The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘wilderness’ as; an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region. Whilst travelling around Scotland, I encountered both city and country folk who labelled the NW coast as a wilderness. This film and question was born out of a discussion with retired BBC Radio producer Lesley Muir who lives near Achiltibuie. What actually is a wilderness in today’s ever globalised world?
As someone from the city (London), the stark contrast between the built up concrete jungle, and the vast expanse of openness across Scotland, strikes clear that the latter is a rural, remote, dynamic environment. However, is it a wilderness? I agree with ‘uncultivated’ as a base definition for the term, but in today’s ever evolving, every shrinking globe, the definition could be reassessed to represent the convergence of urban and rural.
Google ‘Scottish Wilderness’ and a host of articles, websites, and blogs throw the label around loosely. In this film Lesley questions whether Scotland still has a wilderness, given the modern lack of truly native forests and wildlife. She talks about the absence of top predators to balance the food chain, the lack of a self sustaining biome, and whether if people manage it, is that the closest we can get?
Is the only true wilderness outer space? In today’s NASA fuelled exploration, even that needs a reconsideration…
Film by Maia Krall Fry. Music by Wovoka Gentle. Title animation by Alex Longon. Field assistance from Alexandra Williams. Filmed in Raw on the Canon 5D mk ii (Nikon 50mm 1.4, Lensbaby Muse, Sigma 30mm 1.4, H2N Recorder, Rode microphone, Magic Lantern) on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.