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Gill Russell

Lorg-Coise: Footprints


'lorg-coise': Gaelic for footprint, literally means 'a finding of foot.’
John Stuart-Murray, Reading the Gaelic Landscape
Mapping an ancient landscape for a contemporary audience

Gill Russell is an artist based in Glenkindie, the heartland of the Hielan' Ways area. She worked with us throughout the year of 2014. 

The Hielan' Ways region rests between the heartlands of Aberdeenshire and Moray to the north, and the Cairngorm mountains and Ladder hills to the south. Here landscape and ecology is dominated by two vast shooting estates, Cabrach and Glenbuchat. Although largely unexplored as a destination for outdoor pursuits, it contains areas of hidden beauty, stark wilderness and historical significance, which were once traversed by a web of ancient footpaths and tracks, now many of them gone. Can the practice of walking, the finding of foot, open up these routes once again, reconnecting the now with a lost, ancient landscape?


Gill brought the Hielan' Ways project(s) together by mapping the area, through the practice of what she has come to call, 'lorg-coise' (Gaelic), which John Stuart-Murray translates the finding of foot–that is, by walking widely, and often slowly, throughout the area, identifying sites and landforms of significance. 

Gill created a series of walks (or invitations to walk), some of which follow existing paths in the area, others are new and imagined routes of her own, following the features of the land, sometimes visible, others hidden; and also developed walks in collaboration with Alec Finlay, Ron Brander, Paul Anderson, and Simone Kenyon, connecting their thoughts with the landscape. Her approach focused on the intersections of the human walker and the landscape, the watercourses, paths, and fords, and related these to other 'significant' places to produce thematic walks that explore the archaeological, mythological, historical, sonic, poetic, ancient and contemporary aspects of the Hielan' Ways area.

Gill also walked and researched some of Alec Finlay's colour places, as walks, views, or alignments, as tributaries to the more usual tracks; and worked on some of the significant unexplored routes, such as the Coffin Road from Chapeltown in Glenkindie and the 'Picts Road': Rhynie Basin to Glacks of Balloch. 

Find out more about Gill Russell and her work on her blog
For more Hielan Ways projects click here.


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