Scaling the Mountain

Journey north: A1, A9; spent pondering scales for drawings: A3, A5? No need to curse the ‘badnef of the weather’ this time, heading for the camp site I see Schiehallion’s Western Edge for the first time; a cool pinnacle glistening in low sun, so other to the brooding hulk in most photos. The next morning Liz Auty from the John Muir Trust guides us around the eastern skirts and up to the site of Nevil Maskelyne’s Southern Observatory: his ‘home’ half way up a mountain. It’s taken much less time than we thought and feels wrong to be breaking into lunch boxes at 11.

I pose for a photo ‘sleeping’ in Nevil’s ‘bothy’.







But here’s the thing. What I hadn’t expected was such a clear picture of Hutton’s map to be laid out before (and above) me. With clarity, the random seeming ‘delta‘ symbol north (& a little west) of the site appears to be a tall, probably natural  (or augmented) cairn on the sky line, it would certainly have been used for bearings and will now be added to his/my contour map (when I finally get to the studio this afternoon).

Looking downwards the whole of the southern base line is visible, Nevil would literally have ‘overseen’ the work of the surveyors and pole bearers inching their way around each triangulation point below, perhaps even scorning their stumbling slowness like an angry god.Invites to the exhibition are going out on Monday, if you are a ‘follower’ but not on my mailing list, do drop me a line and I will add your email address:

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