Painting of whte house with gray roof and red door and window sills. Impression of tree on left. Gate, fence and green field in foreground.


uhi west highland

the natural world

'Up Bluebraes'

"Wellies were pulled on over tight drainpipe denim. On days like these magic lay ahead, sparked by nostalgia, old family photographs and snippets of fireside stories. Teenage angst, boyfriends and best friends were all put aside for the day as I walked through the fields to Bluebraes. My footsteps would take me back to precious, carefree times of childhood and days filled with innocence and unconditional love.

Hedgerows of hawthorn, gateposts and fences, freshly laid cowpats hardening in the sun, skylarks and meadow pipits calling from above, buttercup and clover filled fields. I would look back to the town in the distance below me and feel like I was on top of the world. Climbing through fences and watching for cattle I reached the big tree and the brow of the hill.

Ahead lay the farm buildings, crumbling and sagging, the machinery rusting by the track. The old blue tractor and midden of nettles, the straw bales and the byre of calves.….for me, my playground as I had learned to walk. Closing my eyes and smiling, picturing red shoes and chickens and the tales of stolen jam pieces. The smell of the earth and the fields and the farm felt comfortable, safe and warm. Clambering over slates to drop down through the skylight into rooms that were battered and worn. Wallpaper peeling where dinners were once eaten with smiley faces and laughter and love.

A last stolen glance of a home that had been cherished, then out through the red wooden door.

Back down through the fields to the present and to my future where those precious days will never be forgotten and will stay with me now and forever and as I grow old."

As told by Pamela Griffin, born to Galston Ayrshire; now resident of Ballachulish, Highland

Image: Acrylic and collage on board. Artist is Pamela Griffin. This story and image were submitted as part of a collaboration with the UHI West Highland Creative Arts program.