N E W S F E E D S >>>

London Caithness Association 

       London Caithness Association     London Caithness Association History Index

A Winter View From Cletton Hill
James Budge

To east the sea,
South, the blue-veiled hills of Morven;
And westward, Greenland’s brown plateau
Trails north to skirts of Huna.
Within the compass of the eye
I__range the dips and hallows, braes and burns,
That, kissed and cursed by Heaven’s fast-veering winds
Comprise a sweep of Lowland that is Caithness.

In foreground Auchorn Burn,
A sprightly, peaty-bottomed tarn,
Hemming the ditch-strewn glebe of gorse
That lights the way to Mireland.
O’er moor and scree, the heather-knotted howes,
The vista wends, and gathers green,
As, brinking Wester’s loch beyond the links,
It joins the Bay of Sinclair by the bent.

From blue to green and darkest grey to white,
That anchor’s highway, tireless, ever free,
Bids speed to those who harvest from its deeps
The spectral “silver darlings” of the sea.
Within the sound of Noss’s warning boom
A stranger boat, returning from afar,
May rest awhile, secure from ocean’s swell,
With Girnigoe for beacon, Keiss for lea.

There’s screws of corn and gilts of ripened hay,
That shelter homely steadings on the crofts.
These, the autumn offerings of the soil,
Are set against the leaner days of sloth.
Beyond the rim of Reiss’s rounded rump,
The morning smoke of Wick’s bestirring fires,
Fans up to meet the wintry wisps of cloud,
In mushroom muster, flecked by shafts of light.

And inward roves the eye along the bild,
By Kirk and Watten, Bower and Castletown,
To where Thor’s godchild, fair maid of the West,
Salutes the day in Pentland-girdled gown.
By Dunnet Head, and coastwise to the Groats,
Through rigs of Canisbay and Ham,
The iris of the lens swings broadly round,
By Warth and Freswick, back to where I stand.

The River Fleet, an inky Stygian way,
Now claims me, as a pilgrim on its course,
But give me back the mirror of my soul,
The open heath, the cleansing winds, the North.