Twelve miles northwest of Lerwick, I leave the car on a shoulder and hike to this hill’s crown. The sun is kind enough to threaten light on the tiny hamlet of Weisdale far below. Shetland is a beautiful skeleton excoriated by the arctic winds, all the flesh – the trees and soil – long turned to dust and blown away. The roads mirror the watery voes that wend their ways like veins through Shetland’s body of islands and skerries. This place stands on the rim of the world – only endless leagues of water and ice run due north.
This is a land between worlds, between Scotland and Norway, between sky and sea, between the mundane and the antemundane. The mythologies of northern Europe abound with tales of otherworlds, and as my adventures exploring Scotland accrue I can’t shake the feeling these lands are dangerously close to those myths. Dangerous only to the darkness that dominates our lives. Like a mouse shivering by a dryer vent in the dead of winter; there is heat, but I can neither see nor understand it. Something rings beneath the uproarious wind, and there is a feeling that can only be described as such. We have lost the words, but there is light on the horizon.