Hopes Reservoir, grey sea and Alice Munro

The blog is a week late as I had trouble accessing it. However, I went on the WordPress forums with my problem and someone has fixed it – thank you to whoever Raincoaster is.

On Sunday morning, my wife and some fellow members of Dunbar Running Club headed off up country about 14 miles (22K) to take part in the annual Goat’s Gallop run, organised by another local club HELP. On the way, you drive through the bonnie village of Gifford which is resplendent at this time of year with a carpet of dying but colourful leaves along the edge of the road near the park. The run starts at a local farm and from there, the runners face a long, steep climb to the top of Lammer Law (scroll down for walking route). The runners come off this route and run across the uneven swathes of heather – thus the goat’s gallop name – and continue towards a cliff, from where they face a vertiginous descent, before joining the track again, taking them past the Hopes Reservoir. Photos 1-4 show views approaching the reservoir, and across the reservoir, while it was still misty, one of the runners on the track near the reservoir, and a view over the reservoir when the sun had come out and provided a spectacular reflection. For the full set of photos – and a classic song – see my Photopeach page.  I walked to the reservoir from the nearby car park and was accompanied only by the puckpuckpuckpuck call of several red grouse, some of whom were startled by my approach and flung themselves into the air with a desperate flapping of wings. Otherwise, there was a very pleasant silence.

Today, looking from the back of my house, the sea, which was a deep blue with rushing, polished white waves on Sunday, is dull and the waves look as if they might be struggling to summon the energy to get to shore. In my poetry calendar last week, this image was captured in a much more descriptive way, by Barbara Crooker in her poem The Winter Sea. She writes “The ocean’s grey today, like someone’s dingy laundry,/ the slop and slosh of sudsy waves agitate on the sand/ and the sky’s the inside of an ashtray at some salty dive”.

Another poetic writer which I’ve been reading is the short story specialist Alice Munro who recently won the very prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. I bought her latest book of short stories Dear Life. I’ve read one complete story so far and have started the 2nd one. As the  Guardian reviewer notes, each story is like a mini novel and you need time to reflect after reading each one. Munro condenses people’s lives with enviable ease and it’s not until you finish one of her stories that you realise just how much you learned about the characters. Although Munro is not known as a poetic writer, she sometimes writes beautifully e.g. “The frozen lake not level but mounded along the shore, as if the waves had turned to ice in the art of falling”. This is a striking and imaginative image. Even if you never read short stories, get this book and you will be richly rewarded.

Looking towards the Hopes Reservoir

Looking towards the Hopes Reservoir

Runner passing Hopes Reservoir

Runner passing Hopes Reservoir

Hopes Reservoir

Hopes Reservoir

Elliptical reflection at Hopes Reservoir

Elliptical reflection at Hopes Reservoir


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One Response to “Hopes Reservoir, grey sea and Alice Munro”

  1. Atocha Station, visit to Toledo and walk up Lammer Law | James Herring's Weekly Blog Says:

    […] autumnal grasses (2nd photo), glimpse of the Hopes Reservoir (previously featured on this blog here) (3rd photo),  a stunning view of the 3 volcanic edifices, from left to right  – North […]

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