Wednesday, 3 March 2010
My rock-interest obviously started with Scottish rocks. After all, we have our fair share of mind-blowing examples....great big dodds of rock like the Cuillins, Suilven, Stac Poly or Ailsa Craig to name but a few. The rock beneath our tartan baffies, be it honey or red sandstone, glittering granite or something more exotic, has always determined the look of the landscapes and townscapes above. But here, wherever I go, the rock seems to be even more ‘in your face’.
Perhaps this explains something. I have noticed a peculiar urge for standing on rocks in this country. And, let’s face it, there is nothing like a big rock for making a person look absolutely first class. I was innocently strolling along our local rocky shore when a perfect creature, a delicious vision of Scandinavian perfection, came into view. A mighty Norwegian, his long, white-blonde hair aflutter in the bitter North wind, stood aloft a sizeable boulder, his heroic silhouette reminiscent of an ancient sculpture. He grasped his camera tripod like a spear as he squinted meaningfully at the horizon, a splendid example of the Norwegian habit of lengthy-rock-top-sea-gazing.
First thing in the morning, this is quite a sight. I stopped in my tracks. Had I landed in some kind of film-set? How are normal mortals meant to cope with this sort of person wandering around willy-nilly and posing on big rocks? There should be some kind of warning.
But this sort of thing happens all the time, no doubt as a result of the lavish amount of superbly-placed rock over here. There are normal rocks, big rocks, huge, gargantuan things and then whole mountain-ranges of sheer, hard, relentless rock. It is impossible to resist standing on it.
Norway has a rock for every occasion and a rock for every purpose. There are rocks for partying on, climbing up, diving off, wearing, decorating with, cooking on, exploring underneath and living in. There is rock that has been blown-up, crushed, blasted into and drilled through. There is rock in Norway that takes your breath away, rock so enormous it gives you palpitations, shock-inducing rocks, eye-watering rocks, rocks that transport the mind, semi-spiritual rocks. There is inconvenient rock, rock that causes separation, injury even death. There are rocks that draw crowds and stimulate tourism. Rock has dictated the nature, culture and life of this country ever since the ice departed northwards, carving out a landscape on which humans might find a way of picking a living.
I hear a siren. It’s a warning that in a couple of minutes an enormous explosion will occur, the floor will vibrate and a cloud of dust will rise into the air. This is because there is a building site nearby, a precipitous place that in Scotland only a madman might build on. But here, having a fondness for dynamite, they are not afraid of building a house on a rocky-outcrop, a jagged boulder with a straight drop out of the back door. If you’re happy to live on a cliff, you’re going to have a fabulous view. Whoever lives in this new house won’t have to go out to enjoy his lengthy-rock-top-sea gazing....he can do it from home.
I can go on about rocks at elaborate, interminable length. I’ll spare you for now, but I’m coming back to this subject soon, I warn you. Rocks are big news around here. For now, in order to contemplate my next blog post, I’m just nipping out to sit on a whacking great rock.
Posted by Returning Scot at 16:00