Darkness tumbled down the corries, taking the mountains into treacly blackness, but not before one last gasp of colour that blasted from the unseen setting sun.

Standing there in the fullness of night I began to lose all sense of myself to the place. An enfolding of shadow-time took me down too, so much so that I had cause to wonder how on earth I was going to catch the stories of this place. I didn’t have the words. I’m just me. What do I know!

Dawn by the Loch

A restless sleep ill-prepared me for an early rise but dawn was calling and I needed to find my way into this land to begin the conversations. Right now I had no idea what to say, where to begin, so I set off into the murky Scottish twilight and sat in my own personal cloud of midges on a spongy, saturated lochside waiting for words to come. Waiting for my Muse, or perhaps the Spirits of this powerful place to show up.

It took a while. I’d stumbled into another temporal reality - Mountain Time. As I played with the clouds birthing from the rocky summits I realised that time was indeed of the essence here. Understanding dawned that I needed to catch timescapes, not just landscapes. Slow, fast, forward, backward, above, below, inside, outside. Those were the tools I was being told to employ as I conjured this film together.

As day one wore on I began to sense the messaging of the Mountains that hunkered over me. Power, sovereignty, kingship, queenship, strength, grit, autonomy, toughness, resilience… and that is where my story began. I had to turn my attention to my own power and sovereignty before the place would deign to meet me. Sovereign, Lover, Magician, Warrior - the four archetypes for a balanced persona, and it was time for me to explore my own personal kingliness. Then I could converse as an equal with this hallowed old landscape who’s bones pierced through to the blue of the sky.

Discovering Majesty

It became apparent that I was to catch the scent of Majesty, that’s what the place wanted me to hear and share, and once I’d heard that I began to see absolute, raw power everywhere I looked. From the pounding waterfalls, roaring rivers and inky black lochs, to the austere summits that would kill you as soon as look at you, from the Golden Eagles and Ravens who traced flight lines between the peaks to the Red Deer and Wood Ants who knew how to stand their ground it was all about personal power.

Raven wisdom awaited too. I spent some hours working with a pair who never allowed an approach closer than 500 metres. Thankfully my long lens let me share their intimate moments and even now the piece of film of their bonding sends a shiver up my spine. Little did I know that I had another bone tingling Raven encounter ahead.

Mountain Time

Modern technology enabled me to warp the times of what was in front of me. I slowed down that which happened too rapidly to see, and sped up the hypnotically slow flow of cloud, mist and mountain time. I saw the power in the Buzzard’s wings as she hovered momentarily in front of me and noted how the merest shift of her tail feathers altered her trajectory through space and time. The powerful presence of Golden Eagle graced my lens for a brief few seconds, anchoring this royal being as King of the sky.

Many journeys through gorges, glens and valleys later I became attached to finding a stag. I wanted the archetypal multi-tined Red Deer stag, that emblem of the Scottish Highlands. Perhaps a twelve pointer even! And you know what, the landscape chose to give me this vision early one morning before the sun was up. He was magnificent in his own kingliness. Standing proud, a shaggy mane draped over his shoulders he held his head high and gazed right at me, his crown of antlers dagger sharp. It was only when I looked at the clip afterwards that I realised he was having a poo the whole time I was filming him. So that sequence was resigned to the bin! As I neared the end of my trip I could see I wasn’t going to find my King Stag.

But I did find something else. A pretender to the throne. A young stag, a prince of a Red Deer who was discovering his own kingship and gathering his own harem. He was finding his power, so I watched him intently, keen to be taught by this young guy.

The Mother Pines of Black Wood

Meanwhile, over on the banks of Loch Rannoch the ancient Mother Pines stood sentinel still, towering above the denizens of Black Wood, creating space for the beings there to breathe and weave together the multifarious strands of life that together become Caledonian Forest.

