Soundwalk across Northton Machair. Machair Walks. Touring Exhibition of the Sound Exhibition.

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  • Recording date

    1999-07-06 and 2001-07-03

  • Recording locations

    Machair area of Northton, Harris and Lewis, Inner Hebrides, Scotland, UK

  • Recordist

    Wagstaff, Gregg

  • Speakers

    Lawson, Bill

  • Description

    Sound description: Soundwalk guided by Bill Lawson over the Machair area of Northton (a site of Special Scientific Interest). The soundwalk was recorded during two separate excursions, which were mixed together subsequently. The first soundwalk was recorded on 6 July 1999 on a route which began at the MacGillvery bird sanctuary in Northton village across the machair and onto the beach at Traigh na Cleavag and ended at the ruined chapel at Rubh' an Teampuill. The second soundwalk was recorded on 3 July 2001 on a route starting from the machair area and heading north-east at low tide across the sand from Toibh Thuatha to Scarasta beach [The recording of the corncrake - is a'disappearing sound' from this area as it is a species which has been changing its breeding patterns, possibly in response to climate change, and was not recorded during the second visit, 2 years later]. The term "Sound of Harris" used during this walk refers to a narrow stretch of water (in this instance between Inner Hebridean isles of South harris and North Uist). Tracks: Place and machair creation. Colour phases (yellow). Corncrake and habitat. Orchids and other flora. Red petalled daisy. 600 species. Ploughed machair. Calm day and sound of sea. The wind. Chaipaval/Bow shaped hill. "Daisies on the track and yellow on either side". Yellow pollen coating your shoes. "A more impoverished soil". The islands of the Sound of Harris. "How calm is this?". A handful of sand. "The only bird that speaks Gaelic". Sea, sound and the weather. Little streams. Squelch of seaweed, clatter of rocks (Gneiss). Visibility and St Kilda. Change in soil and flora. Rumble of ferry. The old Southtown. Site of Chapel [Rubh' an Teampuill]. "From the inside edge of the Atlantic, to the outside edge of Europe. Entering the chapel. Looking across to Scarista. Distant surf and strimmer. Heading out across tidal bay (Traigh an Toibh Thauath). One mile to the sea. Approaching edge of sea. "An inadequate word, blue… ".

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