wild garlic carpet

Reunion Part 2 – Lost Along A Line


After the initial disorientation of meeting in real life wears off and the walk progresses, atrophied skills surface in memory and we once again take on the mantle of photographers. The excitement of exploration joins us like another old friend. Our minds engage in observation which allows the anxieties formed by trying to follow someone elses route to drift away.

As Keri Smith reminds us in The Wander Society - "Solvitur ambulando" - which for non-latin aficionados means simply that everything is solved through walking. 
books on walking

A concrete bridge over the Niddrie burn urges choices to be made – towards the houses of Craigmillar or towards the hospital sprawl? We choose neither, drawn instead to the path on the leeward side of the burn. The sun is making brief appearances between the cloud banks and the day warms up at last.

A thin line of wild nature, clings to the edges of the banked path, which raised, splits the remaining marsh from a new car park. Each car gets more than the square meter allotted to the butterfly boxes.

Empty signposts frame trees marked with neon orange “X”s – purpose unknown, but likely limbs will be lost or even the whole copse. A bird balances on a branch, regarding us before flitting off towards a safer thicket.

We follow. Climbing a path up the low hill, a local guide map tethered to a stump tries to help us find direction to the route we are not taking. Continually curious and becoming unrepentant we ignore the existing signs to the landmark of Craigmillar Castle and loop away from the road and towards the, as yet, unexplored woods.

Edging the Hawkhill woods, wild garlic makes a carpet of tidal green stalks. Bare trunks and branches with only a hint of budding leaves produce vivid sun-cast shadows reaching out towards us. Bike tracks leap off spectacular summits, muddy trails crisscrossing in the dells. Clambering over old stones into the woods proper, the trees grow over piles of old asphalt incongruous with the garlic leaf matting and a reminder that nature is patient, relentless and hopeful.

Later, out of the woods and at home, we pooled and compared images and began to write word associations and poems inspired by the images. We began to consider layout and play with paper to find a suitable format for the book.

In the next post, we end the walk, and make the maquette.