I’m sitting in the Colonsay hotel in front of a warming wood burning stove, and in typical Highland form, rain is lashing against the windows, making it seem like 4pm rather than 10am. I am reminded of our fuel stop outside the Green Welly Boot at Tyndrum on our way to Oban to ride on the memorable Caledonian McBrayne ferry ‘The Clansman’.

For anyone  who knows this part of the world, it is the most incongruous tourist spot, with West Highland Way walkers coming off the hills complete with stuffed backpacks, a meeting point for leather clad motor bike enthusiasts, car driving tourists stopping for fuel and snacks,  a coach party coffee stop venue and long distance lorry drivers park and rest spot.

Amidst all this chaos and constant movement of people, I was sitting in the car feeling curiously completely at peace in this place I have always reviled.

I was on holiday after all, but I was also listening to a glorious piece of music from an album called Soar. I was in fact soaring myself, absorbed and elevated by this unique sound made by these 2 instrumentalists, one from Wales, the other from Senegal; Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch playjng kora and harp respectively. This partnership was born out of the common bond between the migrating Osprey flying between Senegal and South Wales. Clarach was the name given for first Dyfi osprey in modern times to be born in Wales before returning as an adult from Africa to rear chicks in the UK.

The beauty of this bird’s journey is conveyed so perfectly with the interweaving of strings, conveying the distance and space travelled between north and southern hemispheres.

I was transfixed in this moment, detached from the external hustle and bustle, observing but not being a part of.

Maya Angelou reminds us ‘in diversity there is beauty and there is strength’. This majestic bird gave inspiration to human voice through music, articulating the lived experience of finding peace and harmony in both nations.  We all long to find this in our lives too,  the bird striving to accomplish this journey by making treacherous ocean crossings, while we as human beings possess the potential to find this same harmony  by diving within our hearts and discovering the wonder of becoming this state.


Jill Alexander

September 2020, Haddington