Killilan Estate Lochhalsh

There’s always a debate as to when summer ends and autumn begins. When 12 of us went for a walk it was the 1st of September (which some will say is Autumn!) but it felt like a warm, dry late Summer’s morning!

We met at around 10am at the Killilan Estate car park. Killilan is an anglicisation of the original Gàidhlig name, Cill Fhaolain, meaning the church/​cell of (St) Fillan. St Fillan was an Irish evangelist of the 8th century, whose name is celebrated in various locations throughout Scotland – for instance in the village of Killin in central Scotland

After introductions from Rosie, I thanked everyone for coming on the walk and gave all the participants a small goodie bag” containing a thin piece of wire about 10 cm long. I went on to speak about the great Paul Klee and his definition of drawing as taking a line for a walk. Art is always a journey.

The circular walk took us through the village of Camusluinie and then on to Coille Righ (which translates as King’s Wood or Forest, but is probably more accurately Coille Ruibhe (The wood or forest of/​on the ridge).

We then crossed back over the beautiful river – Abhainn Eilcheag/​Eilcheag River – and back through Killilan village to our waiting cars just after midday: 15302 steps and 5.5 miles later.

Personally this was the first time I have been in this hidden domain of Lochalsh and I was reminded of the great early 20th century French novel by Alain Fournier, La Grand Meaulnes. In the novel, the protagonist seeks for a lost chateau and girl who is always just round the corner… Instead we came upon Duncan Stalkers house.

Initially as a younger sculptor making artworks featuring only landscape then on coming to live in Skye discovering and beginning to understand the absolute indivisible ties that humanity and the land have to each other. Each one has shaped the other and cannot be seen in isolation. One lady was very delighted to be able to tell her brother that she had met an artist and hoped that this might entice him to visit her! I hope so.

When we arrived back at Killilan car park I gave everyone a chance to see my portable sculpture’. I used to have this piece at my garden gate and it reminded me every morning to give thanks… Taing.

Included below are a series of my own lines which I have been walking with since my discovery of this beautiful place. They started with an article from the School of Scottish Studies magazine Tocher’ that I remembered about after my 80 year old neighbour told me how she remembered wading through the Eilcheag river before the bridge to Camus Luinie was built.

We had passed Duncan Stalker’s house on the walk and also the tobhta (ruin) where Leezie used to live with her brothers.

She had the wonderful facility of being able to hop on one stilt over the river. Now that’s taking a line for walk. Or, more precisely, for a hop!

(Duncan Stalker on stilts)

(4 different wire sculptures of Leezie crossing the river on one stilt)

CÒIG SGIATHAN | FIVE WINGS – is a series of 25 walks with artists.

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