Picture This: The Kilbrannan Sound

by Keith Savage · 8 comments

There is sound before there is sight, and then, visions. The sea makes small noises on the beach, spitting out round stones at the tide line like cherry pits sucked clean and dribbled between lips. The hollow clack-crunch of footsteps among the stones presages bodies moving toward the water. A child’s exclamations, a mother’s soft remonstrations. The damp air collapses upon noise like a fire blanket cast upon an errant flame. I am waiting for the ferry to take me across the Kilbrannan Sound, from the Isle of Arran to the Kintyre Peninsula and then on to Islay. I look, finally, to see if my ears have lied to my eyes.

A mother leads her tiny, pink daughter to the tide. They stare across the gray expanse to hills with scarves of mist. Time slows. The child is quiet. She stares at the unknowable depths before her, at the obscured landscape beyond. There are small boats bouncing on the waves. Her journey is about to begin. What does she see? My own eyes deceive me for the arcs and angle of stories and metaphors dash across the horizon. As they always do. And I wonder at the infinite number of epics that must fail to live beyond a glance.

ElizabethNo Gravatar December 2, 2012 at 9:07 AM

I love your writing!! We just moved to Cromarty on the Black Isle and it’s so stunning. Apart from being freezing of course šŸ™‚

Keith SavageNo Gravatar January 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I really like Black Isle’s quiet agrarian atmosphere. All the little towns – Cromarty, Avoch, Rosemarkie – create such a timeless air. Thanks for the comment.

LindaNo Gravatar December 1, 2012 at 6:12 AM

Amazing writing, as always. Reading your response to the first comment made me realize just how much there is to explore in a small country. It was more when I noted what you hadn’t yet seen as opposed to what you had, because I’ve read you so much. Thanks for the reminder as well as the pleasure!

Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Thanks Linda. I still have much to explore in Scotland: the Outer Hebrides, Fife, the lowlands, Lochaber, and Caithness/Sutherland/Wester Ross.

NicoNo Gravatar December 1, 2012 at 1:03 AM

A really nice bit of writing. I think in many ways the imagery surpasses the picture.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar December 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Thanks, Nico. That’s always my goal with these.

Calum MacKinnonNo Gravatar November 29, 2012 at 11:22 PM

I have followed your wonderful meanderings for some months now and your descriptions of my country leave me in awe. You may have meandered over to my part- and I’ve missed it – but I’ve not seen anything about-Lochaber, Brae Lochaber, Nether-Lochaber —or even down to Oban area- “TheLorne Peninsula” As above I may just have missed it – has it been done – or do we await some more insightful meandering comments?

PS As above – Hebrides – (especially Barra?)
Calum MacKinnon

Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 30, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Calum – Thank you for the comment. It means a lot to me to hear this about my writing – especially from a Scot. Thank you for reading.

As for your questions. I have been through parts of Lochaber and Oban, but only for a short period of time and this was before I began Traveling Savage. I passed through Oban and the region on my back to Glasgow from Mull last fall, but I did not stop. This is to say that a future trip must certainly include more time in the area. I’m sure you would be able to give me some recommendations for sights, etc.

I have not been out to the Outer Hebrides. I have tried working in Lewis and Harris on previous trips but the logistics didn’t work out. Perhaps that’s all the better. Seems like a trip could be dedicated to those isles.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


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