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Digital Subscriptions > iScot Magazine > December 2017 > A Place for Inspiration

A Place for Inspiration

Finnich Glen. A deep and narrow rift in the gentle undulation of the land. Perpendicular rock walls and at the bottom a burn that only the most determined gorge walkers could negotiate. In Victorian times a steep stone staircase had been set into a crack in the side of the gorge, so that guests could descend the seventy feet to the floor of the glen and immerse themselves in its romantic splendour. Curiously, Finnich Glen, though never quite forgotten, did not become one of those sites to which every visitor to Scotland is pointed. Even now, despite its featuring as a backdrop in film and TV, and its closeness to Glasgow, it still seems off the beaten track. There are no road signs nor dedicated parking, no visitor centre nor café. The only signs warn of the danger of death.

Maybe that’s why the members of the South Lennox Ladies’ Writing Group were so pleased at the opportunity of a night-time visit. They’d been there the previous summer on their annual outing, during the day of course, and, clinging to the rope tethered at the top of the semi-ruinous staircase, managed to clamber down into the glen to marvel at its romantic potential. The four poets who made up half the group drew into themselves the sights, sounds, smells, and textures which they would distil into verse.

The other four set themselves to peopling the glen with the actors who would drive a short story, even a novel. Kate Drewrigge, as slim and dark-haired at sixty as she had been at forty, well, maybe not quite, pictured a historical scene, a young man of noble extraction, rendered fugitive by his choice of king, fleeing from brutish pursuers, encountering a peasant girl seeking a lost sheep. Amy Carruthers, shorter, round-faced and curly-haired, imagined two women, walking the gorge hand-inhand, when they find, almost drowned, a strange bearded figure, who speaks only Gaelic and has fallen from another time. Jennifer McCusker, large in a way that Glasgow sometimes sadly makes its women, puffing after the descent, saw a Victorian lady creeping gingerly down the staircase at dusk to meet her lover, unaware of her husband’s hateful gaze from above. And Winifred Calman, who made no attempt to hide her sixtyseven years, and wore her grey hair in a pony-tail as she had all her life, conjured a scream from a dark shape falling from the cliff towards the rocks below.

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iScot Magazine December 2017 116 jam packed pages of the best craic in Scotland from the only truly independent pro Scottish magazine.