Photo 4028 Sunset over Loch Ewe and Isle of Ewe, Wester Ross

Roadside Directions

It was clear to me that the above sign was created by someone keen to ensure that passers-by should take note of its guidance, that they would change the direction of their life and that they would do it by following the religious commandments so clearly set out. When I first saw these directions it was just a few years after a major change of direction in my own life. I have long thought about writing a story about this sign and have now decided to combine it with the part of my story that eventually led me to my encounter with the sign.

I should make clear that I am not at all religious, however I was struck by this concept of roadside directions especially as in the immediately preceding years I had been forced by circumstances to make painful and major changes to the direction of my own life.

I lived in Wester Ross in a small village called Laide, by the shores of Gruinard Bay, for over 23 years. I fell in love with the area from the first time while on holiday in 1989, being immediately struck by the spectacular views over Gruinard Bay to the mountains of Wester Ross and Sutherland.  I would have loved to live there at the time but had no plans to move due to work commitments, but neither had I any idea the direction my life was going to take within just three years. Before eventually arriving to live in Wester Ross in 1993 I had spent the previous 25 years working in Scotland's central belt, mainly in areas near to Glasgow, designing and writing software, and latterly managing such development.

Despite being technically gifted at working with software, several years of senior management, a task I was never cut out for, eventually took a toll on my health. My ambition had led me in the wrong direction and now I was to pay the price with severe depression. Then my only positive thought was that the only place I had known peace in the previous few years was while on holiday in the North-west Highlands. I had enough money to buy a house there and how I was to live after that was not even a consideration. I just wanted peace and solitude.

So I sold up, moved, and for the next two years the medical professionals in Wester Ross and Inverness patiently repaired me and my thinking. They became my 'roadside directions'.

The main question then was, what do I do now? I had always been keen on landscape photography but making a living from that in a remote place was very likely to be precarious! Based on the number of artists in the area I decided it would be more viable to start a picture-framing business and offer a service to the public, artists, galleries and other outlets. I could make sales of landscape photography part of the picture-framing business. I had no idea how to do picture framing but I researched the picture-framing industry, avidly read all the technical and conservation guidance I could find, and of course, learned by the best way, making mistakes! I presented my ideas to Scottish Enterprise, was allocated a business counsellor, got advice, and off I went!

Two years later I was surprised and relieved to find there was a lot of picture framing to do in Wester Ross, especially needle works by ladies (and men too) who seemed to create endless amounts of them! Gradually more work came my way from artists and art outlets needing a framing service. To that I added my own landscape photographs, selling them as greeting cards, mounted and framed photographs. So every now and again I would escape from the framing bench to go and explore Wester Ross, usually at some unearthly hour to catch good light. I loved that I worked on my own, that the work was both creative and technical, and that I was free of managing anyone else, only myself!

One day, when exploring the western shore of Loch Ewe, I came across the above sign by the roadside just before Midtown and it immediately struck me as unique. I got out of my car, took some photos (on 25ASA film) and drove off wondering who had made the sign - was it the work of a local church, perhaps the Free Church, and how long had it been there?

At the time I never really got clear answers to these questions. Many people didn't know, others said it was made by a local person, and one person told me it had been thrown into Loch Ewe by someone who objected to it, but that it had been retrieved and re-erected.

Anyway, the years passed, and about 14 years after the photo had been taken, the sign was no longer there, but the person who made it saw my photo somewhere and was delighted that someone had made a record of it. By now the maker was elderly and in a care home so I printed the photo and made some greetings cards for them. In return I received a lovely thank you note. Then I was very glad that I had decided all these years ago to stop and take a photo of the Roadside Directions sign. It had made that elderly person very happy that someone had bothered to made a record of their work.

Below I have included a closer view of the sign that you may be able to read. There is also a complete text copy of it in case your screen is too small to read the text.

Photo 178 Roadside Directions, Wester Ross, Scotland


"Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested on the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it" EXO 20. 8.-11.

"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it" ISA 58 13-14

"Fear GOD, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

For GOD shall bring every work into judgement with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil" ECC. 12. 13-14. "

For GOD so loved the world that he gave his only begotten SON, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" John 3. 16. See John 33, 1st EP. Peter 1.23 A.V.

"And in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments" Lu. 16.23. " If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead" Lu. 16. 31.

Time A.D "and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Luke 23. 56. 

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In