Scotland: An Untouched Landscape

Nowhere holds as tight a grip on my heart as Scotland. Perhaps not unusually, I never fully realised this until I'd left home to wander the world a little, and felt its grasp. Each time I return, I discover the landscape anew and find my love for it has deepened. Nowhere is this more tangible than on the top of a hill somewhere, overlooking great glens or beholding scattered islands from the peak of a munro.

My sense of Scottishness is firstly a sense of place - a feeling of belonging quite apart from notions of people or politics. It is a love borne out of breathing the air and wandering the hills. Of holidays spent combing beaches, swimming in fresh waters and diving into the bracing chill of a loch. It's the feeling that takes hold as I gaze open-mouthed and dreamily at sunsets silhouetting great mountainsides into obscurity.

It's being home roaming among the rolling hills of the borders, or the sea air deep in my lungs and blowing through my hair on coastal shores. It's the blood that courses through my veins as Jura's majestic Paps come into view, my weary legs cycling me home after a dram or two at one of Islay's many distilleries.

Maybe still it's the memories of summer days spent digging holes in the sand on Portobello beach. And then there's Mull's rugged auburn hills and the curves and waves of Oban's coast. There's the Tyrian purple heather of the highlands, and the pastel-yellow sands of Hebridean shores too.

These pictures go some way to tell a little story of my love, one rooted in the magnificent splendour of Scotland's nature. Hers is a beauty so unconquered and unspoiled - and one to which all others pale.

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The North Coast 500, Scotland