• Photography

    Scottish islands: Islay

    The third in my photo-series on Scottish islands focuses on Islay, with a winter sunset seen from Portnahaven.   This little village of white-washed houses sits on the westernmost tip of the Rinns, a long peninsula of rough grassland with rocky outcrops and hidden coves.   On the far horizon is the coast of Ireland – by my reckoning it should be Malin Head in County Donegal. Photo copyright © Colin Woolf

  • Poetry

    Midwinter hope

    It’s been a while (six months, in fact!) since I posted my tribute to Edward Thomas’ Adlestrop, and the season has now rolled around from midsummer to midwinter. I can’t resist the opportunity to publish what is possibly my favourite poem of all time: ‘The Darkling Thrush’ by Thomas Hardy. It paints a vivid picture of a landscape in the icy grip of winter; death and desolation reign, but the gloom is pierced by an unexpected ray of hope. This is something that speaks to all of us as we struggle bleary-eyed on cold dark mornings, and then, a few meagre hours later, watch helplessly as the sun collapses below…