Sunday, September 24, 2017

Shieling of the No Night

In the July 28th post I described spending a night in a (mostly) intact shieling; one that had provided good shelter for a wet hiker on a stormy Hebridean night. The next day, as I was hiking out to Pairc Shiabost, I came across another, and very similar shieling, at Gearraidh Rahacleit.

From the outside the structure looked to be in good shape, its turf covered roof seemingly intact. But a peek inside the door revealed that the ground inside was a swamp. The shieling's timber and turf roof had half collapsed. And I realized then just how lucky I'd been to find decent shelter the previous evening.

In one corner there was a small section of ground just barely above the muck. On it lay a moldering sleeping bag; one that looked like it had been rotting away for several years. There was also a scattering of old utensils; an overturned teapot, and a colorful child's thermos bottle: signs of better times.

From the ruined shieling, above the shores of Loch Rahacleit, it was only a mile's walk north to the water works and the track to Pairc Shiaboist.

With some love, the shieling at Gearradh Rahacleit could be made livable. But it would take a lot of love. So for now, it is an Airidh na Neoni Oidche, a shieling of the no night. (I apologize to my Gaelic friends if I got that wrong).

Shieling of the No Night

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