Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Hill Chasing

by Alisdair Hodgson

I had never chased a hill like that
before the stepped peaks of Cruach nam Fiadh.
Each summit sought and claimed
gave rise to another, that little bit higher,
invisible from below.
It was not till I stood atop the tump’s topmost boulder,
bold enough to balance upon its edge,
sighting the recumbent giant of Jura asleep amongst the waves,
weathering the lash of the winds
blown in from the Atlantic like Gulf Stream sailors;
and it was not till I paused and saw
the lines of straw-coloured coast hugging this hooked segment of sea,
and horizons beyond the bronzed, yet-to-spring, heather-tufted hills
that I knew I had reached the crest —
the crest I sought but could not have known
until the few feet before it was found.
The modest precipice of this hill huddled me in silence and,
for a few lingering moments, I was taller than mountains:
I was the summit.