Date: 31st July 2012
It was an interesting concept, going back home to Scotland on ‘holiday’, but one I took full advantage of. It had been about two and a half years since I’d been in the motherland so I was of course missing friends and family. The memories flood back as soon as you step off the plane; there’s a certain taste to the air and a cold, harsh wind that tells you, yes, I’m back!
I had a tight schedule crammed into about two weeks to get around all the people and places I had to see. Of course there was also a lot of square sausage, haggis and tattie scone to be eating so I was a busy man! The photography took a bit of a back seat during the trip, but there was the odd occassion where the camera absolutely had to come out, Glencoe being an obvious one.
For me it was interesting returning to the Scottish landscape with fresh eyes after being in the craggy Southern Alps of New Zealand for so long. The Scottish mountains definitely have a unique feel to them. These mountains are worn and oh so very old. There is a slighly eerie feeling as you stand listening to the wind around your ears and you can’t help but think, ‘if only these hills could talk’.
Anne Marie and I had a bit of an insight into what they might speak of at the tiny museum in Glencoe village where the full story of the Massacre of Glencoe was retold by a very enthusiastic wee, round woman. She nearly choked on her words when Anne Marie confessed to being a Campbell. There’s a sign on the local pub here that reads ‘No Hawkers or Campbells’.
The weather was surprisingly sunny for the majority of the trip (it doesn’t always rain in Scotland!) and we had a stunning day out in and around Stirling, walking to the top of Dumyat for views over the Forth Valley. We couldn’t leave without the obligatory visit to the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, which offer in Anne Marie’s wise words “the same view, just from the other side!”
All in all the trip back home was an incredible one. I’d almost forgotten (dare I say it) that Scotland has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere with such a rich culture and history. Oh, and the pub grub ain’t too shabby either, I think I left about a stone heavier than when I arrived!