The Cailleach: goddess of the weather, creator of Scotland and maker of mountains.
As one of the selected artists for the Glasgow Life GUIR programme, I explore, in collaboration with Gaelic singer Gillebride MacMillan, the role of The Cailleach as weather goddess, with reference to the climate crisis and COP26. The project questions how respect for traditional knowledge and engagement with wilderness can inform action to the climate crisis being addressed by COP26. In the film title, 'Aonachadh' means a ‘coming together’, as in people gathering, or two faces of a mountain meeting to form a ridge line. In this spirit, I reflect on how weather combines with Gaelic mythology and research The Cailleach in place names in Scotland, and the Gaelic stories that generated those names.
Muigh san Aonach - Out in the Mountains is one outcome of the GUIR residency and incorporates the song, Craobh an Teaghlaich, composed and sung by Gillebride MacMillan (starting just after the short introductory text). It was shown in July 2021 at UEFA Euros 2020, and at Dunbar Townhouse Museum and Gallery in September and October 2021 as part of the John Muir Message to the Earth.
The theme is being further developed for Glasgow University's Dear Green Bothy online event in October 2021, where new work will be presented alongside a new song by Gillebride MacMillan, written during the GUIR residency, and a short lecture by Dr Alasdair Whyte.
Link to my related article published in the John Muir Trust Wild and Well Repository here