The Grampian Mountains, subarctic plateaus and surrounding ancient Caledonian Forest, form the landscape of the Cairngorms, Scotland. When immersed within this wilderness, we explore as guests, met with feelings of intrusion and disregard from nature. Created from the collision of two tectonic plates, molten granite rose to heights above the Alps, later carved by giant glaciers of the ice ages, 22,000 years ago, to form the expansive landscape we see today. The area contains Scots Pines, direct descendants of the ancient Caledonian Forest, originally a temperate rainforest, re-colonised as the final ice age retreated. The name descended from the Romans, Caledonia, meaning ‘wooded heights’, a forest that once covered an expanse of 1.5million hectares. Today, Scotland’s surviving ancient forest has long faced extinction, with only 1% now remaining. As a result of the forests long history of human activity, it has become one of the United Kingdom’s most endangered habitats. A unique ecosystem formed by nature’s adaptations, hanging onto itself in the harshest of climates. Now with a National Park status, the future of the Cairngorms is held in the balance of preservation and regeneration. We have reached a stage where humans are allowing the forest to breath on its own again and to expand naturally, back into its former range. This recognition of the importance of why we need wild in the age of the Anthropocene, will determine the future of the Cairngorms.
Wooded Heights - 2016-Ongoing