Tuesday, March 17, 2009

John Muir Trust and wild writing

Last Wednesday myself and co-judge Hamish MacDonald announced the winners of the John Muir Trust's wild writing competition at Fort William's fantastic Mountain Festival. It's the third year I've been involved in some capacity and the way that JMT has joined the Festival in developing a creative response to mountains and wild places in our lives has been fantastic and creates more and more interest each year.

For the full results, see here but Tom Bryan of Kelso was the overall winner with a beautiful reflection on his relationship with Suilven, the iconic Assynt mountain that follows one's eye, shape-shifting as it goes, around that part of north-west Scotland. Alan Gay of North Berwick took second place with a mysterious poem called 'Deer Path' which for me made the visible and invisible worlds of the mountains touch for a moment. There were three runners up - all prose pieces - from Kate Blackadder, Stephen Busby and Jenny Holden.

Joyce Carol Oates criticised 'nature writing' for what she called its "painfully limited set of responses: reverence, awe, piety, mystical oneness." We may have found those responses amongst the entries but we also found exhilaration, confusion, boredom, coldness, joy and grief.

Congratulations to all!

Meanwhile, if you get hold of a copy of the latest JMT journal (46/Spring 2009) you will find an illustrated extract of my piece 'The Beat of Heart Stones' about a walk along a dry stone dyke on Schiehallion this time last year.

1 comment:

Tousled Raven said...

Really enjoyed your piece in the JMT Journal. An interesting perspective to take. I often think about the people who have walked the hills I walk on in years gone by .....right to the person who dropped the ceremonial flint axe head dated to more years ago than I can imagine. Nearest flint to here ......Yorkshire! Stopping to whistle a dog, look at feet and there was the axe head! Archaeologists working in the area said it was the best one they'd seen. Oh the tales our hills and mountains might tell?!