Infographic illustrating aspects of the poem Kinloch Ainort

Kinloch (which essentially translates as head of the loch) Ainort is on the Isle of Skye. It lies to the south of the Isle of Rasaay, where MacLean was born and raised. Kinloch translates as head of the loch.

Kinloch, Isle of Skye
Kinloch, Isle of Skye

Like much of MacLean’s work, the poem is rooted in place and packed with vivid descriptions of the dramatic surroundings of the Western Highlands.

Kinloch Ainort is from an early period of MacLean's literary career, written between 1932 and 1940. It is a poem, packed with nouns and adjectives. These come together to create a tapestry of landscape: there are moments when the surroundings are dramatic, points when they are dangerous and sections when they are beautiful. They are always, however, full of potential.