MERZ artist in residence Olivia Irvine was in Sanquhar during March. In her local explorations to paint and draw she visited the celebrated ‘faerie dell’ at Pamphy Linns many times. The Kirkconnel poet Alexander Anderson wrote in ‘A Walk to Pamphy Linns’:-
We reach’d a belt of wood at last,
And with a lusty cheer
I cried, “Now all our toil is past,
For Pamphy linns are here.”
We took the shaded path that led
To the turf-clad foot-bridge,
Then struck into the streamlet’s bed,
And held along its edge.
We reach’d the falls, and, looking round,
On either side were trees,
And at our feet the hurrying sound
Of water ill at ease.
Huge rocks with moss half-cover’d dipt
Or in the stream reclined,
As if they once had partly stript
To bathe, but changed their mind.
O’er these the water foam’d and splash’d
In many a whirl and turn,
Or from moss’d outlets peep’d and dash’d
To kiss a wander’d fern.
We clomb the highest peak of rock,
And, halting there to breathe,
Heard with continual splash and shock
The water run beneath.
Then, rising, down the fretted steep
To reach the base below
We struggled, careful heed to keep,
As Alpine hunters go.
We reach’d the foot, and found a rest
Beneath the trees’ sweet shade,
Where Nature for her woodland guest
A flower-deck’d seat had made.
The tall pine woods that surround Pamphy Linns have given the place a special quality, almost a micro-climate that encourages verdant hanging ferns and moss as well as a stillness and sense of other-worldly solitude. Sadly, the trees are scheduled for harvesting this Summer. Pamphy Linns will be diminished with its mystery and cover stripped away and Sanquhar and Kirkconnel will have lost a wonderful hidden gem. Here Olivia Irvine has captured something of the awe and magic of Pamphy Linns in Spring.