This year I’m going on retreat again to Glencanisp Lodge in the north-west Highlands of Scotland. It’s a peaceful and stunningly beautiful environment, and one very familiar to Norman MacCaig during the great poet’s summer holidays from the school in which he was a teacher and I was a pupil (though never his pupil, apart from Scottish country dancing lessons).
There are six weeks available from 2010 to 2011, and I’m going on the midsummer one, from 26th June to 3rd July. Later weeks this year are 11 – 18 September, when the heather is in full flower, 30 October – 6 November when the stags roar in the hills, 6 – 13 November, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Norman MacCaig, and next year 8-15 January 2011, for New Year warmth round the big log fire, and 26 March – 2 April 2011, for nature’s Spring extravaganza.
It’s a true retreat; there are no workshops, mentoring or teaching sessions, but it’s a wonderfully positive and safe environment for sharing drafts and feedback in the evenings.
You can, as I did a couple of years ago, climb Suilven, that iconic mountain of Scotland’s ‘Top Left Corner’, you can walk round the lochan and watch otters and black-throated divers, as I also did, or you can stay in your room and just write, as many do.
Glencanisp Lodge is owned by the local community of Assynt, along with a vast area of land, which includes four mountains. Imagine owning four mountains!
There’s a Suilven sequence in my new book (have I mentioned I have a new book out from Red Squirrel Scotland?), and here are some of the photos I’ve taken on previous retreats.