The weatherman said it would be a fine day. I should have known better, having spent time here as a postgrad many years ago. It is mid-morning and a swathe of gray clouds are hovering ominously over the mountains, brown-black and smudgy like watecolor. The early morning drizzle has stopped, but the scent of rain still lingers in the air. For now, the sun is peeking over a sliver of clouds, its rays spreading like a cone over the hillside and the placid loch. The clouds sweep by and the light changes, a moment of joyful drama in a brooding landscape. Suddenly, a flash of auburn: I see a red deer, staring wide-eyed across the moor peppered with purple heather. Then it is gone.
It’s the end of spring, and I’m in the Scottish Highlands on the way to the Isle of Sky. The Highlands are Britain’s last true wilderness, nature on a grand scale. Covering the whole of northern Scotland including the Western Isles, and remote Ornkey and Shetland islands in the North Sea, the vastness and solitude of the landscape is overpowering. Yet, it is monumentally beautiful, a place that touches your soul.
In the face of such grandeur, words are frivolous and we turn to pictures.
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove. The hills of the Highlands, forever I love.