The logs are on the fire. Darkness has fallen around the house, removing from sight the surrounding snow capped hills, and there is no sound from outside, bar the occasional gust of wind and the patter of rain.
Today, I had the once a year pleasure of the scenic drive from my parents house in Edinburgh, where I flew up to last night from London, and travelling across the heart of Scotland, into the hills and mountains of the West coast to where they are lucky enough to have a getaway house in Strontian, on the shores of Loch Sunart, about thirty minutes from Fort William and the shadow of Ben Nevis.
The drive over passes through some of the most amazing landscape not just in Scotland or Britain, but genuinely, I think, some of the most incredible scenery in the world. I feel very fortunate to feel so connected to the area. I’m not Scottish, I have never lived here permanently, but as a place to visit and an area to be inspired and relaxed, there is none quite like it. Arguably, I feel more at ‘home’ here than I do in London.
Every trip I take up here passes through Stirling, travelling on the A84 past the relatively small hills near the towns of Doune and Callender, getting a preview of the landscape to come, and from then past Crianlarich and Tyndrum on the A82. From Tyndrum, the roads curves and climbs, running parallel to the West Highland Way footpath and out onto the bleak and vast Rannoch Moor.
Emerging from the driving mist, hail and rain, the impressive mass of Buachille Evite Mor guards the entrance to the charms of Glencoe beyond. The road negotiates through a rocky area before opening up to a U shaped valley, carved by ice and the passages of time, with white peaks rising either side of the road, and is rightly a jewel in the natural landscape of Scotland.
Crossing the Ballachulish bridge over Loch Leven to then take the Corran Ferry and the road to Strontian, I’m glad to be here.
Every trip I take here offers a different perspective; the colours, clouds and emotions changing with the seasons. Right now, I’m here to relax, if only for a few days.
Wishing everyone a merry Christmas break, and a happy new year, wherever you are.