The winter king rises.

I was up in Pitlochry last night. The plan was to go and see The Enchanted Forest, a sound and light show in a wood outside town, with friends. The plan didn't go very well, but it was a fun evening out anyway.

anonymouseth and gingiber had tickets for the 7:15 departure, but it was sold out so I got one for the 6:45. This wasn't so bad, as we were free to amble about afterwards and MSG and the estimable Mr B were due on the 6:45 too. I fed Jo and Lan's cat and got away at 4:30 . . . which is when the problem started, obviously. It took half an hour to get to Sighthill and another half hour to the road bridge. I was fairly convinced I wasn't going to make it, but a sign said it was only 30 miles to Perth, and I was fairly sure it was less than 30 from there to Pitlochry . . . I thought I could make it. Just.

I did. Just. A nice drive, but for a long way I knew I had to keep a 60 average to have much chance, which with the rain and traffic and chance of making a wrong turn wasn't certain. I did manage to get into Pitlochry (nice little place, if you've not been there - scenery to die for) with just enough time to find the hotel the buses left from, then what turned out to be the third nearest car park, and run backwith my bootlaces undone, carrying a torch, and hoping that the pay-and-display had already ended. I had about three minutes to spare. No sign of Adele and Iain, though.

There were two buses, mostly full. We'd each been given one of those anoying three-coloured fluorescent bands to wear. This was probably wise - it was raining noticeably by the end of the five-minute trip. The show itself started with a short walk through a wood lit up in the dark. There were a few of what the H&S announcement had termed "traditional strobe effects" - presumably we can now expect to see strobes in folk clubs, then - but it was mostly static lighting until we reached a small loch, where there was a setpiece show with three pieces (movements?) of music, one broadly orchestral in feel, one with vaguely cinematic-folky TV-theme-Clannad tin whistle and then some douche-douche stuff, all with lightshow. Rather nice, too, especially when everything went red. There were some gas flares in the loch which went off during the last part. This took five or ten minutes. We then all walked further round the loch, with lots of other lit sections in various styles. One had lights laid out on a slope in a manner vaguely reminiscent of writing. I wasn't sure if it said "New York" or "Play Wank".

There was another bit with music and moving light - orchestralish, and calmer than before, and then a "spooky" section - well, spooky if you're about five. Personally I'm not scared by projected pictures of cut-out skeletons, but the smoke oozing from the ground, cobwebs and growls from the shadows were quite atmospheric. After that I walked back along the lake and had a chat with one of the stewards, who suggested I watch the first show again from a shelter on a bridge there, which he said gave a better view. And he wasn't wrong. I thought L&S would have been at that show, so I walked back and hung around for them. They didn't turn up, but I got to spend a while admiring everything before watching that show a third time from down by the lakeside opposite the first viewing position, close enough to the burners to feel the heat on my face.

Nobody having turned up, I went back to the pickup point and had an ice-cream waiting for the bus. On getting back into Pitlochry, I found a chip shop and made up for missing dinner, then waited for the next bus to get back to see if anyone would be there. Lo and behold, Lara and Seth got off, so we had some soft drinks in a pub (the Kingfisher Bar) and chatted about it. Iain and Adele hadn't made it because she wasn't feeling well - we may be able to tell them misleading stories before they see it later in the week. AFter failing to get L&S chips (it had closed) we went back to our respective cars.

The moon was half-full and yellow on the western horizon, and when the clouds cleared Orion, the great hunter, was huge in the south. I guess winter's about on us, then.
  • Current Music: Gogol Bordello. Undestructable

I too sat and watched from under that half moon the other night. Watched from a natural warm pool, the confluence of a hot stream and a cold stream. Clouds zooming by on-high making ever changing characters in the sky.

Around the pool I put 4 tea-lights in niches in the bank. The flickering light eminating lighting up the steam rising gently around us. Like dragons in their lairs. We tried to sing, but the songs were spirited away from our minds. It was enchanting and amazingly atmospheric. So beautiful to share.

On the drive back into town, I could see Orion seemingly rising in the east, upside down of course, but summer is coming, if a little haltingly it would seem today. Under a grey col today, like the day is on hold.

Currently playing: Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter - Winter Hunter

Oh, you might be interested in, this.
That's bizarre, and potentially wonderful. I must pass that link on - thanks.

Sounds like a lovely evening. Is Orion less prominent this time of year, in NZ? That would make it a winter constellation in both hemispheres. If you can actually see it, of course. The sun might obscure it instead.
We're going into summer of course and Orion rises clear and high, altho later at night usually. But then, I'm a night owl :)

check out the wonderful open source, Stellarium. (or use Google to find a URL that's working!)
Pitlochry is ideed a wonderful place. My overriding image is of the first time I flew a glider overhead from Aboyne heading for Comrie on a wonderful cool clear NW-ly airflow with the dappled greys and blues of the sky causing the sun to pierce streaks of gold over the green valleys and fish ladders : )
That sounds wonderful. I've been through it on the way to places quite often, but I haven't stopped in the area much before.
Pitlochry is an amazing place. The Enchanted Forest sounds good. I had been hoping to see it this year but its going to be another few weeks before I'm able to get to Pitlochry again :(

Pop into Drummonds resturant next time you're there - they do a brilliant meal and are quite reasonable too.
I'll have to be knocking around earlier, I'd guess, but I'll try to remember that. Cheers.

The forest was good. I went on something vaguely similar last year on Skye. It was interesting comparing the two afterwards.
I'll have to be knocking around earlier, I'd guess, but I'll try to remember that. Cheers.

Not necessarily. They do food till 9pm and then they are open till late for drinks depending on the amount of folk that are there.

The forest was good. I went on something vaguely similar last year on Skye.

I'll need to make a point of going next year. If I'd only bloody learn to drive then it would be such a hassle to go. Skye is another place on my list of places still to see.
Well, it was not long before 9 when I was back . . . but those are good hours. It would have been an option, without all our confusion and delay.

Skye is another place on my list of places still to see.

Skye's great. Really. Just fantastic.