Into the Highlands

The Scottish Highlands bear resemblance to no other place on earth; indeed, it is no wonder people describe them as otherwordly, mystical, magical, as though they were a portal to another place and time.

IMG_20170712_220212_008.jpg(Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)

I was lucky enough to see them at two extremes: vividly sunny, the bright green of the meadows playing off the deep blue of the sky, light reflecting off the lakes brilliantly and blindingly…

IMG_20170718_064848_745(Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)

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…and stormy, dark and wild, with clouds whipped in a frenzy and heavy rain thrown by a howling wind.

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Every bend in the motorway that twists through the highlands is littered with views that caught my breath in my throat; the bizarre landscape, with its strange shapes towering over me, completely distorted my sense of space and proportion.

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(Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)

We only had a few hours in Fort William, but we were really there for Ben Nevis. The highest peak in Britain, Ben Nevis is a bucket list item for those who enjoy their walking holidays. A word of caution: summitting Ben Nevis is not for the casual hiker (i.e. me), but there are lesser climbs that deliver beautiful views without the need for a mountain rescue.

IMG_20170720_135415_441.jpgFrom the beginning of the ascent up Ben Nevis (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

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The view of the valley is spectacular (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

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Some locals we met along the hike up Ben Nevis (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

The highlands are a dream for outdoor and history enthusiasts, as they offer a chance to escape the hordes of tourists that swarm Edinburgh and Glasgow. They are, quite literally, a breath of fresh air. Luckily there are many pull-over points along the highway which cuts through them, making it easy to stop and take photos. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, trail-heads (both marked and unmarked) indicate walks which may take you through hills and valleys so empty you feel as if you are the only one there. Bring boots and a pioneering spirit!

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