Fieldwork notes - Sept’ 06 page 1

This set of films was funded from the University of Edinburgh Small Project Award. The fieldwork was done over a week in September of 2006.

Sunday, 17th September, 2006. Short stretch of road in Tirindrish woods, Spean Bridge. Spied this track in the woods behind the B & B when out stretching my legs before breakfast. Decided to try and video it after the full Scottish Breakfast. Set the Sony on the bonnet using the vacuum mount. Drove West - East for a couple of minutes, (the road was only about a quarter of a mile long) but the surface was rough and caused a bit of shaking. While examining the footage, I was questioned by the owners of a nearby B & B about what I was up to (she motivated by concerns about nesting birds etc in the woods). Once I explained my strange quest of filming single-track roads, she was happy to give me information about the woods and the name Tirindrish. Filmed the return with the camera on the roof this time, and kept in low gear with speed very slow. Results much better, and though it was only a short section, the curves of the road and the green stripe in the middle as it wound its way among mature trees was very appealing and timeless. Also, I felt that I had now properly started my week of fieldwork. Took a few still photographs as well.

Tirindrish Woods

Then it was onto the A82 heading up the Great Glen to Invergarry and the A87 to a point beside Loch Cluanie where I stopped to set up the camera inside the car on the headrest mount.

Sunday, 17th September, 2006. 11am or so. Filmed from inside the car travelling west from Loch Cluanie on the A87. Light rain outside. Drove past the site of the Battle of Glenshiel, then close by, the site of my mother’s old home at Eas-an-Arm (waterfall of the arms) and kept on going down the glen past Achnagart Farm right below the Five Sisters of Kintail where Grandmother grew up and my relatives still live today, down to Shiel Bridge where we turned off onto the single-track road that takes you to Glenelg or, turning off to Letterfearn and Totaig along the south side of Loch Duich - this is where I was heading. Talitha was happily knitting her Lopi jersey in the passenger seat as we got down to a good slower driving pace more suited for this tight, shore hugging single-track road that was once the main road before the A87 was constructed on the north side of the loch. We slowed as we passed the grave yard at Letterfearn where my Grandparents are buried along with many other relatives, but kept on down the road. The last mile or so gets very tight and narrow with lots of tree cover and the final bend gives a nice view of the cottage and jetty at Totaig. By now it was steady rain and we parked tucked away at the end of the road, looking down the jetty and across a misty view of Loch Duich and Eilean Donan Castle on the other side which seemed a world away. I walked back a bit and took some photos of the road and various views, as Talitha sat knitting in the car.

Talitha with Margaret’s book

Later, when the rain had stopped, I took some photos of Talitha holding a copy of Margaret Bennett’s book From the Cradle to the Grave, (second revised edition) with the cover showing my Grandparents wedding party with piper in a boat at the jetty back in the 1930’s, at the same spot that the cover image was taken from.

I attempted to film the return journey from the roof, using the vacuum mount but the rain was too persistent and lacking any sort of waterproof cover, I decided to remove the camera and pack it away. According to the weather filming was over for the day.

5 Sisters from the south side of Loch Duich

Ian can be contacted at ZenBends@googlemail.com