Many years ago a friend described Scotland as romantic. He wasn’t a walker and I’d never been there. It meant nothing to me. I did however consider history, photographs, and the poetry of Robert Burns the effect of which is certainly romantic. I find Snowdonia, the Lake District, even the nearby Peak District a wonderful escape. There’s so much of contemporary society which I loathe. Some of that is physical and geographic, some of it concerns culture and thinking which I might be subjected to or which I find astoundingly dumb.

Then there’s the hills. The fact that in Britain, Scottish hills are the best. The highest, wildest, sometimes most remote, definitely the most beautiful. I know people who are completely in love with Scotland. They walk there year after year, and never go anywhere else.

If there weren’t insufferable midges in summer and harsh weather in winter, I’d do the same. I might not bother with the Pyrenees and the effort and expense of airports, because Scotland at its best is magnificent. The Pyrenees and plenty of other mountains are higher and more formidable. It is not however challenge which I seek. If I have a superb mountain day – and there are hundreds of them in Scotland – I’m happy to return to a valley in the evening to a comfortable large tent and a decent meal. Or enjoy perhaps several wild camping days, then back to Fort William or Inverness and a drive to find a good curry, or a drive around rainy Skye as I did a few years ago. The adventure continued. The next spring day was sunny and this lovely romance of Scotland was evident, regardless, in the rain.

 

Images Of Scotland: Beinn Alligin Ridge

Wednesday July 4, 2012