Photos as follows;
1. Skye; Aird
3. Loch Sheil
6. Loch Lochy
7. Skye; Point of Sleat
Incredulous as it sounds, I'd never visited Scotland despite its close proximity to where I live. The lure of distant places tended to win out, over more familiar destinations. That being pre-Covid. Apres-Covid and its societal and worldly fissures, the nearer and familiar have accrued new meaning; nature has become of prime importance and an opportunity to interact with others, a new raison d'etre!
Pleasantly surprised, you could say... I was naive about the extent of Scotland's wilderness and its Scandinavian-type beauty! When you wake in the morning to the Sun breaking through dark skies full of Cumulonimbus clouds atop high, rugged peaks punctuated by sprawling lochs I realised that Scotland was something special.
Then again, the Isle of Skye is something else. Part Celtic and part Scandinavian Skye's landscape ranges from Icelandic oddity to Irish-like, rugged coastlines and gently undulating land a la Yorkshire or Cumbria. Despite the hot, almost Mediterranean weather there remained a Northerly cold, suspended in the background, coming in off the sea.
It was a relief to experience the slow pace of life at Skye. In many ways it probably hasn't changed much in a century, crofting, fishing, hospitality and the tourist industry are pretty much all I witnessed. Skye's remoteness and, contemporaneously its closeness and familiarity are cogent reminders of the UK's separation from continental Europe and its splay Northwards into the North sea, upwards towards Iceland and the Artic.
Quiescence abounds throughout Skye. Sleat Point and its beautiful sandy cove, with views over the sea to Western Scotland and Mull, really encourage relaxation, a slow-paced mantra to a different way of life, much healthier both physically and mentally than the frenetic lifestyles of city dwellers. The air hits you with a strange purity, a tinge of Northern coldness infiltrated the Sun-warmed air and both the freshness of the countryside and the ocean were delightful!
You can see why Paganism was the principle religion across the UK for centuries. When life is governed by the weather, nature and the seasons, when Aurora paints the night sky with light gods and goddesses of the Sun, Moon, sea, fauna and flora seem to make more sense. Surely these preoccupations are healthier than our current condition preoccupied with representations, artificiality, aloofness via new technologies and the worshipping of money?
Whatever the philosophical, moral or scientific ramifications of multifarious lifestyles, exploring a land as evocative and unspoilt as Skye's is both fascinating and liberating. Indeed, Scotland, largely seen as an irrelevant wilderness and a distant drain on the economy by the ignorant and powerful at Westminster, offers an antidote to many of the problems we experience in our, hectic day-to-day lives. I feel the Orkney's calling!
Simon Sept. 2021.