poetry. She joined one of the Step It Up Highland groups on the first of the twenty-five walks in the series.

Walk 1. Monday 26th June with Step It Up Waternish: Diana Mackie reports back

A group of thirteen walkers met at the Fairy Bridge, the entrance to the Waternish peninsular. A car share was quickly organised to take us to the start of one of the forestry roads near Edinbane at the base of Ben Aketil.

A perfect walking day, light breeze and mild.

Artist and Step it Up Highland Walk Leader on the Fairy Bridge

The group’s walk leader Madeline Jones was accompanied by Rosie Somerville who introduced herself and the role ATLAS plays on Skye, she invited me to explain a little about my artistic background.

Having done that I suggested we should consider the phrase ‘Take a closer look’ and its implications.

I gave the group a mount with an oval window for them to consider a more selected observation rather than walking in the landscape taking in everything.

‘Take a closer look”

We looked at the benefits of a composition using the mount as a portrait and landscape window. An infinity composition and then the striking contrast of placing the mount on the ground to study a group of stones and a clump of daises.

I encouraged the group to look closely at the seed heads of various grasses and the delicate structure and colours of the simple daisy.

I had collected a small bunch of grasses for closer examination with my magnifying glass. These were duly passed around among the group.

The walk concluded over a well deserved delicious selection of cakes scones teas and coffee at the Edinbane Inn.



Behind the scenes

Early in 2017 a number of artists were invited to be part of the project and in June they came together with local walking groups for a networking session, to meet each other and consider how best to shape the project: promote walking for health and the work of artists.

It was a stimulating day: we were inspired by the informative introductions from artists and representatives of the walking groups. Lynne Bannister from Step It Up Highland had come across from Inverness to tell us about their work and the five Skye and Lochlash groups expressed their enthusiasm for being part of the project. Many questions were asked and provided food for thought.  The Disabled Ramblers shared their aspirations for the future and intention to increase opportunities for their members: to get out and about. We are disappointed that they will not be able to participate in the project but they brought another dimension to the discussion and raised our awareness of the group and the challenges they face…particularly in regard to participating with other groups and their activities.  New connections and friends were made and the day ended with a sense of shared purpose.

As the walks take place each of the artists will be adding to the blog.


CÒIG SGIATHAN | FIVE WINGS –  is a series of 25 walks with artists. The programme runs from June to October.

It is part of Tha Seo Math Dhuibh | Good For You, in collaboration with the Aros Centre in Portree.









Published on 03 July 2017