Picture This

Beyond the deep sweep of Loch Eriboll and inland from Sutherland’s wind-scoured coast, Strathmore holds Hope in its mountainous embrace. The enduring eminence of Ben Hope, Scotland’s northernmost sentinel, reaches crag-faced for sky and space. Following Strathmore beneath Ben Hope’s sheer shoulders, modernity grows threadbare and distant. A wondrous broch falls to pieces. Time reveals itself as another of mankind’s constructions, another tawdry exercise in placing ourselves at the center of the universe. Under the overcast sky Loch Hope is a sheet of beaten iron mirroring the weather’s whims, mirroring the mind’s constant convulsion. 
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Summer’s grip slips from the world’s northern rim. Standing on an archaic emerald archipelago as the day, packed beneath colorless clouds, suddenly burns with vespertine brilliance. Blades of equinoctial light slash the overcast sky into blue ribbons and send black shades stretching from Brodgar’s obstinate stones. A golden pall falls upon the Ness of Brodgar, and the wind, feeling its impotence, disappears like the last bedeviling sorrows scrabbling for our strands.

Salt Knowe rises west of the standing stones, a mound curious for its height and apparent lack of purpose. As I turn toward the season’s parting kiss, that purpose appears stark. Read more...

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Beyond The Minch’s watery grasp and Loch Broom’s beckoning finger, north of the Summer Isles spilled in the shimmering sea, and west of all man’s thoroughfares, the Coigach peninsula reaches for the sun and stars. Lochs patter upon the intervening glen, tears from a blind god, as the earth throws wide its embrace. Stac Pollaidh, Cùl Mòr, and Cùl Beag bark in the mist ‘yond the wind-blown gorse. This is a chance, an open window, a doorway cracked and illuminated.

How wonderfully intuitive and unexpected, this, that venturing to the sacrosanct corners of our long-neglected but sought-after selves requires physical emplacement…
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Winter’s distant light bursts like an epiphany over Loch Voil and the Braes o’ Balquhidder. That luminant lathe cleaves off the fatigue of waking half a day and a world away. Brisk air rolls down the hills, the loch’s fresh water overflows the shores, and everywhere light takes shape. At dusk the sundering sun flings light into Voil’s mirror to send the shadows skyward. Such beauty lies down many a fold in the heart of Scotland, through narrows long forgotten and over hills graced only by the sun’s daily tread.

From Ireland long ago came a man of Christian raiment to the Braes o’ Balquhidder… Read more...

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The road to Loch Tummel hangs upon the hillside like a poem upon the lip. There is the warmth of fire on the hills in autumn. Gold and orange, copper and bronze, sloping upon green cleaving deep into the blue. Here at the eastern edge of the loch, the Queen’s View, where the mind and heart exult in harmony. Lambs call the ewes by the shore while November wind pirouettes on the water and draws the eye ever westward to brooding Schiehallion, Rannoch Moor, and Glencoe. The Queen in question was not Victoria, as she had assumed, but Isabella, the wife of Robert the Bruce, who stared west in that bright age and marveled at what was possible.
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