Assynt, Inverkirkaig, Stoer, Inchnadamph, Kylesku

Sunday, 14 September, 2014

The curlicue placenames of Scotland give the impression that they were created with an eye on branding single malt whisky, so intriguing are the craggy mixtures of consonants and vowels. Consider the parish of Assynt, which is located on a remote corner of the northwest Highlands. It can boast a neighbourhood of Inverkirkaig, Baddidarach, Stoer, Quinag, Inchnadamph, Kylesku and Lochinver, to name but seven gems. No wonder, then, that Norman MacCaig adored it.

Assynt and Edinburgh

From the corner of Scotland I know so well
I see Edinburgh sprawling like seven cats
on its seven hills beside the Firth of Forth.

And when I’m in Edinburgh I walk
amongst the mountains and lochs of that corner
that looks across the Minch to the Hebrides.

Two places I belong to as though I was born
in both of them.

They make every day a birthday,
giving me gifts wrapped in the ribbons of memory.
I store them away, greedy as a miser.

Norman MacCaig (1910 — 1996)

Filed in: Poetry

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