Walking the Rose Path with John of the Mountains
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
John Muir, 1911
etting out for a sliver of the John Muir Way last weekend, we wanted to get the most out of our short day, so we took our bikes. Snacks from our favourite local cafe in tow, we set off riding from a gloomy Edinburgh towards what turned out to be a bright and heady summer day by the time we reached Seaton Sands. The route is spectacular, and in the section we covered, entirely coastal (section 8 to just past section 9 if you’re counting).
As we were reaching our point of return, on the landside of the dunes and on a narrow sandy path flanked by deep hedgerows, the ocean obscured from sight, though audible, we dismounted and pushed our bikes over the embankment. The sea was rolling in, onto sands which glowed gold in the afternoon sun. Among the tough seaside grasses I could hear the crickets chirruping and the ticking sound of mature Gorse and Broom seed pods popping open. On the warm breeze I could detect the strong yet delicate scent of Dog-Rose in bloom coupled with the faint hint of a campfire.
The Dog-Rose, Rosa canina, or Wild Rose is a native plant that flowers during the summer months, advertising its nectar to pollinators with a scent that has imprinted itself onto my mind as the signature scent of summer afternoons. The petals fall and the fruit swells into the ruby-like Rose Hips by Autumn, and as the leaves disappear they are easy picking for foragers. I have made a note to return for them when the season changes.
In the meantime, I am still enjoying Menteath Wild Path Toning Body Oil as part of my daily skin care routine, the Organic Rose Otto essential oil is the standout scent for me in this blend. It is a great match for my skin in the summer, the body oil is absorbed by my skin almost instantly, yet the scent gently lingers. I have rarely passed a rose without stopping to smell its perfume, and I feel utterly cheated if it is absent. The sense of smell is strongly linked with memory, I know scents that will whisk me away to another time. We all have individual associations, and the smell of the Rose takes me to warm summer afternoons, to rifling through my older sister's draws, full of beautiful things and scented with rose petals, as I stole her clothes as a teenager.
The Organic Rose Otto essential oil in Wild Path has its own story too. The extraction method for Rose Otto is difficult, it is steam distilled from the petals, as opposed to solvent extracted, like Rose Absolute, and therefore yields a different product. The blooms are picked by hand at dawn, when they are full of fragrance, before the sun starts to evaporate the volatile oils. It takes 1200 roses to make 1ml of Rose Otto essential oil, making it an extremely valuable product. The fact that it is so valuable makes it a viable alternative for farmers transitioning from Opium Poppy production in Afghanistan, the country of origin for the Organic Rose Otto essential oil in Menteath Wild Path Body Oil.