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Charlie Ottley’s Wild Poems

Charlie Ottley – TV presenter, explorer, adventurer, even a poet – is a dear friend of Alladale’s. His wanderings through Alladale’s recovering forests and old-growth woodlands have profoundly impacted his view of nature. Like many others, his mind has been kindled by the open, panoramic vales of Alladale, and so we’re sharing a few relevant poems for your enjoyment.

Alladale portrait

There is a vale called Alladale
Where words and worldy worries fail
Where sound is keen and fleet as feather
The wind that whispers through the heather
The roar and gurgle of the stream
The splash foretold by salmon's gleam
There is a vale at Alladale
Where bothies sit on rafts of shale
Their hearths ablaze, their flagstones warm
A brief respite against the storm
And yet presiding over these
Above the newly planted trees
Below the freshly moistened peat
A place where many journeys meet
A homely house, where we convene
To wear and talk of all things green
Beneath the frame of Georgian gables
Swapping anecdotes and fables
Building bridges to hereafter
Fortified with wine and laughter
There is a vale called Alladale
Where troubles fled and skies were pale
Where friends were made and days unfurled
Towards a brave and verdant world!

The Unfilled Page

Never leave the page unfilled
For life is brief and must be sought
Embraced, and faced and chased and caught
Yes milk each moment lest you find
The future’s all you’ve left behind
So love and shout and share and build
And never leave the page unfilled!

Progress

How surreptitiously it crept
The hedgerows levelled while we slept
The meadows ploughed and sprayed and sown
Machinery secured on loan
And then when vistas stretched immense
They stamped their borders with a fence
Bulbs were ploughed and colours faded
The landscape regiment and graded
Species died, grew undernourished
While monocultures thrived and flourished
The local people sold their farms
Succumbing to the fickle charms
Of cash and cars and new tvs
Instead they opened B&Bs
With dividends and money lent
Built brand new houses of cement
Rejoicing in perceived success
While every moment caring less
And money came, and seeped away
Now no-one wants to come and stay
There's really nothing left to see
The forest just a memory
No alpine hills where colours blazed
"You truly would have been amazed,"
The old man tells them as he shares
Bygone tales of wolves and bears
And haystacks, where they once travailed
Before the land was bought and baled.

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