Scotland: An Untouched Landscape

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