wow. wow wow wow wow wow. i was prepared to be impressed but wow. neal's cousin lives an hours drive north of inverness. it's not in the middle of nowhere, because we drove to the middle of nowhere and it took about twenty minutes, but it's close. they live in the most charming, cosiest house i have ever seen. it is heated with a wood stove and a rayburn (a sort of wood stove/boiler/magician combo), stacked with books, and "guarded" by brodie, a rescue german shepard who is my new best friend.
on sunday we went on a road trip further north. we made a big loop through unapool and kylesku, around scourie and down past loch shin, through laird and back to ardgay. mostly i was too busy rhapsodising about the colours and the light and the moss and the heather and the light - did i mention the light? and i didn't take very good pictures but this gives you an idea.
that night we sat up in the "summer house" drinking whiskey and talking - they were such fantastic company and great story tellers. hearing about the characters they've met and how things work in this environment - it was a fascinating window into another world and the hours flew by. we braved the cold (although we did have a fairly good whiskey insulation!) and looked out at the stars - no light pollution there - just bright bright stars as far as you could see.
on monday we woke up to this:
and after a few walks in the woods we went up to the beach at dornoch - all soft sand and gentle dunes and a sky that went straight to the arctic circle!
i had no idea there was that much space in the uk. we really are all crammed in down here. coming back to the south was a bit of a shock - gatwick being rather horrid at the best of times. luckily our friend picked us up from the airport and drove us home so we didn't have to face london after our weekend of serene calm.
it feels like we've been away for a week. i'm so glad we finally made it up for a visit - i have a feeling this will be the first trip of many. i hope so. there's a lot of exploring to be done.