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Walking through Taynish National Nature Reserve’s trails can feel magical.
What made that rustle? Was that a bird…or something else? Just what might we find beyond the paths?
The reserve’s new art trail, though, dials up the magic a notch.
Just by the entrance, Jane Walker’s straw deer of willow and scraps greet the viewer. Entitled ‘Looking for Noah’ they stand, incongruously with a licence plate wedged in antlers.
The walk takes the visitor past thought-provoking sculptures, including Lesley Burr’s beautifully-painted birdcages that could house fairies, to an opening at The Mill with its own maze and poetry carved into rock.
The Artmap Argyll group brings together artists of different specialities to make for an intrigung walk through the woods.
A highlight for many will be Melanie Chimelewska’s limestone seal pup, lying gleefully on the shore, but Andy McClintock’s dancing mermaids undoubtedly captured a feeling of eerie magic, as though having stepped into a Grimm brothers’ fairytale. The wire and cloth faceless mermaids dance on the surface of a pond but hide, too, under a running waterfall, washing the seaweed stuck to their scaled tails.
Andy McClintock said: ‘I imagine water sprites dancing in the lagoon and disporting themselves in waterfalls.’
Within The Mill itself, paintings are hung showing the allure of algae.
Artist Lottie Goodlet said: ‘As a snorkeller and swimmer in the Sound of Jura, I am fascinated by seaweed beneath me. I see it as secret and unexpected treasure – underwater kelp forests and ocean meadows gracefully riding the ebb and flow of the tides.’
The influences of nature brought into a new light makes for a mysterious experience that will stay with you far longer than the trail can last.
The art trail at Taynish National Nature Reserve runs until Sunday September 30.