Elevation of at least 300 m (980 ft), with a 300 m (980 ft) elevation range within 7 km (4.3 mi). Before I left for Scotland, I read about the Shiant Islands and studied the sailing directions. I learned to pronounce the name properly, in one softened syllable: ‘Shant’. The little archipelago is made up of three rugged islands: to the west Garbh Eilean and Eilean an Tighe are joined by a natural boulder isthmus; across an open pool to the northeast lies Eilean Mhuire. Adam Nicolson, whose family have owned the islands for many years writes, ‘The rest of the world thinks there is nothing much to them. Even on a map of the Hebrides the tip of your little finger would blot them out. But the Shiants… are not modest. They stand out high and undoubtable.’ Although keen to visit, I doubted whether it would be possible, for they are very exposed and offer little shelter. But it seemed I was lucky: the weather was quiet, with a smooth sea yet enough wind to sail. Nevertheless, I approached them with caution, keeping an eye on the tidal streams and carefully noting landmarks.
I ended up with a severe sun burn on my back and the base commander was looking for who had done this. My barracks mates took care of me and covered for my sunburn which was an Article 15 offense. I learned that having friends that would step in and save you were important and that having friends that would keep silent on my behalf and care for me by having to help dress me were equally important. My back was raw and oozing and my flight members had to carefully peal my T-shirt off me each day and treat my raw open wounds.
As we traveled down the road towards our camping spot, we spotted movement in the hills, and before long, this lone moose made her way across the road, and back down the hill. She was not too concerned about our presence, and seemed quite content once she reached the other side of the embankment. It was very exciting seeing the moose just a mile or so from where we were camping. We kept our eyes and ears out while we camped, but saw no other large wildlife while we were there.
If it’s awkward you’re after, though, you can’t beat the construction zone north of Blairs Ferry Road. During this stretch the trail crosses Center Point Road before heading north to join the Cedar Valley Nature Trails. I’m sure it will be great when it’s done.
That is not to say that there is not a place in our health-care system for phyto-physicians that work with herbs allopathically. Plant-based preparations have already found a place in mainstream bio-medicine as a complementary modality, a method of prevention, and as a tool of synergy to potentise pharmaceutical protocols. However, this does not concede the necessity of the decentralised, community focused, and client-centred practice of folk herbalists. The modern rhizomati are a source of resilience and empowerment for our society and world, thanks to their interface with plants and people. This resilience will come not only at our resistance to capitalist exploits, but in our ability to establish rhizomatic, horizontal and local systems of vital sustenance, imagination, and community.