The Restorative Beauty of Scotland

I’m back!

For those who may have noticed a strange silence in the land where dark stars rise (otherwise known as this blog), wonder on it no further, for I have been away on holiday in the highlands of Scotland, Fort William. Myself and my partner managed to escape for a week, the first time in over a year, and it was absolutely joyful. There is a natural beauty in Scotland untouched by the corruptions of modern times. The air there tastes different. A sense of history seethes from every leaf and bough.

Michelle, jumping for joy in the Rannoch Moors


And so, we found it restorative, but also inspiring, particularly an encounter with a mystical, secret castle Tioram (pronounced Chee-rum apparently), one that we never would have found if not for our wonderful B&B hosts Sue and Andy. The castle was on an island which you can walk to when the tide is low. The pictures cannot do justice to the sense of mystery and ancient power which hangs over this place. It was so inspiring, I had to sit down and write a poem about it there and then, which you can read below. I’m a bit rusty when it comes to poetry, but I enjoyed writing this, and welcome any comments in the usual place.


At the castle of Tioram

where Shiel meets loch

and source meets light

the air, breathless, hangs.


A giant, belly hairless, head

slumped in the limitless crystal

sleeps like old kings are said to:

biding time for greater purpose.


The ruin stands in sepia

atop the shingle ringed isle,

separate from mainlines but connected

through intravenous stones.


There are no needles here

except the pine. No white sheets

except the ghost of banners

hung by proud clans who knew this land.


No madness either, only music

sung by eagles: demented coils

unwound like the found seaweed

dredged upon the shore.


No death here, only to stop

as beauty calls back its gift;

time’s looped round cylinders

circling as eagles do.


My soul flies;

my body’s



The castle of Tioram

So, all in all, it was a magical experience, and, much like the old Romantic poets, one that inspired and brought one closer to a sense of being one with the universe. We met some pretty amazing people on the way: Art and Anita, a couple from America, who shared some profound wisdom with us. Thanks and God bless you on your way you crazy pair!

I can’t recommend the experience enough, even to those who normally don’t like walking and the outdoors. If you can be still in these peaceful places, your soul and busy mind will quieten a little, and you’ll feel a lot better. It might even help you with your creative efforts too: if not directly inspiring work, getting you into a state wherein you are more able to work.

Well, the holiday is over now, which is sad, but it is also great to be back in the chair and able to talk to you, write more efficiently and prolifically, and get my head back in the game. There are so many wonderful things coming up: two major novel releases, one The Meaning of the Dark coming this October. The second one is yet to be announced, but I think you’ll find it pretty breathtaking when you see what it is.

Don’t forget you have until 26th September to submit your Fang Fiction entries. Send them in to

Thanks for stopping by! Adios!



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