Family and friends sometimes ask us why on earth we make one of our twice-yearly visits to Scotland at the very tail-end of the year. What makes us, they wonder aloud, head north as the hour goes back, the dark evenings close in and winter approaches?
The answer is simple. This glorious, rugged and unspoilt landscape is breathtakingly beautiful at all times of year and in all weathers, and the warmth of the welcome we receive from our friends and neighbours is undimmed by the vagaries of the weather. The bonus is that there are no midges!
Because we travelled up by car this time, I’m able to drive myself about while we’re here and this morning I headed across the Kyle causeway to Knit and Natter. Halfway across I stopped to gaze at Ben Loyal, swathed in dark, turbulent cloud and to try, of course, to capture the scene.
After a very enjoyable morning of coffee and cake, chatting (and coughing) and even knitting, I headed home, but on a whim stopped in a lay-by to visit again what must be one of the most wonderfully located cemeteries in the world. It stands alone, close to the causeway, looking out over an austere but beautiful landscape of sea and mountains that has something of eternity about it. Like the war memorial, high on the opposite hill, at which I attended the service of remembrance last Sunday, this simple cemetery, in its stunning setting, catches the attention and focuses thought in a very profound way.
Eventually I dragged myself away and drove quietly home, my mind filled with a kaleidoscope of images and impressions. This glorious corner of the country gives us so much enjoyment, but it also makes me think and that must be good.