Glens of the West…Gordon (Scottie) Keith

This event was billed as ‘A Picture Journey’. It proved to be so much more. This was due to a mix of Scottie’s obvious love of the natural world, his eye and skill as a photographer and his outstanding power point presentation using a mix of fade and transition shots. The outcome was a seamless presentation accompanied by appropriate music. The technical wizardry was clearly beyond most of us, judging by the appreciative comments.

We started with Glen Mooar with a dazzling array of light, shade, form and colour as we proceeded through not just the glen but also the seasons. The wide screen at the Centenary Centre gave us the impression of actually being in the picture, getting our feet wet and muddy, feeling the spray of waterfalls on our faces. Well, this was the illusion but I suppose that appropriately mounted jets will do the job in the not too distant future.

Swathes of Bluebells alternated with detailed close-ups were especially welcome as we emerge from a harsh winter.

The detailed shots of a wide variety of fungi, moss and lichens were particularly interesting and very beautiful.

After refreshments, Sam Knight paid a tribute to the late Harrison Quirk, an invaluable member of the Trust since its inception with years of service on the committee. His packed funeral service earlier in the week was a testimony to the love and affection that endeared him to us all.

As a special memorial, we were shown a tremendous DVD made by Manx National Heritage of the Peel Home Guard from WW2. It was composed of photo’s belonging to Harrison, only in his teens, at the start, as he gazed at us proudly, in the familiar uniform. It was moving hearing his voice as the presenter. The accompanying music from Dad’s Army added to the atmosphere.

The Home Guard was first entitled the Local Defence Volunteers or LDV. This earned the nickname of Look, Duck and Vanish, the title given to this remarkable film. Harrison’s passing emphasises the need to record as much as we can of the older generation and their, (our), memories! Luckily, we are building up a series of recorded interviews but it should be a full-time job to capture the past at first hand.

We then returned to the billed programme only in Glen Helen – once again, a delight. The audience watched in appreciative silence before a great burst of applause at the end.

We have a bonus meeting on 7th April to a secret defence bunker. Meet at Barford’s Engineering at 6.30pm. It’s only a short walk over the fields but wear stout shoes and appropriate clothing for coping with a vertical, metal ladder! Our next indoor meeting is at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th April. Michael Hoy MBE will give us a presentation on King William’s College.

I‘m sorry to have to omit the February AGM. Perhaps enough to say that the new programme and membership cards will soon be with you and that we continue to thrive!