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Congratulations to Jane Mitchell, winner of the 2018 Writing Competition.  She has kindly given permission to post her winning entry:

COLLE COIRE CHUILC

We can see it from a distance as we walk towards the gold mines.
Colle Coire Chuilc ancient Caledonian forest
Isolated beautiful, mystical,
Standing alone, defiant against the world.
Canopies spread proud absorbing the atmosphere
The mother tree whispers to her children as we trudge up her muddy paths.

Sphagnum moss, blaeberries and bog myrtle intermingle and lichen grows free.
Funghi grow in the shape of stags antlers and hooves.
Water is clear and the forest breathes.
Gareth goes “pshaw” and a flock of long tailed tits explode into the air.
The weasels and voles disappear into their root burrows.

Young trees struggle to grow, their tops nibbled by deer untouched by predators.
Wolves, lynx and bears roamed the forest in ancient times but no more.
Perhaps the ghosts of the lost Roman legion drift through the trees.
Robert the Bruce has retreated through these lands and the lochan holds the secret of his sword.

We climb the slopes and reach the top looking down over the secret gentle waterfall.
How many dreamers have sat here before or crofters taken refuge before their long journey to another land?
We pick our way carefully down through the mud with wet feet and
look back at the magical landscape lit by late afternoon sunshine.

The forest breathes a sigh of relief and settles back into its peaceful vigil.

Jane Mitchell

The following entries were also submitted.  Permission has been given by the writers to post their work.

 

 

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