Stac Polly

If you drive the road going north from Ullapool (yes, there is only one!) you traverse a region far wilder - more 'primeval' than this one where we live. It's called Assynt. It is a very sparsely populated - almost nil populated - place of  wind-swept moorlands studded with lochs large and small and with great, individually shaped hills; actually, they're 'mountains' if you're not a Highlander.

Stac Polly is one of these. It is very well known to hillwalkers and rock climbers alike. Years ago we would have tackled her ourselves but one look at her now is enough to dissuade us from any such thoughts. This is my latest pastel painting, size around 44 x 33 cm, completed yesterday. And this also is my accompanying verse.

Stac Polly

Here is a mountain, unchanging, saw toothed,
reaching for an ever changing Assynt sky;
a distant dare to those who would endure,
or may enjoy the hardships of this ‘wilderness’

She rises from her rain-soaked moorland bed
by day a curve of greens, rock-greys; by night
black bitch-face howling at the yellow moon:
carved by that last great icy age, it’s said
that scraped north Scotland down to lesser height
left skyline jagged as some piper's tune

From Polly’s crest you’ll see the silver sea
across whose puny waves lie Hebrides:
look down upon those many shining lochs
breathe purest air where all things rest in peace.

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