It’s been three years since I last visited Cathy Vathiany’s (zaziaa) ever-evolving region design Lost Dreams (which started life as Les Reves Perdus (“Dreams Lost”), which has itself hopped around the grid a few times. So when I learned it had re-opened in a new location and with a new design in November 2021, I added it to my list of places to visit – although after initially dropping in in December, I had a couple of issues getting back to it in order to take photos.
Cathy has always had an eye for engaging, rural-themed region settings; places where Nature tends to stake a centre seat and where there is always a richness of detail waiting to be found and appreciated. Sometimes these looks have had a distinctly European / North American lean, although it has also taken us to the orient and to Scandinavia. With this iteration, we slip to somewhere that presents something of a sense of both Arctic and Antarctic climes.
The current Lost Dreams might be mentally split into five areas: three on the main landmass, and the remaining two formed by a pair of outrigger islands. One of the latter is where the landing point can be found, a rocky plug of an island to the west of the region. Small, and dominated by two large trees, this island at first appears to offer little beyond the landing point itself. However, below the cliffs, a stone outthrust heavy with fallen snow has been taken over by penguins that lend that suggestion of the southern hemisphere to the region.
A bridge sitting upon high stilts connects the landing point’s island with the largest landmass in the region: a large, rugged space that can, as noted, be mentally / visually split into three. First, there are the rugged westerlands, sitting on the far side of the bridge, a hulking shoulder of rock splitting the path from the bridge into two. The left branch descends downwards close to the cold-looking waters of the bay in which the landing point island sits, passing through a narrow defile before rising once more to the uplands of the island.
The second arm of the path twists around the rocky shoulder to reach a second bridge spanning a smaller cove formed by the outflow from waterfalls that mark the terminus of a fast-flowing stream. Here the path splits again, one arm twisting by to descend the down to the shingle shoreline that huddles around the feet of sheer curtain wall cliffs.
The other arm of the path passes across the second bridge before winding upwards, and doubling back on itself as it reaches the bank of the stream, itself fed from a further set of falls that drop from the highest peaks in the region. Crossing this is possible by way of a pair of tree trunks trimmed into a rough bridge to re-join the path rising up through the defile mentioned above.
Once joined, the path lead up to the centre part of this large island and a large stone lodge sitting on an outstretched table of rock that is home to a skating rink, a children’s play area, a carousel and other outdoor points of interest. It is here that a more northern hemisphere aspect to the setting can be found in the form of deer wandering the grounds.
Paths wind around the grounds here, with one curling back down to the low-lying eastern end of the land, and the rest of the main landmass. This is home to a a cosy hideaway and, a little further away, a little folly. from here, a final bridge – this one made of stone – reaches the final aspect to the setting: a small, low island that is home to a pool of water and a little camp site.
Such is the nature and aspect of this little island, that is it possible to image that once upon a time it many have formed a headland reaching outwards from the rest of the main island, but time and tide have intervened, creating a channel of cold water to separate the two and necessitate the stone bridge.
Within all of this, there are lots of additional elements and details: water birds stand along the coastal areas, there are outdoor sit points and places to dance awaiting discovery, and further wildlife give the setting additional depth, as does the local soundscape. All of which leaves us with another thoroughly engaging place to explore and photograph and not to be missed before a seasonal change comes along!
- Lost Dreams (Lagoona, rated Adult)