Picture This: The Glens of Moniaive

by Keith Savage · 6 comments


The high moors of Nithsdale bend the evening light into the narrow glens leading to Moniaive. A thousand years of history nestle in this crease of the southern uplands, the slow green slopes around town protecting it like inverted earthen ramparts. The stones released from the ground have become the battlements of sheep, and yet here and there a lone tree still stands against the pinkening sky. The wind speaks in my ears but the language escapes me. On first blush, this feels like a forgotten place, but after three nights there can be no doubt the memory of Moniaive is strong with those who know it.

And so it remains with me, drawn to this place by chance, but by experience bound to remember. For years now I have sought to upend Scotland like a pouch of jewels into my hand, and here is one sparkling uncut gem. How many more await in the folds of the earth? It is a question – a quest – I fear and pray will never be answered. When the reverie ends, there are sheep milling about my legs. I watch the clouds play in the light, notebook in hand. I am no artist, but something compels me to capture this scene, and when I try to draw the tree my pencil tip breaks upon the page.


KathleenNo Gravatar October 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Lovely photo and the prose that accompanies it is so lyrical. Really takes you there. My roots are from Scotland as well and I took a trip there a year ago. It’s definitely part of my blood as well and I am longing to return! Thanks for sharing with us.

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Cheers, Kathleen.

maggieNo Gravatar October 9, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Keith this is great. I just returned from over 2 weeks in Scotland. Did a lot of hiking on Mull, Iona, Ben Nevis, Skye, the Black Isle I love all of it! I was there during the referendum and that was quiet an experience. All in all I think I must have lived in Scotland in a past life (?) because it all seems so familiar! I sense you may feel the same connection?

Keith SavageNo Gravatar October 9, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Sounds like a fantastic trip – kudos for exploring lesser-known places like Mull and Black Isle! I have ancestry from Scotland, and there is something about the place that feels integral to my spirit.

De'JavNo Gravatar October 9, 2014 at 5:35 AM

Great picture!!

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