Around my feet a column of Wood Ants surged, alive with larder supplies, urgent with their commissions. I knelt alongside to get to know them and noted how a guard ant was stationed every metre or so along their route, jaws gaping, stinging abdomen flexed forwards, ready to attack any intruders, maintaining the orderly flow of ant power along unseen forest tracks. It was obvious that a group mind was at work here, the line was abuzz with chatter, soundless words, wordless messages that travelled the needle strewn floor like electric impulses through the synapses of my own brain.

I saw a vision where the interconnected ant columns were indeed highways of thought through the mind of Black Wood. The forest was gathering information, she knew I was there, she knew what I wanted and could decide what to do with me.

I’d spent a few days riding high on the power of many fellow beings, tree brothers and sisters, mountain brothers and sisters, bird, ant, deer and water brothers and sisters and from them I got shown the beauty of my own sovereignty. However nothing could prepare me for the final diamond to be delivered by that most famous of Underworld messengers.

Raven Rune

I’d taken myself down a miles long rambling single track road to Glen Etive and then launched off along a stony track that led into the inner depths of nowhere in particular. I sat on a boulder for a while to give the land an opportunity to answer my question, in mountain time of course, when I spotted Raven directly overhead. He circled and spiralled swiftly down to alight on a rock incredibly close to me. He was noticeably larger than any Raven I’d ever seen before and had a lot to say in Raven-tongue.

After a while, many minutes in fact, he hopped closer still and began arranging some grass stems on a boulder next to me, grass stems that he’d collected and cut to length. He chose a stone and added that into his work. By this time he was too close for my camera to focus on him so I just watched somewhat awestruck as he busied about his story that he had to tell. He cawed to me constantly, looking into my eyes, tweaking his design. Then he hopped back to his own rock and soared away on huge blue black pinions.

The design he’d created rocked me. He’d written in the old script of the Norse path and given me what was possibly the final piece of my life jigsaw. Too personal to share, yet one never to ignore, the photo of the Underworld Raven Bindrune will for ever remind me what I’m for.

What a way to end my search for sovereignty in the Scottish Mountains of Majesty, and to be gifted a reminder that Yes, everything is connected and everything communicates in that unspeakable, unknowable universal first language. Just like the synapses of our mind we are hefted to the consciousness of the cosmos.

I've now crafted a film from the clips I caught and invite you to watch it below. It's about 19 minutes long and to enjoy it at it's best turn on your sound and click the full screen button. I'd love to know your thoughts on the film.

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  1. Beautiful as always. Words as well as pictures. Wonderful to see those majestic mountains, you can feel the power. I live close to the sea so to see this landscape is a bonus. You live in a wonderful part of the UK and thank you for sharing.

  2. So beautiful. It made me fall more in love with the Earth and have a desire to be in nature. I loved the two buzzards especially, and the trees at the end felt like the home I wish to be in.

  3. Jason, you truly capture the atmosphere and magnificence of this wonderful area. It has magic woven through it and new perspectives on everyday, familiar sights and sounds. Buzzard was hovering over the house here today, poised and still, just like in the film and it was great to see what the feathers are doing, minutely with a closer view! The ants were fascinating from that ants eye view too!

    Thank you for all your films. They are amazing and the music accompanying them compliments perfectly and enables me to feel as well as see the delicate weave of nature.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts Lynne. I too was amazed by the workings of the hovering Buzzard, the way it's wings powered against the winds and with the slightest angling of her tail she soared away. The music is always an important part for me, it really captures the passion and intensity for me. Of course not everyone likes my music choice but I need to just go with what appears to fit for me. I hear your comment about the music enabling you to 'feel' as well as see, and that for me is what it's all about. Thank you.

  4. Throughout the film my heart was beating with anticipation, excitement awe and you didn't let me down Nicola! Such beauty in everything you filmed. Mother nature can be harsh but also kind. The love you have for Gaia shines through at all times xx thank you for sharing this with us

    1. Hello Mary, I am so delighted you enjoyed the film. Jason is the film maker – I will be sure to let him know your feedback here. It is so kind of you to share your reflections on his latest film 🙂

  5. The footage of the Raven is particularly fascinating as I have only ever seen one at the Tower of London where it cannot behave as it would in the wild.
    I also loved the silhouettes of the birds soaring against the backdrop of the sky.

