Aoradh meditation trail, Pucks Glen…


Aoradh meditation walk, start

We are just back after deconstructing the installations and stations in the lovely Puck Glen, which formed Aoradh’s contribution to Cowalfest. It felt like a real shame to take them down, as even today the Glen was full of people who were visibly affected by what they were encountering.

This is the second time we have used Pucks Glen in this way, and I have ideas about other things I would love to use this magical place for- watch this space to see if they ever come in to being.

As ever, if anyone wants to know more about what we did, or wants a copy of some of the resources feel free to get in touch.This time our contributions went something like this;

A water wheel spinning from a bridge in the darkest part of the Glen, asking people to think about the fact that it was energised by silver streams that had come from above.

Ribbons of all sorts of colours anchored to the top of a waterfull then fanning out over a pool. The path goes under the ribbons, in a way to make people part of the waterfall- with some suggestions to think about Streams of Living Water.

A way side shrine, with candles and a wooden carved cross.

‘Leaping’ silver fish on flexible stainless steel rods, anchored to the bottom of the stream, moving as the water rushes past. An image of freedom- where the spirit of the Lord is…

Large dry leaves (from Benmore Gardens) and pens at the top of the Glen, with an invitation to write on the leaves and drop them into the water- letting go, repentance etc.

Prayer flags, asking people to raise their own ensign- things that they want to be animated by the wind of the Spirit.

A wooden frame to look out over open country through.

A Loom, with an invitation to write names of special people who make up their community- the gifts of the Spirit being so much to do with getting on with each other.

Poetry on large PVC banners in and amongst the trees from another previous Aoradh event on a theme of ‘A time to…’

Speaking/listening tube- a long plastic drainpipe up into the tree canopy with a horn on one end and a speaking cup on the other- with an invitation to listen and speak prayers.

Also all the way through the Glen were small bits of poetry- what we called ‘messages’.

At some point over the weekend someone vandalised the installations- always a surprise given it’s location. Much of the poetry was ripped off or had disappeared altogether, as had the carved wooden cross. I can only assume that someone had a problem with the Christian starting point of what we were offering. This was balanced however by so many people who seemed to have found it so lovely, and had engaged with it using the materials provided. It really was a lovely thing to be part of…

Here are a few photos;

Cowalfest meditation walk…

pucks glen poster 2014

Aoradh are setting up another meditation walk around the beautiful Pucks Glen, to be part of Cowalfest, which starts on Saturday. We are meeting this evening to sort out who is doing what, but I am really looking forward to it.

This will be a series of stations, art and poetry up through the glen and back down to the car park.

We set up some similar installations there once before, around Christmas a couple of years ago- but unfortunately this coincided with massive storm that brought trees down and washed away a lot of the paths in the gorge. The installations were remarkably untouched, but getting to them involved some challenges and a bit of scrambling. Hopefully we will be a bit better served by the weather this time!

This is what it looked like last time;

water wheel 2

ribbons in situ

Temperate rainforest…

water falling, pucks glen

It stopped raining so we went off into the forest, getting some air before the arrival of guests who will be with us for New Year.

It is only a slight exageration to suggest that the forests of Argyll are part of the fragments of temperate rainforest left in northern Europe. Huge old trees in a sponge of moss and leaf mulch, well watered by the western Scottish climate.

As ever, my camera came along. I think I have a million photos of some of these places- searching for the play of light and the movement of water. I never quite manage it but some come close.


Meditation walk- a few more photos…

Our meditation walk seems to be getting some good use! Our house guests walked it on NYD between the rain showers. I was relieved to see that the water wheel is still surviving, although there is quite a rise and fall in the water level of the stream.

If anyone in interested in the scripts/plan- give me a nod and I’ll send them on to you.

Here is a some of the poetry-

You are wrapped up in me

And I am bound up in you

We are held together by soft bindings

Like tender shoot and stake

Like mud and gentle rain

Like worn shoe and weary foot

Like tea and pot

Like universe and stars

Like ocean and rolling wave

Like fields and each blade of grass

There is now

And there is our still-to-come


Pucks glen meditation trail…

Today we spent much of the day setting up things for this trail- which is Aoradh’s way of seeing in the New Year. If you are local we would love you to make use of it. It will be up for around a week.

We have not finished yet- all the notices and poetry will go up tomorrow. here are a few photos of the work so far though-

Things to do on boxing day…

Make a water wheel of course…

This is one of the pieces for our Aoradh New Year Meditation Walk in Pucks Glen- details here. The challenge has been to make something durable enough to last the week turning in cold water (which I am not sure I have managed) and also to be light enough to be moved by a small waterfall. I made the bearings out of some skateboard wheels, which I am really pleased with. Time will tell if it lasts the course…

We have had a lovely Christmas- I hope you have too.

It started with an Aoradh get together to share our ‘secret santa’ presents…

It was lovely.

Then we went to midnight Mass @ Andrew’s Church up on the hill- lots of incense, familiar liturgy and lovely music.

Christmas day was slow and lazy and full of both laughter, and the good kind of tears- the BBC nativity┬áreduced me to a jelly of tears. It’s earthy realism, allied to some genuine theological questioning was great- and the combination of great acting and a brilliant script was one of the most moving things I have seen for ages.

Then we opened presents. Despite all the discussion about trying not to do the present thing this year, I had some lovely things. Home made food parcels, books, clothes.

And a lovely calendar made by Michaela using the words of some of our favourite songs.

I am a man blessed. May the year ahead give me many opportunities to bless others…



Pucks glen, carol singing and slipping on ice…

We have had a very busy weekend.

Yesterday we had visitors, visited, and met to do some planning for an up and coming Aoradh event. This is the event, if you are around this area over New Year-

We are excited about this event- which we will be setting up between Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately Pucks Glen, like the rest of Argyll, took a bit of a battering in the storms, as a result of which it is full of fallen trees in places. Someone has had a go at cutting them into small pieces, but in places the path has been almost swept away.


Today we fetched a Christmas tree, went for a walk to review the site of the Aoradh event, then went carol singing around some rest homes before eating together at Paul and Pauline house.

The carol singing was lovely as ever. It has become one of those highlights of Christmas. Today Paul asked all the residents in the homes to tell us the town in which they were born- there were a few locals, but many people had made long life journeys- one man was born in New Zealand.

Dunoon is sheathed in ice. A thin sheet covers everything- and because it has not been very cold today, it is just about a slippy as you could ever imagine. This means that our driveway is unusable, and we have to park at the bottom of the hill and carry things up.

Ice plus dark plus heavy loads result in large bruises. If only I was as agile as our garden guests-


Dark reflection…

Part of some poetry written for Aoradh’s Pucks Glen meditation walk- another Cowalfest collaboration. If you are local- come along to the Glen next Saturday @ 2.00pm. You can book here.

The sun can only be seen in the light

Of the sun

And everything else is just



Sometimes our roads lead through dark places

Places of uncertainty

Bridges between here-

And somewhere else


But darkness is often penetrated

From above


Like this falling silver water

Winter makes cathedrals out of ice…

Took a lovely walk with the Mosley’s yesterday afternoon. Up into the hills and down Pucks Glen.

There had been a partial thaw, but the path was treacherous in parts.

Worth it though- for the company, the joy of seeing kids having fun in the wild, and for this-

Winter’s own towers and minarets.

A Cathedral for a while…