The Burn


Tangy. In the spring of 2012 I followed the Kintyre peninsula down to its southern end near Campbeltown to arrive by a glinting, rushing burn between banks of celandines and kingcups. I stayed in a big solid ancient water mill complete and in perfect working order but still and silent, every functional cog and wheel unworked for 50 years; on the north bank of that noisy bubbling brook beneath soaring golden eagles and skylarks. I trailed the stream from its loch high on the moor past the mill and down to that dark coast with my pencil line and paintbrush stroke, tracing every curve and meander, overhanging tree and washed rock.

So a journey for the Tangy Burn [and for me] from the source to the sea of only 4 kilometres but as resonant and diverse as any River Thames, Clyde or Forth; a small world but encompassing all those serpentine bends and twists, river cliffs and flood plains; all those falls and eddies, rushes and cataracts. Black water, white water, ochre water, clear water. Moorland, farmland, woodland, coastland.

On a small scale but not of insignificance – every boggy mire of draining moorland bank and flower clad valley side, every stretch holds its own riparian story of evolution with erosion and deposition; supporting its very personal and pertinent biodiverse communities – colonies of plants and animals clinging to the banks and bathing in those waters. A world in microcosm.

The Burn ran 18th - 27th March 2013 at The Lighthouse Gallery, Glasgow, G1 3NU.

  • Otter footprints in the sand, Ireland on the skyline, 2012. Otter footprints in the sand, Ireland on the skyline, 2012.
  • The Mill. Dusk, stream roar, April 2012. The Mill. Dusk, stream roar, April 2012.
  • Robin song. Low sun on the sea, April 2012. Robin song. Low sun on the sea, April 2012.
  • Sunshine and a flowing tide. Islay and Jura from below Tangy, April 2012. Sunshine and a flowing tide. Islay and Jura from below Tangy, April 2012.
  • Early morning up the burn from the mill window, 2012. Early morning up the burn from the mill window, 2012.
  • Cogs and wheels and sunlight. Tangy Water Mill, April 2012. Cogs and wheels and sunlight. Tangy Water Mill, April 2012.
  • Wood anemones and bluebells from the banks of the Tangy Burn, April 2012. Wood anemones and bluebells from the banks of the Tangy Burn, April 2012.
  • Islay and Jura. On Kintyre’s dark shore, April 2012. Islay and Jura. On Kintyre’s dark shore, April 2012.
  • Between the leaf and the crab – the burn and her water wheel, 2012. Between the leaf and the crab – the burn and her water wheel, 2012.
  • Evening sunlight. Tangy burn and wind turbines, April 2012. Evening sunlight. Tangy burn and wind turbines, April 2012.
  • Morning burn mutter, April 2012. Morning burn mutter, April 2012.