The Scottish Coastline is rugged and beautiful. It will be perfectly still one moment, then pouring rain, then perfectly still again. This is the nature of life in the highlands, and the people live accordingly.
I found myself in the town of Diabaig (pronounced dear-beg), staring across the rocky beach, when my eyes fell upon a fully exposed shipwreck. I had seen it in the water, just barely sticking out, on the same night as A Sunset Dinner At The End Of The Road., but it was mostly hidden, and I made a note to revisit it when the tides were different.
We drove over the hill and down the main road to get to the small hillside farming village. The single-track road is windy and sometimes exceptionally steep.
Diabaig appears over the final crest. The town is located on a steep hill, where sheep wander freely, and crofters let them intermingle. Co-dependence is key to survival in this area, and each crofters flock of sheep are signified by a spray of paint on their woolly backsides. This way each crofter can count his sheep from anywhere he can see them.
We come down the steep hill and the tide looks to be just right. Any lower, I figured, and it would be fully exposed again; any higher, and it would be completely underwater. I had been trying to time it to mid-tide, while also trying to find a time to get people excited to visit the seaside town which we had already visited multiple times now.
I ran across the rocky beach, with no mind for the safety of my ankles (or my camera) as I slipped and tripped my way to the shipwreck.
I like to think I had timed it perfectly. The ship rested on its side like a mortally wounded soldier. Its exposed rib-cage lets ropes tangle, and seabirds perch while the hull periodically donates pieces of itself to the sea to float as driftwood.
The old fishing vessel reflects upon the water, creating an eerie image of a skeletal fish, leaping from the sea into the sky. It has become the very thing it was once tasked to catch. A full circle of life and death and rebirth.
It is not a sad sight, to watch the sun set behind this once proud sea-faring vessel, lying on its side on the tidal rocks. The ship still has a certain sense of pride. It has retired, its purpose served. It is a postmark from the rich history of sailors and ships and boats which have come and gone from this small port for hundreds of years.
The fact that it has been left alone by the locals shows the type of town this is. Their sculpture is true to who they are and is not an artificially installed artwork with forced meanings. It is an ode to the past and a dedication to hard work. I often think about the storm which placed it there, or the men who scuttled it, or the rogue wind which blew it in a little too close. It goes to show that even the strongest can be overcome by the harsh and unpredictable conditions which the Scottish Highlands are subject to.
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