STUNNING SCENE: Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Scotland.
STUNNING SCENE: Rest and Be Thankful Pass, Scotland. Michelle Gately

When beauty stuns you

I'M IN Scotland. I decided I wanted to go to the land of my ancestors, so I went to the misty isles where the veil between heaven and earth is thin.

I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but the call to go was strong.

It's far away. Any of those long plane trips take perseverance and kind of switching off, a going into limbo until it's over. But I finally made it to the Isle of Skye. This is a dramatic landscape.

The mountains race and plunge steeply into ink dark lochs, tiny one-car-wide roads wind their way through the glens.

The landscape that is dotted with tumbledown crofts, Celtic crosses stand in mossy graveyards, and waterfalls tumbling down the hillsides.

Sheep and cattle watch on imperturbably as you drive cautiously past.

Waterfalls. Everywhere an abundance of water (this took a bit of getting used to, coming from drought in Australia).

Here Bonny Prince Charlie made his stop over on his way to raise a Jacobite insurrection and challenge the English overlords.

He was not successful, but Scottish identity runs strong.

The flag flies proudly in loads of places. The series Outlander has caused many a woman to swoon over the possibility of a handsome Scotsman in a kilt coming their way (and hopefully ravishing them).

In the shop I came across a man in a kilt buying his bread and milk, another was getting petrol in the service station. It's a good look.

I stayed near the island of Eilean Ban, once owned by Gavin Maxwell who studied the otter population and wrote Ring of Bright Water.

Now the newly built road bridge to Skye makes landfall there as it hops across the sound to the island. Below the bridge the otters and seals can be seen, if you are patient.

It's an island full of stories and magic. I began to explore.

My travelling companion and I took a boat from Elgol to Loch Koruisk. We passed seals basking in fat insolence and cormorants preening.

The sun came out over the indigo water of the sound. In the distance floated the islands of Rum, Canna, Soay, Muck and Eigg. We got off the boat past Seal Island and climbed a wee way up.

Behind us rugged mountain range named The Cullins soared high and sharp into cool blue sky.

We sat on rocky outcrops and watched water rushing down the slate coloured rock into the sea.

It was a crystalline day and we were stunned into silence.

Eventually we made our way back to our lodgings feeling blissful from a day on the water in a place where the magic of the land and sea is strong.

A nice cup of tea was needed... maybe even a wee dram.


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