Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

view from the side of the boat

In the name of the blue

I do not leave the island very often. 
I like to smell dry rotting kelp along my shore, watch hog-weed dry in evening sun and catch rollers splash in light blue. Yet I relish raw adventures every time I flirt with sand! One year ago, I met a girl in a carpark, who loves to tame water and waves. So we gathered at The Marlex and began to share boat stories... One year ago, she spoke of yowl and coracle. Too easily new ideas fashioned in my head.

One year on and her new nomadic craft takes to water. 

Miss Macdougall can be proud of her achievements. With the help of her mentor, John Miles, and surrounded by curach lovers, she learnt to tame oak, deal and red pine; the best nails and pure calico to fashion her curach o Carbeth! Oh, yes, and tar!

Within twelve months, she packed her bags to the shore of Lake Victoria, where she pioneered the very first African-style coracle with  Ugandan visual Artist, Sheila Nakitende of @rtpunch studio...

 Returned home to work on her boat; flew south to Norwich for a Conference, where she brought in her coracle and spoke about her Humblyband. And as avid as she is with her world adventures, she visited Ireland to learn about this Irish maritime tradition, through the wisdom of experts. In between Check-in desks, the boat shed sheltered her dear nomadic craft.

Within that year, I fed her e-box with poems as a direct response of boat building stages. That creative flow of words, from my shore had somewhat turned in a lifeline! Sometimes geographical distances can hinder many things. Our geopoetical one closed such distance. From North Atlantic shore to shore of Carbeth Loch, there is only one flight! So, on the 3rd of September, I left my edge of the island and joined in the celebration. She named it Curach & Candles. What a weekend it proved to be! Ruth and her clan opened me their door with such open heart in the grand tradition of Scottish hospitality.  Within seconds, I felt at home among such uncharted surroundings. Carbeth Guthrie, on the very edge of huttersworld, felt somehow so familiar... 

By the shore of Carbeth Loch, we gathered and celebrated the beauty of Sunfish - her sheer elegance on water and shared poetics in action.  At Ruth's request, some selected verse was shared at this great gathering. Poetry specifically written on my side of the shore, and, from Donald Munro Graham, aka Donnie, Carbeth's own local bard. Wordsmiths gathered for Humblyband. Ruth Macdougall smiled and jumped on her boat after she unveiled the golden letters on transom! Her eagerness to hold both oars has now become legendary! 

I first came to Carbeth with my Moleskine and standard lens. Among this forested new world, I forged new bonds, met with Lindsay, our remaining crew member and re-united with my friend & boat builder. There I have found a bit of my dear Arcania.


  1. A lovely post, your words have the flavour of the sea and the photo's the colour of a summers day. The boat she rides a bit high out of the water ?

  2. Good evening, Sir Heron, many kind thanks for your comment.:-) Hmmm, could it look it because the loch is void of waves? Ruth has built her craft according to traditional specs... Interesting viewpoint from your island :-))

  3. Not so much about me living where I do Nat. More to do with my former occupation as a naval architect & my connection with small craft for a big slice of my life. Might I suggest that you google currach, look at the images and then I think you will see what I mean, for there are two photo's showing just one occupant rowing.

  4. Will do - have done, Sir Heron :-)
    Hmmm, Miss Macdougall's curach is an original model! It sits a little higher in the water, and its skipper weighs a feather! It might sit lower once I sit as crew, lol! We shall see :-)