Project waymarker is on!
If you are familiar with any part of The Southern Upland Way walking route, then you will instantly recognise the wooden waymarker posts which help to guide you across misty moors and boggy hillsides; some are just plain wood, some have a little yellow hat. When you find yourself a little bit lost, out in the wilds of SW Scotland – especially if you are on your own – then these posts become dear friends.
I am incredibly excited to say that by May 2020, there will be a section of the SUW with about 40 brightly painted posts, each with a unique design. The 9 mile stretch of the route between Sanquhar and Polskeoch/Chalk Memorial Bothy will be the only part of the whole 215 mile hike which will have these special posts and I absolutely can’t wait for them to all be finished and in position. My hope is that these posts will make walkers and ultra runners smile, as well as perhaps giving people another reason to come and do the Southern Upland Way.
This particular stretch of the SUW has a special place in my heart; until this week, the last time I walked these hills was in pitch black and in a slightly disorientated state: https://thescottishdream.com/2019/09/19/the-southern-upland-way-day-6-st-johns-town-of-dalry-sanquhar/. Hopefully, when the posts are all painted up in bright colours, they might help people not to repeat my tale of woe!
After I finished the main part of my bookshelf mural in Polskeoch/Chalk Memorial Bothy (https://thescottishdream.com/2019/09/03/the-bookshelf-in-the-forest/), the D&G SUW ranger, Ross the Ranger, asked me if I would like to paint all the posts which lead from Sanquhar up to the bothy. I agreed before he had finished speaking. And I think it was actually Ross’s idea to find a way to link the designs on the posts with the bothy mural, which gave me the initial inspiration for most of the designs.
As a starting point for the designs, I took inspiration from the patterns of First World War ‘Dazzle ships’, with the hope that these bold, geometric designs would transfer well to the 10cm-wide sides of the posts. I also quite like the fact that these war ships were painted in these jazzy designs with the intention of confusing and disorientating the enemy (Dazzle painting was also called ‘Camouflage painting’), which is pretty much the direct opposite of what I hope to achieve with these same designs.
Each post will include a quote from one of the books which feature in the bothy mural, each with a travelling/adventure theme, along with imagery connected to that book. Finding suitable quotes for all the posts will probably end up taking longer than actually painting them but it is a fun thing to research. I hope it might prove to be a fun game for walkers to try and guess which books the quotes comes from!
Below are a few of my initial designs – lots more to come! Keep an eye out on our Instagram page @rigghousebandb to keep updated with this project, and come and stay at Rigg House B&B if you want to come and see the posts for yourself.