'Finding A Path' © 2020 Jim Robertson

This is an ongoing project based on Culbin Forest in Moray Scotland. The forest is located some 40 minutes by car from where I live and, as I had developed an interest in intimate landscape photography, I began to explore local forests photographically circa 2014. The mystery surrounding the area and the size and topography of the forest is what really drew me to Culbin. An interest in the landscape photography of Paul Wakefield led me to purchase his beautiful book The Landscape and within I discovered that he had made images in Culbin. His website confirmed this as I discovered more images from Culbin were to be found. I had also previously noticed that Paul had also included images made in Culbin in the book 'Scotland: A Place Of Visions' (Jan Morris, Paul Wakefield Published by Aurum Press 01/10/1986 (1986) ISBN 10: 0948149191 ISBN 13: 9780948149191).

I contacted Paul with some observations and questions I had for him and began my project. Now, if the light is soft preferably, I will often make my way to Culbin and wander the forest in search of compositions.

The forest was established on a huge dune structure known as Culbin sands and is as I say an area surrounded by mystery and intrigue. The book 'The Culbin Sands - A Mystery Unravelled' by Sinclair Ross, ISBN 10: 0906265169 and ISBN 13: 9780906265161, Publisher: University of Aberdeen Centre for Scottish Studies, published in 1992 goes some way in establishing what actually happened there. The Scottish Society For Northern Studies provides us with a link to this pdf version.

For those readers requiring further information on the work of the Forestry Commission in establishing Culbin Forest I would draw your attention to The Culbin Story which is archive footage from 1955. As the introduction informs us "This archive film was made in 1955 - just as the vast task of establishing a forest at Culbin was coming to an end. It tells the story of the people of Culbin being driven from the land by advancing sand and then the mammoth effort by the Forestry Commission to establish the forest we see today". The films are edited by I. Anderson and narrated by J. Urquhart.

Additional information about the history of Culbin forest 1921 - 1951 can be found here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mark Reeve, Planning forester for Moray & Aberdeenshire FD, from Forestry Commission Scotland for providing me with additional information about Culbin Forest.

I would also draw the attention of any potential visitors to the forest, and indeed forests in general, to the Forestry Research publication Lyme Disease.

This is an ongoing project. A live project and I add and cull images regularly. Thank you for looking and please be aware that, although all thumbnails for the images appear in portrait mode, images in landscape mode are also included in this selection. In his book titled 'More Than A Rock' Guy Tal uses the word 'explorations' rather that 'projects'. His point being that a 'project' really requires to be completed for it to be seen as a success! An 'exploration' however is just that. In his words, 'I find ample and sustained reward in merely being engaged in something that interests and fascinates me: a journey that is more important than any preconceived destination'.