Pitlochry's Wild Space hosts 'Stories of Schiehallion'

A new exhibition from Perthshire based photographer Cat Burton showcases the myths and legends around the popular mountain

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Described as ‘an exhibition of fine art photography inspired by Schiehallion’s nature, history and folklore’, Cat Burton’s vivid imagery is now on the walls of the Trust’s Alan Reece Gallery until 18 October.

Photographer Cat Burton joined the Trust's Schiehallion Land Manager Liz Auty for a well attended launch event on the 4 August, to introduce the themes of the project and thank those that took part.

They also announced a series of walks and talks supported by the John Muir Trust over the duration of the show.

Cat Burton said: “Schiehallion has layer upon layer of human history inscribed upon it. If you come along to one of the events we are organising, you will see a circle hut, cup marks on stones and shieling remains.

“It’s also where contour lines were used as part of the experiments to 'weigh the world'. There is all this history on the site, that we might not realise at first when we walk to the top for the view, but it’s literally at our feet.”

The photographer steps out from behind the camera to appear in her own photographs in costume, to illustrate the mythology of the place whose name derives from the Gaelic, Sìth Chailleann, meaning 'Fairy Hill of the Caledonians'.

“Within the exhibition, there are images of folklore, something dear to my heart. For example, there’s the ‘blue witch’ (the Cailleach Bheur) who was said to roam the hillside, and froze people to death. And Queen Mab, who features in Romeo and Juliet and is reckoned to have presided over the annual clan meetings at Schiehallion.”

Cat Burton Stories Of Schiehallion Exhibition Launch 7

Speaking for the Trust at the launch, Liz Auty (pictured above left) said: “I’m delighted to have worked with Cat and to see the images that have resulted. They emphasise the mystical side to the mountain which many visitors associate with it, and showcase some of the cultural history that we’ve learnt about Schiehallion over the years that the Trust has looked after it.

“We don’t work in isolation and working with Cat as a local photographer is part of that wider partnership work. The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership has cemented our relationships with local landowners, communities and volunteers here in Highland Perthshire, and many of the changes we’ve seen on the site as a result of that work have become more evident since Cat has been making her images.

"In addition to the main photographs on display, Cat has contributed some fantastic shots of our volunteers, without whom we couldn’t do the planting and regeneration work we do.

“For me as a land manager, there’s a huge responsibility that goes with looking after such a special place, somewhere that people value so much. We hope to make it as welcoming as possible, and to that end we’re doing more pathwork this year, including an easier access loop for those who want to enjoy it without scaling the mountain itself.”

More information about Cat Burton's Stories of Schiehallion autumn events, running at Pitlochry and Braes of Foss can be found here

Stories of Schiehallion will run at the Wild Space Visitor Centre every day except Wednesday, 10am-5pm. Find out more about the Trust's work at Schiehallion.

Photos of the launch event by Ian Potter of LightPress Media & Design