Sunday, 14 October 2012
The Gargunnock Escarpment.Spout of Ballochleam.
I,m not a geologist or a historian so if any information is incorrect here please feel free to comment.Here goes.
This double tier escarpment is the remains of successive flows of lava from volcanoes.Also evident in this area are Tuffs,a type of heat welded volcanic ash that is relatively easy to carve using basic tools.The Easter Island Statues are carved out of basaltic Tuff and similar material was used to build the Servian wall around Rome to repel Hannibal's army of elephants which obviously inspired that Iconic scene in The Lord of the Rings film.
Another question I had was why the nearby summit, Carleatheran ,is so different from most other Scottish hill names and whats its meaning.
It sounds Welsh so that's where I started. Caer as in Caernarfron meaning fortress. The other half could mean grey.Grey fortress.Both Stronend and Carleatheran have stars and the word cairn beside the summit on OS maps denoting a site of earthwork antiquity.
Why does it sound Welsh? Well ,before the Roman occupation a large part of Scotland spoke a language similar to an early form of Welsh.The Damnonii were one of the dominant tribes in Southern Scotland at that time and built many forts on prominant hilltops as it was easier to defend them.Clyde may also be a word derived from this early welsh language meaning 'Loud or warm valley'.Clywwd.I used this in the 'Greenhill country 'post you might remember.'The lords of the warm valley.'
Moved by compassion most hill walkers try to play god and superimpose their own judgement on events like this.Sheep and wildlife do not go down easy though.There's usually a reason if an animal goes over on its side like this.Or maybe it just became fed up with a summer of rain.People are naturally temped to intervene but it can sometimes cause even more distress and suffering than if left alone.Different if its stuck in a bog or in a fence and a solution to free it is obvious.Some aspects of Nature can be hard to watch but the simple truth is wildlife thrives without any help from humans.We are the ones who usually mess it up as we cant stop interfering in everything thinking we know best.When I was young I once drowned a pigeon with a broken back in a bucket thinking I was doing it a kindness as it had lain in a neighbours back garden for two days during cold weather.The neighbour said I should drown it to put it out its misery.What she actually meant was she couldn,t bear to watch it anymore and it would put her out her own misery.Even weak as it was it struggled so hard to live I knew I should have just left it alone.Holding it under It took ages to die and it suffered more as a result.Drowning is a hard way to end.I realised then people can superimpose their own emotions on wild animals,trying to take away their own feelings of suffering.Out of sight out of mind is a cliche for a reason.She was happy and at peace with herself once I'd drowned it but it taught me a valuable lesson,both about wildlife and humans.
A really varied day.We didn't manage all of the escarpment as that would have taken us too far from the car,turning back when we'd had enough of the surprisingly tough walking.As hard as most Munro days and a good six hour walk with only one short break.
As its almost the end of autumn now and the start of winter the video this week is very topical.
On one level it could just be taken as a comment on the pointless nature of bullfighting.
Dead can Dance. Persephone. A unique and hauntingly memorable video.
The ancient Greeks tried to make sense of the world around them through myth.Persephone was the daughter of Zeus and Demeter who later became the queen of the underworld after she was abducted by her uncle,Hades to live in darkness underground as his wife and companion.Her mother came after her,cursing the land to create the first autumn and a deal was the result.Persephone could live with Hades for six months of the year as his wife if she was allowed to rise above ground for the other six.This gave us the seasons we know today.In spring she bursts out as new vegetation,flourishes and delights in sunlight then descends once more into the underworld leaving the surface a dark,empty place til her rebirth takes place again each year.Humans mourn her presence.I certainly do and wait for her appearance with longing during her underground period.
The Eleusinian Mysteries were founded around her and her mother Demeter.They are both connected to the golden harvest,one of the most important events of the ancient world as each year success or failure could mean food in plenty or starvation.Sometimes she drops below far too quickly other years she lingers longer ,and has to be persuaded by Hades to return to his side.This video should make perfect sense now :) Or maybe not.