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Take a moment to behold....2019 #newyearsresolution.

We loved the sentiment carved into this standing stone that is part of the recently situated sculpture at Corgarff in the Cairngorms sitting 637m above sea level and on the 'snow route'. An indicator of how 2019 should be spent- we could think of no finer New years Resolution.

The rest of the sculptural scene was 'The Watchers' by John Kennedy, four sculptural iron seats that look out over the Cairngorms and give shelter from the whipping winds as you sit in awe of the stunning scenery.

Having spent a wonderful few days seeing the old year out and new year in amongst the magickal Scottish Highlands we chose to take the scenic route home rather than the direct way and we were more than compensated for the extra hours of travelling by the breathtaking landscape, hidden gems and folklore that we encountered.

We left behind enchanted forests ... where elusive Capercaillie make their home, red squirrels scamper and crested tits flit in open winter canopies. All of which are massively in decline and the first two seriously in danger of extinction on our isles.

Faerie land bridges...

and twilight wintry daytime's.

As we headed high into ski country with slopes yet to receive snow in any significant amount. The A939 is usually the first road to get closed as winter throws its worst and it was easy to see why as we snaked round windy upward roads.

Having left the Highlands we were heading towards Perth in search of Kincladie Wood just outside the village of Dunning, a place known for witch burning. The woods were smaller than we had imagined and are now a nature reserve an a place of restoration and protection but were once a scene of murder as at least three witches and a wizard were burned at the stake in the mid 17th century. There was an atmosphere within the woods that made us uneasy, perhaps the residue left by such ill treatment and injustice. Although the exact site of the burning's is unknown we took a photograph of the area where we felt a strange sad atmosphere.

Dunning itself is a village of many interesting stories and events and is situated in a particularly puritanical part of Scotland where rogue preachers and local magistrates meted out punishment on particularly women who had probably done little or nothing to cause themselves being accused of being a witch. It was a time of hysteria fuelled by religious zeal and human cruelty. The other thing we had particularly wanted to see was the monument to Maggie Wall who it is said was burnt as a witch in 1657. The monument is found outside the village and has many stories about why it is there and who Maggie was but there are no trial records or even any mention of her being part of the parish. We will be writing some of the folklore about her in the 2020 diary if you are interested in hearing more.

And so our trip ended with us arriving back in Shropshire and building our New Years day bonfire and reflecting on all that we had seen. Our 'goodly' fire , a positive part of our seasonal celebrations we felt thankful as we stared into the embers and let our imaginations flow. We will be creating the 2020 diary soon - the tenth year of Talking Trees Books. We are always amazed and delighted by how many people share our wish to keep the old ways alive. Needless to say we plan to mark our anniversary with a special edition diary.


Happy New Year to you all and let us be thankful for all we have and bathe in love and light throughout 2019 x

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