Coigach, 1902

Winner of the 2023 Creatives Flash Fiction Contest, kindly supported by Fort William Mountain Festival and the Highland Bookshop.

 

Coigach, 1902

There is suspicion surrounding the business of the two men.

They say they are making maps of the lochs. For science, they say. Now it is the turn of Loch Osgaig.

Donald is paid to row them in straight lines across the water. 50 strokes. Hold. The men lower a weighted wire. Measure. Record. Repeat. 

Donald is a fine rower, knows the loch and its ways. Knows where the brown trout bite. 

On the shore his wife watches. He can see the roundness of her belly, a new curve in the landscape.

At the completion of the science the men show him their map, how the loch deepens to the south-east. 

‘Over 140 feet,’ says one of the men. ‘Quite something.’

‘Aye, well.’  But Donald knows Osgaig is bottomless.

Above, on the slopes of Meall Doire an t-Sidhein, he sees a hawk describing, without science, its own contours.


Lead image by V2osk via Unsplash

Creator’s biography

After many moves between England and Scotland, Sue currently lives in the beautiful Shropshire hills where she takes long walks with Zosia, her inexhaustible labrador. Sue’s work life has been as varied as her homes, ranging from running playgroups to counselling university students, but writing for pleasure has been a strong force throughout, more so now she is retired.

The lived experience, sense of place, landscape and landforms provide the basis for Sue’s writing. She plans to develop further the story of the men who measured the Scottish lochs and the intertwining with the lives of those who dwelt there.