Author: Kevin Nowbaveh

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Thursday, December 5th, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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Places

Beecraigs – Adventures in Wonderland

Entering Beecraigs, there’s a viewing platform made from wood.  Climbing the stairs: to the right, we have rolling hills, shapes in the distance, the Forth, the new road bridge.  Fields with black-faced sheep.  A thick frost.

I walk down the steps to the cattle shed, where there are two deer calves, a stag and a hind.  Land reared.  Next, cow calves, that all have a strip of fur along the spine that’s been shaved off.   They’re a mixture of Highland and Belted Galloway, born in spring 2019.

Along the path, strewn with crystallized brown leaves, the smell of manure is in the air, with the sound of tractors in the distance.  There are rams to my left, which look particularly Baphometseque with their curved horns. Trees, tall and perfect, like pylons.  A husky ambles past.

I can see lots of sheep in a row next to the fence like a Go board.  Deer to the left gathered around the feed.  The frost is melting, muddy, sun shining.  I can hear the deer baaing, about 50 or 60 on the left.  On the right, black sheep with small horns.  They’re eating the grass.  In the shade, it’s white.  Cattle on the hill as I walk towards the reservoir.

There’s thick frost here, as if it’s been snowing.  The ground is rock solid.  Cold hands, as I walk up the hill.  I can hear people talking, out of sight.  A man and a Golden Retriever.  I’m out of breath.

The loch.  There are bits of water that are frozen – green algae on the surface.  The water still, reflecting the trees.  Sun and skyline.  Some bird is floating on the water, around 40-50; people with dogs; Scots Pine, walking through the Spooky Forest.  Huge trees, like matches in a box, straight, tall, bare from the middle down.  Bits of deforestation.  A couple are throwing rocks on the ice and taking photos.

The glare of the sun on the water blinds me.  More deforestation.  A lovely crunch underfoot of frozen water like tearing into crisp iceberg lettuce.  The crows cawing in the darkness overhead.  Tiny black/brown birds are diving down into the water’s murky depths for food.  Industrious with the limited resources they have.  They spend most of their time submerged.  White birds are sailing regally over the still surface in the middle of the loch.

12:26 am now.  Cawing overhead in the shadows of the spooky forest.  People in front of people, so I slow my pace.  The crunch of frozen mud and leaves mixed.  There are frozen Scots Pine on the island.

Up to the main carpark.  Little light.  A violent wasteland.  My feet are sticking to the ground; another Polish family walk past me;  my hands are numb.  An older guy walks past wearing a sky-blue hoodie with Dojo written on it.

My first memories of the city were of laddies fist-fighting over broken glass, dangerous dogs taking themselves for walks, people throwing rubbish out the window.  Cities are sprawling, and there doesn’t seem to be any connection between the disparate parts.  But in the country, there’s a oneness with the landscape.

Home for a cup of tea.

https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/beecraigs

Photo Credit: Claire Nowbaveh

 

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