Apr. 13th, 2015

akienm: (Default)
I remember driving up the east coast of Scotland, visiting one small town after another. We would check in to a room with no idea where we would stop next. But by next morning, we'd have worked something out and be on our way. It was one of the less structured trips we took, and it was pretty relaxed.

I remember all the little inns and B&Bs we stayed in, and how friendly the people were. I remember noticing how these buildings we so much older than anything I was used to, and how they'd been modified to suit various needs over the centuries.

I remember going around a particularly green curve in the road and coming across a construction sign that said "Heavy Plant Crossing". We laughed about Ents wandering the Scottish landscape.

I remember running across the stone age Carn Liath Broch between Golspie and Brora, along the coast. I remember walking around in there, reading the signs about the place, looking over the top of the wall to the sea. I remember trying to piece together the information on the signs and what we were looking at. How did they use this space? Off to the south we could see Dunrobin Castle, and the sort of bell shaped roof to the clock tower. https://www.google.com/maps/place/A99,+Wick,+Highland+KW1,+UK/@57.987616,-3.912333,3a,75y,173h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sBlteKpA2UPidKOSt6kxfcA!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x489ad1c932122449:0xb711d561bf63dcfa

I remember the Caithness cheese farms, where we got to sample locally made cheeses. It was some of the best cheese I'd ever had.

I remember it was green and forested, then around Caithness it opened up. Vast fields that once grazed sheep, and killed the dreams of so many croft holders. Their empty stone cottages, open to the sky, and littering the landscape with the reminders of the folly of chasing money at the expense of others. I remember we asked about the statue on the hill, and being told about George Leveson-Gower, who's statue sits atop Ben Bhraggie, and who was responsible for evicting all the tenant farmers because sheep might be more profitable.

I remember the enormous fields of heather, which were just past their peak and had faded to a grey/brown with purple overtones. And brilliant yellow creeping buttercup, which hadn't quite turned yet. I remember a field of "standing stones" that were very small, but clearly had been there a very, very long time.

I remember the small towns we stopped at along the way, as we headed toward Wicks. How they all closed up by 5.

These are very pleasant memories.

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Akien MacIain

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