    1. Thank you Catherine, yes there's something so very special about the Ravens. I too love their silhouettes as they soar across the landscape.

  6. Thank you for your evocative video and loverly music. Sitting with my mum in very caring dementia care home. She’s dying so I’ve played your video to her to listen to whilst she still with us and can appreciate your wonderful craftsmanship- natures blessings to you all my friends

    1. Thank you for sharing this Pat. I'm humbled and honoured that you chose to share this with your mum as she approaches her crossing. May nature hold you and yours as the threshold nears. Holding you in my thoughts.

  7. Captures the timeless quality of the Scottish Highlands, I loved your term "timescape", a sense that everything changes yet ultimately stays the same here. Thank you for your work

    1. Thank you Gabriela, this is kind of you to say. Yes, the flow of time was very obvious to me during my time there and became a 'thing' that I can't really vocalise apart from recognising it as a 'scape'.

  8. I loved the video and found it hauntingly beautiful, the drama of clouds forming different kaleidoscopes revealing what was once obscure now revealed, plunging depths and aspiring heights. My favourite bit was the magnificence of raven. . He was huge and the sound he made was compelling to listen to. I love watching the play on light and shadow playing out their own dramas.. A very inspiring film to watch.. Your creativity is off the scale.

    1. Thank you Jean, this is very kind of you to say. And heartwarming. Yes, Raven was magnificence embodied. I never ever thought I'd be so close to an individual that obviously is not habituated to human company.

    2. Thank you Jean, this is very kind of you to say. And heartwarming. Yes, Raven was magnificence embodied. I never ever thought I'd be so close to an individual that obviously is not habituated to human company.

  9. Brilliant and evocative film. You got some amazing shots in not always easy circumstances to film and keep in focus! I'm a Scot who returned recently to re-connect so I relate to the mountains, the sweeping grandeur and soulfulness of the solitary landscape. It's given me a real boost to get serious about my own filming. Thank you!

    1. Thank you Stewart. Yes it was challenging, especially as I have to compose and focus on the tiny lcd screen on the back of the camera while wielding an ungainly length of lens! With patience and practise we can do this pal. And in some ways it's a valuable service to our community to bring nature's stories home. If you do ever create a film please consider sending me the link.

  10. Thank you, Jason, for sharing your art like this. I particularly loved the parts with only the water, wind or bird sounds. The eagles, the raven and the river tumbling over the rocks….majestic indeed. Nature’s gifts to be lived freely. So nurturing and nourishing.

    1. Thank you Christa, yes the ambiance was quite stunning and added so much to the overall film. I'm pleased you found it nurturing.

  11. Hi Jason. Oh I loved this. The sky at the beginning is amazing. I could see faces in the mountains. The flight of the eagle was breathtaking. Oh I could go on & on. God gave us such beautiful things in nature. For this past week I have a robin coming to feed everyday but it has white feathers in it’s wings & tail. I’ve never seen that before. Thank you for sharing this video Jenny

    1. HI Jenny, thank you for your kind comment. I was honoured to be shown such beauty during my time filming in the mountains. The sunset at the beginning was an unexpected event, I'd simply set up my camera on an overcast evening to shoot a two hour time lapse and never thought the sky would flash red in that way. What an opening into the majesty it gave me.

  12. I cried again watching this today. Followijng your moving blog post, it makes such sense to me.

    I am joyed, Jason, that Raven has given you intimate truths, pieces for the completing of your jigsaw. .And that you soared with Golden Eagle, and are claiming your majesty.

    So glad you sought rest in Scotlland, and found sovereignty.

    Blessings on your work and holy craft.

    1. Dear Kathy thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. Raven did indeed share something so vital with me, in a way that continues to blow my mind whenever I think of it.

      Scotland is such a sovereign place. Thank you for your blessings.

