November 2016

Driven east from Perthshire across farmlands, chasing rainbows cartwheeling over the foothills, I turned north, alone, upon Old Jock’s Road. The Angus Glens cleave deep into the Cairngorms Mountains as if rent by Fenrir howling toward imprisonment, and it seems all roads end in Glen Clova where the turgid clouds tear themselves on the icy crowns of Driesh, Mayar, and Ben Tirran. They spill themselves upon the wild wind running circles upon the mountain slopes. A pack of gusts rip the sky, revealing heaven’s blue viscera, and a blade of light carves the hollow beneath the gods of ice.

When will they speak again?

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Corriness House, Poolewe, Wester Ross, Scotland

The beauty of Wester Ross cannot be shackled by language. It must be viewed. And in that great Scottish wilderness of mountain and sea loch you gather a sense of what the most northerly parts of this island must have looked like in days of yore. There is much to explore here, many narrow roads to follow, empty beaches to kick across, and heather-shrouded hills to ascend. All you need is some time and a decent base from which to venture out. The towns of Gairloch and Poolewe serve admirably in this regard. I spent a pair of nights at the homey Corriness House on the edge of Poolewe this past summer, and it was a great location from which to explore the heart of Wester Ross. Read more...

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On the Wester Ross Coastal Trail

The North Coast 500 is a marketing initiative that invites visitors to explore Scotland’s northern highlands from behind the wheel. It is a massive, 516-mile scenic ramble along the coasts of the northern highlands, including Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and Easter Ross. I was instantly sold. I’ve long known that driving is the best way to ensure a magnificent trip to Scotland. A vehicle gives you the flexibility and serendipity to travel at your own pace and find those unexpected places that will remain golden in your memory long after you’ve returned home. There were many beautiful drives along the North Coast 500, and one of my favorites is the heart of the Wester Ross Coastal Trail from Gairloch to Corrieshalloch Gorge. Read more...

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The Pass of Killiecrankie in the morning mist

I have just returned home from a week touring around Perthshire by the invitation of Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust under the auspices of experiencing the autumn colors. It was my first visit to Scotland in the month of November, and I expected short days, chilly temperatures, and a thin stream of tourists. By and large those expectations were met, though it was busier than I’d anticipated because of the concurrence of Dougie MacLean’s Perthshire Amber music festival.

In a nutshell: It was a wonderful trip and I’ll have loads of posts in the future interspersed with yet more of my North Coast 500 wanderings from earlier this year. Read more...

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