25 Here we are down on
the Well Path looking in the direction of Troloss. It looks nothing much
today but as we have seen on the previous page, Roman legions passed this
way and this was also a main pilgrimage route along which kings of Scotland
in all their splendour travelled to Whithorn to pay homage to St
Ninian. Can you visualise such things here?
As you will see on page 26 you are also looking here at where the first
waters collect to make the River Clyde.
So it's not such an insignificant place after all. But then I find all
places I go to in the hills intrinsically significant in and for themselves
even without human reference. Then when we do include the human element
it makes you pause and think about what life was like in that place for
the people who lived and worked there. In the remotest places, shepherds
and cotters and their families have put blood and sweat into the land
and the dry stane dykers have stitched their signatures from end to end.
Robert Burns' poetry caught the flavour of this raw imprint of man on
the land, and land on man and celebrated the real nobility of such men
- as in his poem A
Man's a Man fur A' That. The cult of celebrity of persons and places
in our day tends to blind us to the fact that every man, woman and child
is the centre of their own experiential universe and any point on the
earth's surface is the centre of it if you happen to be there and are
awake enough to realise it. Discovering a wee bit about the centre of
yourself while as fully centred as you can be in the landscape you are
experiencing is a big (but illusive) part of why most of us go to the
hills. That is as near as anyone is ever going to get to real "ownership"
of the land. Anonimity of attitude (being quite humbly nobody special
at the centre of the experience) offers the magic key. We'll leave celebrity
of place and person to the shallow world of the tabloid-type media.
Two qoutes from the excellent recent (March 2011) series of programme
on BBC called "Wonders of the Universe" are worth mentioning
here in this connection:
"We are the cosmos made conscious"
"Life is the means by which the universe understands