Scotland Blog 2012

Following the Light: A Sunset Drive in the Northern Highlands, Scotland

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Syre, Following the Light
Leaving Brora, I drove along the coast on the A9 to Helmsdale. Celtic music playing: “Amazing Grace” with bagpipes. Turned left through town and finally free on a single track road, with passing places. Following the River Helmsdale on the A897. Wide open spaces here with an occasional ancient croft house in ruins. Into Kinbrace and that impossibly sharp left turn into this tiny outpost. And the world opens up even more. The heather and empty moorlands spread into the distant hills. A favorite shot to the left of peat bogs being cut, a structure with trees to frame the view. Sheep everywhere in the road, owning it. Loch Badenloch stretches far and wide and smooth today.

And then I come over the hill to Syre and the B873…and the shot of the day. Sunlight across the tiny village from the left illuminating houses, but not the white, red-roofed chapel just outside town. Sun creates mist in the hills, rising to the brilliantly white clouds.

Heaven. I stay for minutes! “Highland Cathedral” plays from my CD. Perfect. But the GPS says I’ll not be home until 9, and I don’t want to be out here in the dark with deer and a single track road.

So I pull myself away and pick up the pace. Charging along the River Naver which becomes Loch Naver, running for miles as clouds collect in the hills and mountains left, becoming pink with the passion of this time and place. Drama surrounds me. I have to stop for pink, for light, but won’t let myself stop for waterfalls or old remembered haunts. Finally reality returns as I enter Altnaharra, left turning onto the A836. Clear cut woods, a sadness, but the economy. But when the fields open up just before Lairg, the sky burns red, furious as I at the loss of this incredible day.

Home is easy now…A839 into the Mound and Loch Fleet. Home is just around the corner. Dornoch. With dreams of the Highlands to last forever.

I know this is a terribly romantic journey, but one I wanted to remember. I plan to make a movie of the shots I took—along with “Highland Cathedral”. Will let you know! Thanks for riding along.