too old and dead

April 4, 2020

In Scotland last year while walking through an ancient forest with my husband, we took a shortcut through the wild glen and intended to walk down the bank of the Fillen to Crianlarich. We came to an open space, flat and treeless and full of sun-haze.

As we entered, my husband remarked: ‘I don’t like this place, it’s too old and dead.’ I was about to reply that I felt it only peaceful, but I suddenly had the sensation of depression almost amounting to hopelessness.

What I ‘saw’ was more a feeling as if all about me was snow, under a leaden sky, and behind me there were people and their eyes were without hope.

My husband saw that I was oddly frightened and so we left for Crianlarich. We told them at the hotel that we’d felt spooky at one place in the forest. The late Mr Alistair Stewart said: ‘Oh yes, that would be where a whole village was lost in the snow and they all starved to death.’

We are both Celtic, but neither of us is in the least psychic. One thing I do know is that even if I were chased by Hitler and his grizzly gang, I would not enter that forest again.

O. A. T. S., Surrey
Country Life, letters page 27th February 1942