We’ll be adding text, images and sounds around the themes of trees, breathing and mental health each day of our residency 6 – 11 November 2017 from Ben Nevis.

DAY 0

Arrived late in the day and gathered our thoughts. Two musicians, strung out and scatter brained – focused on getting here, getting the gear in and finding our feet.

DAY 1

A day of preparation, research, assembling project materials and making plans. The themes of trees and breathing are more than enough but they shoot off into lots of other potential investigations. Our thoughts need guidance. Tomorrow the mountain.

DAY 2

No mountain. Adverse conditions grounded us. A day of research and provisions.

We visited the Landscape Partnership, met some walkers who had evacuated the hills and invested in some new thermals and gloves. We read about tree networking and cooperation, our native and ancient trees (Lime and Yew) and about breathing and simple strategies to bring our attention to now. A piece with different patterns of breath might be emerging.. Hoping for workable conditions tomorrow. Thank goodness for books.

 

DAY 3

Treehouse day 1. We reached the Outlandia treehouse via the steep peat track up towards Cow Hill. Under the canopy of the trees the sounds and smells change, the air is soft. It is peaceful between the forestry works taking place further down the hill. We’ve been reading about the electrical signals trees use to communicate an attack on a part of themselves – a way of registering pain. The chemical compounds the trees release to ward off grazers wont be any use against a chainsaw. The treehouse is stunning. It moves all the time with the forest – the structure sits on top of a single tree trunk, held in place, and buttressed by chains to the ground. The movements slow us down instantly, all action inside the structure is carried out so as not to shake the treehouse too much. It’s November – cold and a little damp, almost warmer outside, under the trees. The boardwalk is magical, lined with moss that glows in the shade of the trees. This forest is mainly Spruce but there are trees of almost all the native species here, we’re learning..

 

DAY 4

Another glorious day at the treehouse. Repeating our walk across the valley and up the steep peat track, we’re becoming familiar with the trees, stones, mosses, mushrooms on the route. Thanks to our research time, we’re recognising more of the trees and understanding how they relate to each other: depending on and supporting each other, sharing resources and communicating under our feet and through the air. They must be experiencing us too, our minimal presence in the forest this week. We’re seeing and hearing differently.