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Scotland

The View From Here…. (Part Two)

We have just spent a marvellous two weeks on the Isle of Skye (more on this in future posts) and now it is time for the second leg of our month away. This week we are on the Isle of Harris, part of the Outer Hebrides.  It is one of the remotest parts of the UK and perfect for the kind of quiet holiday we prefer. I am looking forward to spending time in such a stunning landscape.

This archipelago has an amazing geological story, with rocks over 3 billion years old, the oldest in the UK, and among the oldest in the world. If you are even vaguely interested in this fascinating subject, you might like to glance through this very informative brochure, produced by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Pictured above is the main view from our cottage. We arrived to a series of amazing rainbows, one after another over the loch. The railings in the photograph look a bit squiffy because I took a ‘pan-shot’ to gather in the double rainbows – you can see the ‘end’ of the left side of the bow dipping in to the water.

And here is the view that we can see from the other side of the property – this is a beautiful bay which we will have fun exploring during the week.

All the Scottish islands we have visited have their own unique ‘personality’. The Isle of Harris feels wise and ancient – a place for calm and contemplation. Lovely. 🙂

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Water Therapy: the Wonderful Orkney Islands

 

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It’s always our self we find in the sea.”
― E.E. Cummings, 100 Selected Poems

To close the circle opened by my last post about our trip to Orkney, I wanted to share with you just a few photos from our visit.  To prove, if indeed it was necessary, that our gorgeous Scottish islands are just the best!

The Orkney Isles archipelago consists of around 70 islands, of which around 20 are inhabited, to a greater or lesser extent.  We were visiting only for a very short trip this time, so we stayed on Orkney itself, in Kirkwall, the largest settlement and administrative centre.

We had glorious weather, as you can see.  This is a view from Kirkwall Harbour across the Bay of Weyland.

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Ah, beautiful Orkney: the irresistible pull of the Scottish Isles

A view of the Orkney Isles from the beautiful walled garden of the Castle of Mey
A view of the Orkney Isles from the beautiful walled garden of the Castle of Mey

This week, Hub and I have been travelling North.  Having already visited Tain (north of Inverness) and Wick (south of John O’Groats), the final leg of our trip has taken us across the Pentland Firth to the breathtaking Orkney Islands.

I have written before about the feeling one gets when on a Scottish island.  As we left the mainland, I realised that I just had to re-post this wonderful video produced by Alistair Corbett, which, with the help of Rachel Field’s mesmerising poem ‘If Once You Have Slept On An Island’, celebrates our wonderful islands.

 

Continue reading “Ah, beautiful Orkney: the irresistible pull of the Scottish Isles”

The Joy of Giving (His ‘n’ Hers Part III)

This weekend, Hub and I got in early with two of our favourite Christmassy things to do.  I was on book duty; Hub was on food…..

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The Blackwells’ Children’s Giving Tree project is a wonderful initiative.  It provides an opportunity for children in difficult or unfortunate circumstances to receive a book of their choice – either one they have specified, or if they prefer, an age-appropriate surprise.  You can read more about it in this super student-paper article.

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A Scottish Journey VI – the final leg of our trip

We found the most wonderful place as the last area to visit on our Scottish tour – the northern headland of Tarbat Peninsular, majestically dominated by the Tarbat Ness Lighthouse.

The lighthouse itself is not open to the public, but there is plenty to see all around.  Here are some highlights for you:

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As you can see, this area is a feast for the eyes: stunning views; interesting geology; beautiful wild flowers.  It is also wonderful for the other senses too:  fresh smelling, clean air; warm, light breezes on one’s skin; and plenty of trilling and warbling bird song.

Of course, I recognise that we were (at last) supremely lucky with the weather for this visit.  There would be no need of a lighthouse if there were never any storms!

How fortunate we are to live within striking distance of such lovely places.  It took us only about  three hours to get home from Tain, back to the busy city of Edinburgh.  It always takes a bit of getting used to other cars on the roads, and people on the pavements.  Edinburgh is a very comfortable size, a very ‘human’ city as one friend puts it.  But it is nevertheless a complete contrast with other parts of Scotland.  It is fabulous to be able to experience both. 🙂

A Scottish Journey V

Ater visiting Wick recently, Hub and I travelled south to the town of Tain which we used as a base for the last part of our trip.  For Hub this was, at last, a break from work, giving him a couple of days for a well-earned rest.

One particular treat for him was a trip to the nearby whisky distillery of Glenmorangie, which nestles in a very beautiful coastal setting.  We had a very interesting tour of the works, with a tasting at the end.  Well, it would have been rude not to buy anything after that….

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A Scottish Journey IV

Following on from my last ‘Scottish Journey’ post, I left you all with a glimpse of the North East Scottish fishing town of Wick incorporating the historic town of Pulteney.

I had a couple of hours to explore this interesting area while Hub was working.

I love looking around harbours, with all the different boats, birds and coastal sights.  Wick provided plenty of all these things.  Here is a taster:

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Continue reading “A Scottish Journey IV”

A Scottish Journey III

The journey across the Highlands of Scotland is breathtaking.  You may know from my last post that Hub and I travelled last week from the port of Ullapool on the west mainland to the north east town of Wick, a former Viking settlement and once a very busy fishing port.

Here are some images of this leg of our trip, once again taken from the car:

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As you can see, the landscape is stunningly beautiful – a feast for the eyes wherever one looks.

As with our previous stops, we had only a short time in Wick, but it was long enough for me to have a good look around while Hub was in a meeting.  I have tons of photos so will devote a single post to this lovely area in my next ‘Scottish Journey’ post.  In the meantime, here is a taster of things to come.  This shot was taken from a headland to which one could walk, looking back on the town of Wick and its lovely harbour:

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