  13. Wonderful and beautiful film Jason,I felt like I was there with you.
    Very peaceful,everything about it was joyful.
    Thank you

  14. Wow, such a beautiful film, to have at hand such modern technology, the drone, quality lenses and a tripod sure did enable such a rich film. Also your patience, intuition, time and considerable editing skills. I think at some point in my life, I shall immerse myself in nature to make such a film.
    Mostly in the past and at present, I film people and events, but I can well imagine the connection to the land, spirit and the creatures you would get, in the time given to make this film. You will have National Geographic snapping you up at this rait, well done.

    1. Thank you Peter, yes my kit is vital in my work, but it is far, far from the best! The camera I use for filming is a simple consumer model and the drone is a little bird sized thing. As you say, it's how we use our kit that matters, but what matters even more is a slowing down to hear the stories the land wants me to share with my clan.
      And National Geographic can snap all they want, along with my other previous editorial clients! I create for my communities now, not to line the pockets of corporations. 🙂

  15. Your photos and writing are always full of interest and beautifully crafted but I think you have excelled yourself with this blog, Jason.

    1. This is kind of you to say Jill, thank you. My experience whilst making this film was quite immersive and I couldn't help but create a good article on the back of what nature gave me in the Scottish mountains.

  16. What a privilege to be there with you. Simply stunning, awesome, moving takes you to another place entirely. Best 20 minutes of my day! Thank you.

  17. Beautiful film, I really enjoyed it. For me the best bits were when you could hear the raven, the water running and the rustling of the trees. Nature sounds as good as it looks, I would have preferred it without the dramatic music in the background.

    1. Thank you Sarah, I'm very pleased you enjoyed it. Sometimes I do indeed give priority to the sounds of nature however on some occasions, such as this one, the beat of the music added another dimension that was vital to the story being told.

  18. Jason, this film is spectacular. Words are inadequate. Magical, mystical, hypnotic, moving and deep. The colours of the sunset, and of Raven, the textures of the trees and plants, the mist and clouds, the plants standing up out of the water… it was other worldly. I felt I was there in the landscape observing in awe and appreciating all of it
    Thank you Jason, this is a real masterpiece.

    1. Jeannie thank you so much for your kind comment. The fact that you felt you were there tells me I did ok. That's precisely how I want my viewers to feel, to be taken by the landscape as I was. Your words are very encouraging.

  19. Grand film Jason, thank you. Came home from a week on the shore of Loch Rannoch last Monday via the Great Glen – your film captures the atmosphere beautifully. X

    1. Thank you Kenn. It's quite a place isn't it and I had to be out in the landscape for a long time to have any chance of doing it justice. As someone who has been there recently I appreciate your thoughts here. x

  20. Love this film the changing colours of the sky and the sheer wildness of the terrain- musical accompaniment magnificent as always – very strong images – Jason you made magic in this film well done

    1. Thank you Jane, your thoughts here are magic for me. You touch all the right triggers to encourage me on my creative path.

  21. OMG Jason this photography is Awesome…never a word I would normally use…probably because Americans use it so often for trivial stuff. Sorry to any Americans out there.
    I don't think I've ever been so moved by the beauty of our planet. It touched me on such a deep level.
    A few years ago I walked the famous Camino de Santiago across northern Spain.
    Id just visited the beautiful cathedral in Leon. A young Australian girl i walked with in conversation asked if a believed in God. Quite a hot topic on the Camino.
    I answered that I never felt any presence of god in any of the many beautiful cathedrals, but up in the mountains, forests and valleys. At the sunrises, incredible sunsets. The milky way in the black skies before dawn….Yes I believed in God.
    Jason your beautiful photography reminded me…Yes, I believe in God.
    Thank you for the reminder.

    1. Barbara yes! The divine however we name it is so evident in these places. I was taken on so many otherworldly journeys during this adventure and was shown my way ahead. I’m so pleased that my imagery served as a reminder for you. If you haven’t already, please do watch the video, that’s where the real power lives.

  22. Wo ! Words fail me. Sheer genius that was. It blew my mind ( in a very good way !). Thanks so much for sharing. It has made my day . xxx

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