highland landscapes, hillwalking, Uncategorized, Uvie Farm

The Nogument

Sarah Justina’s monument disappears below the rocks forming the near horizon at my back, to be replaced by a new one, a Nogument. The dog sits neatly at the highest point, tapering from his hunkered rear to his alert ears. He waits as I play a game of my own: approaching the angled stob braced against a post set as a turner interrupting the fenceline, I step onto it ready to walk up it and over. The frost has melted but the wood holds moisture causing my boot to slip – not today then. On a good dry day I walk up the narrow bar without breaking stride, perch on the flat post-top and jump down the far side. Each time achieved is a small triumph of resolve and fluency. Unwilling to adopt an ungainly scramble over the line wire, I place my stick with my right hand, my left on the post and swing my legs over with my weight on my arms.
The Nog watches this manoeuvre impassively, as if dissociating himself from my antics: he has his own agenda. I stretch the top wires apart and call to him- once- twice, at the third call the stone dog melts and charges down the hill, suddenly recalled to vibrant life. He pauses, gathers and launches between the separated wires, turning immediately on landing to receive the expected congratulations.
Thus primed with a warming glow of joint achievement we step briskly down the hill with early stars starting out while the light wind cools from brilliant white summits.


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