Yesterday morning, as I walked from Feorag Lodge (Red Squirrel Lodge) where I’m staying, along the track to Benmore Botanic Garden, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. It sounds such a cliché but I wanted to mention it because I so often forget to appreciate the simple things. However, on this particular morning, I was well aware how lucky I am.
Lucky to have this residency. Lucky to have the sun on my face. Lucky to have been invited to go with Neil and Billy Walsh and four horticultural students to Edinburgh Botanic Garden.
I arrived in the courtyard at a few minutes after 8.00am and after being welcomed by Millie the dog I sat down on a bench and watched the swallows.
I soon got chatting to Ben, one of the gardeners. In fact we were so engrossed in conversation that he missed his lift to wherever in the garden he was supposed to be working. He was very charming about my having distracted him, so, I’ll just say publically, Sorry Ben. I hope you managed to get another lift and didn’t have to walk too far. Although to my mind walking any distance at Benmore is an absolute joy.
At 8.15am, we all got into the minibus and Neil set off driving… along the scenic route. And that is an understatement if I’ve ever made one. He turned left out of Benmore’s entrance and we had a glorious view of Loch Eck. We followed the road on and on… on and on… until it turned right and skirted the edge of Loch Fyne. For mile after mile the scenery remained stunning. We arrived in Edinburgh via some wonderful Central-Belt-of-Scotland landscape, not to mention a superb view of the Wallace Monument ans Stirling Castle.
And as we got out of the minibus at Edinburgh Botanic Garden it struck me that Neil had driven us coast to coast. It made me think how many times I’d planned to walk across from the dramatic North Sea cliffs of Robin Hood’s Bay to the Irish Sea coast of Cumbria, near the huge red sandstone cliffs of St. Bees Head, but sadly, have always ended up walking somewhere else.
If anyone has done that walk, did you write a poem about your adventure that might inspire me? Or has anyone ever walked coast-to-coast from Benmore to Edinburgh Botanic Garden? If so, it would be wonderful to see any poems that resulted.
And then I started to think how wonderful it would be to walk to and through all the Scottish Botanic Gardens: Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck. So, at risk of appearing impertinently cheeky, or downright mad to suggest such an escapade, if anyone would like to fund this poet to do that walk (writing poems and talking to people as she travelled) then please get in touch.