A visit to the impressive gardens of the Ardkinglas estate this afternoon happened to coincide with the Cairndow Clay Target Club's first day of shooting in 2017. At first I was frustrated by the sharp bellows and cracks of shotgun fire that rushed through the air, slicing the soundscape and causing a fleeting 10dB increase in the sound pressure level*. However I then considered that maybe the encounter was a stroke of luck. For hundreds of years the sound of shotgun fire has echoed through the mountains of grand estates like Ardkinglas and, to hear the sound today, is a reminder of a time when guns would have been the loudest man-made sound to be heard in such places.
The sound of gunfire may be an unwelcome intrusion, but maybe it is also an important part of the story of man's working relationship with the land. This is in stark contrast to the banausic hum and rumble of the road, a sound which tells only of his transient and passive journeys through it.
* A 10dB increase in sound pressure level results in a doubling of perceived 'loudness'.