WHEN BRIAN ENO and David Byrne played "found objects" as instruments on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, they were simply the latest to explore the artistic potential of everyday items being used in an extraordinary way. And, while not claiming any such avant-gardism, a decade on, TAC began recording objects found on the hill - in particular the curious and offbeat, the unlikely and incongruous, the unusual, bizarre and out-of-context.
Of course, in many of the instances, any strange juxtaposition exists purely by chance - Warbeck's walking poles beneath Ben Donich (see TAC67 p19) and our binoculars on the slopes of Creag Ghuanach are only there because in each case their owner put them down and forgot to pick them up. However, with others, the artistic analogy is valid. A bed carried up Ben Nevis and discarded, as if by some upwardly mobile Tracy Emin, is done so for a reason - even though, as so often, the artist's intention and the reaction of the viewer don't always accord.
But neither forgetfulness nor conscious placement (nor even unconscious placement, aka littering) can easily explain what is to be found on Caisteal na Caillich, the north top of Conachcraig. No tracks lead to the spot, which lies 200 metres above, and almost one kilometre from, the main Muick-Balmoral route. The surrounding vegetation remains undisturbed. Yet, just beneath the summit tor, there is a pile of seven tyres and two inner tubes - some so new that you would gladly fit them on your car.
The "How did they get there" part is relatively straightforward - dropped from the air or dumped when there was snow cover, surely; but the "Why?" part isn't so simple. Whichever way you look at it, there are easier places to get rid of a cumbersome load of tyres. So what's going on? Leftovers from a Pirelli photoshoot? Cast-offs from some aspiring polar explorer tired of dragging them about? Handily placed spares for the users of the high-level Cairngorms road-and-rail system experienced by Jacqueline Greaves? Who knows?
More to the point, what's going to happen to them now, given that nobody is likely to cry mea culpa and take responsibility for their removal? It's one thing to carry off somebody else's drink carton, but this would require a major operation. Is it too much to hope that the residents of Womblehill at NJ780138 can be tempted from the vicinity of the real Tyrebagger Hill (just west of Aberdeen airport) to risk the lengthy overground, or even underground, journey to clear them up?
TAC 72 Index