What started out as a curiosity lead to a desire to investigate Mull’s dark secrets. I’m not a geologist but I could not help but imagine the possibilities in black and white. Mull is an island which is part of the Inner Hebrides found off the coast of Scotland.  This work hopes to explore the complexity of nature in structure and shape.

The season chosen for this adventure was winter, which may to most seem odd.  However at this time of  year the landscape shows another form. It’s raw and true soul mapped upon the rock against an uneven ocean. Also the added advantage of very few visitors to the island.

Throughout the Isles on each of the coastal walks made, the journeys were far from dull. The challenging long hikes were worthy of their reward in terms of not only photography but the fascination of the unusual. Heightening the experience was the absence of anyone either on the path or in the far distance in any direction. I felt as a true explorer of a virgin land, only to be observed by the wildlife of eagles and red deer.

There is nothing minimalistic about this seascape of over 500 kilometres of coastline. A glut of geological history is stained upon its landscape in a remarkable way from underneath the earth. While incredible to think that basalt is the most commonest rock on this planet it’s not often present so frequently as it is on Mull. Lying under the crust it made an appearance through hotspots in the mantle many millions of years ago.

The basalt is formed by the cooling of lava to create these giant dark polygon structures. These tall, laid out or twisted marvels are found in rock faces, sea stacks, arches, cliffs and walls all around the Isle of Mull. These textures, lines and shapes are untouched and seem to be ever lasting. There is a definite sense and mystery holding all the pieces of the land and sea together to create a place that seems to be unordered but not. A landscape immensely beautiful and equally complicated.

The first of the Carsaig Arches has basalt on top and with cretaceous rock on the bottom while the second pretty much all basalt.  These two natural arches have been carved out by the sea.  The tallest one features a free standing basalt columns and it’s archway resembles that of a keyhole.

Another area on Mull where arches can be found is the remote “Wilderness Area”.  I venturing out there twice . The return visit proved to be the most rewarding due to the foggy weather. This added atmosphere I needed for the type of picture making like to create. I have to say I was a bit weary of getting lost or missing my step. The cliffs and path here are perilous and unforgiving in parts. Equiped with a flask of coffee and the necessary sandwiches. I left the iPhone play on speaker in the event I fall over the edge they could find easily dead or alive listening to Clannad (well it seemed eerily appropriate for the location!). The most interesting  Arch is a double one located at GPS 56.4015° N, 6.1745° W in the Wilderness Area.

In January and March 2012, I’m offering a photo trip and guide tour to these fascinating places. More information can be found on : http://www.glyons.at.

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May 8, 2011

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