The cloud is low today – swabbing the upper slopes of Creag Dubh with white fibrous vapour –  no sky to watch. We are earthbound, ready to cast a concrete floor enveloping the compressed dung of the last decade, high density foam insulation board and interlocking steel mesh in a small tidal bore of lumpy grey. The wind strengthens around the building  but we are head-down shovelling  the synthetic lava into the corners. The mixer wagon was late but done with by 2 pm. Chris will move back to Glasgow now. This was his last task after 18 months on the farm: the hardening floor marks a fittingly tangible culmination.

The clouds are breaking as I drive into Kingussie to return  hire equipment, angry red openings cut into grey fabric over Creag Dubh. The summit is visible now, lurid in the light fading before a coming storm. A solitary white bull faces squarely into the wind in marshy pastures below the road.


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