Three of us met in central Inverness and took bus to Culloden visitor centre where we grabbed a coffee and delicious cheese scones. We enjoyed eating them looking at the moors and observing little wagtails searching for crumbs under the tables. After the coffee we walked down to Clava which took around 30 minutes. The weather was lovely, warm and sunny. You could smell dog roses in the air when walking pass the bridge. We arrived at Clava and set up picnic under big Birch Trees. We brought with us three cheerful Trolls which enjoyed the picnic as much as we did.
We were soon joined by one more and enjoyed chatting about fairies, poltergeists and entheogenic experiences nibbling on some pumpkin pastry and elderflower and rhubarb Racuchy.
Racuchy were loved by everyone and disappeared very quickly. It’s a Polish snack resembling a pancake. You can use different kind of fruit to make them, also you can do some savoury ones with wild mushrooms, or plain ones to serve with different toppings. Here is a recipe using raspberries: http://noonionplease.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/racuchy-polish-mini-pancakes-with-fruits/ I like to drizzle them with honey and sprinkle with some cinnamon instead of using icing sugar or cream and I do not add sugar to my batter, especially not for savoury ones!!! Racuchy taste amazing with some grated pumpkin instead of fruit!
Each one of us took some time to stroll around the cairns and take in the atmosphere and spirit of the place.
On our way back to Culloden we met a couple of Shrews running nervously along the road. It looked like a passing car startled them. We stopped for moment to watch them and decided to leave them to find safety on their own. After arriving in the visitor centre we had some amazing rose cordial before saying goodbye. It has been a lovely and very relaxing afternoon.
It was a lovely Summer evening. We strolled along the Caledonian Canal in a bright sunshine and arrived at the Witches Coffin Pool. Cool refreshing breeze from the waters of the firth was filling the air with smell of the sea. We observed birds walking in the mud flats exposed by low tide. Few herons flew pass as we walked the narrow path between two ponds. Blooming honeysuckles and wild roses filled the air with intoxicating scent. Whizzing calls of a Greenfinch reached our ears and we watched a duck with few ducklings foraging by the reed beds. We walked further to the Silver Pool where we noticed a flock of elusive birds perched on a tree. We finished our stroll by watching heron catching fishes before we retraced our steps back to the canal.
The walk was very relaxing and pleasant. We will definitely repeat it some other time! Meanwhile we’re hoping that the weather will hold for our Saturday picnic in Culloden.
Last weekend was a very social and nice time for the Open Circle. Four of us met informally for a fire and bbq on Friday evening. The weather was dry and not too windy so the fire was a really nice experience. We barbecued some chicken and lots of vegetables and had them with some wine and cider. We spent the evening chatting about upcoming festivals and other summer events amongst other topics. After our guests left it started getting dark. We drew a few random sigils around the fire and finished our cider contemplating the glowing coal resembling a city viewed from the air at night. When we finished it began raining.
On Saturday we met for a lovely lunch at Leakeys Bookshop. I highly recommend whisky, honey and caraway cake and lapsong tea (if you like smoky flavours). After the lunch we strolled down to the Market Inn for a couple of pints. There we could have a look at my new purchase from Leakeys, a wonderful book ‘Birds’ by Katrina Cook portraying 150 pictures of ornithological art. Birds have been playing an important role in my Spirituality and Magick and this find was truly irresistible.
When we were on our way home we found an injured bird. We couldn’t leave him lying there in the rain exposed to attacks from cats and other birds. We took him home. I had to carry him in my hands and it was still breathing after we left him in a basket full of hay. We called the SSPCA, hopeful that they will be able to help, but before they had a chance to arrive the bird died. We buried him in our garden and marked the place with some stones. We gave him some grain for his travel to the netherworld. I felt it was important to assist this bird in his death. I hope we eased the suffering and let him pass away in peace.
We planned to start our camping weekend on Friday evening but we resigned because of a very heavy rain. Instead we stayed at home and watched Wild At Heart by David Lynch, followed by Witches of Eastwick. We took a bus to Fort Augustus early in the morning. The weather was nice and the top of the hills were covered in snow. After arriving we set up our tent and as soon as we finished it began raining. We had a stroll to Fort Augustus where we stopped for a lovely lunch. The little café by River Oich was serving delicious carrot and coriander soup. After the meal it was still raining so we stocked up on playing cards, fleece blankets, book of Scottish Myths and Legends and we snug up in our tent for the rest of the afternoon.
In the evening we arranged an Open Circle meeting in Poachers pub. A jolly group of bikers was playing heavy metal and rock songs from the jukebox as three of us enjoyed a few pints and a friendly chat in the beer garden. It was a very nice evening. We talked a little about everything ranging from spirituality, magick, occult and religious institutions to music and answer machine messages.
Sunday morning welcomed us with a wonderful dawn chorus and dry, windy weather. After breakfast we set out for a walk towards Corrieyairack Pass. It was hot enough to walk in a t-shirt and the air was filled with the smell of wild garlic growing everywhere on the side of the road. Sheep and Lambs were coming towards us and bleated loudly as we walked passed their pastures.
We stopped on Ardachy Bridge to take few photos when we noticed an unusual sight. A small group of bats flying in midday over the river Tarff (The sighting has been added to The Big Bat Map). Soon after crossing the bridge we were stopped by an old man who recommended we go and see Culachy waterfall. The walk lead us along a narrow woodland path on the steep sides of River Tarff. We caught glimpses of the swirling and foaming waters of the river down below. Hunting birds circled in the sky and deer grazed on the pastures to our left.
We arrived to the falls and decided to stop there for a cup of tea and a nibble. We both went down to the falls to refresh ourselves in its cold spray. Afterwards we continued along the glen for a while before returning the same way. We walked to Fort Augustus through lovely Kilchuimen Cemetery. On our way it began to rain. We came back to our tent and had a stir fry and noodles for dinner. Our second afternoon and evening was very similar to the first one. We read ‘The Battle of Birds’ and ‘In the Kingdom of Seals’, among a few other stories from the book. In the evening we met again in Open Circle for a couple of beers, this time in private.
In the morning after breakfast we had a nice short walk to Borlum Bay. We watched sand martins and swifts flying above the calm waters of Loch Ness and dark, heavy clouds sweeping along the Great Glen. After this we packed our tent and returned to Inverness on a late morning bus. It was a very atmospheric and nice weekend spent in a good company. I also managed to make quite a few recordings for my Glen Faramach project. I will share them in here once they are available online.
We just had our first forest stroll in Craig Phadrig woods. There was three of us, a good number for a witch meeting. We met at the upper car park off Leachkin Brae at 17:30 and walked through the path passed huge resin yielding spruce. We stopped there for a moment to say hello to the giant and collect some nice thick lumps to burn as incense. We continued on the path going around the hill and then to the hill fort at the top. We had a nice chat about spell casting, eating pine bark and a few other subjects. We said hello to many tree stump or tree root trolls on our way through the woods.
At the top we raised a sacramental horn of Norfolk Punch and shared some freshly baked pine bread (it didn’t include any pine flour but had some pine nuts and oil in it as well as pine and spruce ale) whilst worshipping a beautiful sunset sky and views to the snowy peaks around. A lovely way to mark the equinox and celebrate the beginning of the spring.