The Old Sleat Road

How the plants fit in’

We gathered at Broadford hall to meet and share transport to the start of the walk. We were a gathering of 18, a mixture of regulars from Step it up Highland and others attracted by the combination of walking and art.

I was interested in getting people to think about scale in the landscape; looking through hand lenses at the very minute on the one hand and having an understanding of the larger scale of the hills and formations of the land on the other. In between these two scales is where we, as humans, sit in the landscape. I wanted to get people to have a fresh sense of this.

How do we understand our place in this landscape?

Are we aware of the changes we make all the time in interacting with it?

How can we see, understand and feel the landscape more physically?

People were quite taken with the hand lenses, I liken it to diving into another world. One woman, an art teacher, said she thought they worked in that way because of the way you brought them up close to your eye, hence cutting out the rest of the world. She was definitely going to use the hand lenses with her teaching. One artist from Chile, a painter, was also taken with the mixture of grasses and seeing all the different plants.

This was the first time I had walked along the old road, I have driven many times, but not walked yet. I was really interested to see the mixture of plants which have colonised the road and how clearly you can see the changes in the underlying rock and soil types reflected on the surface in the plants.

Thank you to Lysana who shared her knowledge of plants with me and showed me wild carrot which I hadn’t seen before, a beautifully structured plant which we photographed, holding it still in the wind for each other. It was really good to meet three artist’s who were on residencies at the admiral’s house in Braes, part of Wasps studios. They were also interested to meet an artist living locally as this gave added connection and understanding of Skye on their residency. Conversations ranged from Chilean artists to ways of walking and being in the landscape to direct close observation and identification of particular plants.

At the end of the walk, the Step It Up group has coffee in the hall and I was able to talk about my work and show people examples and explain how the plants fit in’, as they put it.

Tha Seo Math Dhuibh – Good for you

A partnership project with Aros Centre, Portree