Scotland: Land of Heather, Lakes and Sheep IV
Again, I woke up cold. This time it was not on the Orkneys. It was about half the way between Inverness and Perth, close to A9 road. Islands on the north, I had left 19 hours ago. Strong wind is blowing outside. Fortunately, it does not rain.
I don’t want to get out of the tent at all. Eventually I force myself to do it. Having many layers of clothing on me, I open the entrance. Amazing view. There is a mist in the valley. Sun occasionally appears between clouds and lit hills with golden color. The temperature is around 0 degrees. Cold wind is really unpleasant. While I pack my tent, I ceased to feel hands. I can not imagine I would have to stay along the road for a long time. However, fortune favors me today, for ten minutes later a car with a boat on the roof stopped. The driver seems pretty surprised of seeing me so early in the morning in deserted area. But he takes me on board and increases temperature.
Forth William – Mallaig
Fourteen days later I am alone, again. A friend who played with me, just has left to Edinburgh. I am hitchhiking to get to Fort William. There I will try to take pictures of steam locomotive. It departs from there every day. A huge bilingual board says that it is strictly forbidden to enter the areal. It seem that I will not take pictures of the backstage after all. Right next to the depot, sheep are running around an old cemetery. Hopefully I will take some interesting pictures there. I discover a dead ram. I do not regret going there.
It rains a little and annoying wind is blowing there. Again, all cars are riding in the opposite direction (as usually) than I need. After an hour two Indians in luxurious BMW save me. We stop on a bridge above a railway to take pictures of sunset. I reckon that it would be easier to find some camping site here for it is still light. It would be worse in the night in the city. The Indians wonder why I want to stay here, they try to persuade me to go with them to Mallaigu and stay in a hotel. Few minutes later they understood my reasons.
I climb over a fence of a sheep hold and direct my steps that could be suitable for me to take pictures of the steam locomotive. From time to time my feet got deep into wet soil. Fortunately water doesn’t get to my boots (it is absolutely unthinkable to dry them anywhere here). I leave my backpack at a foot of the hill I am about to climb up. I start a difficult climb on a slippery slope.
I slowly doubt whether the train I am waiting for, rides also on Sundays. According to the schedule, it was supposed to pass by already an hour ago. Large gray clouds fly in the sky. Sometimes, a niche appears between them and the sun shines for a while. At last I hear I long sound of steam pipe announces that the train is coming. It seems, that there are less and less niches in clouds. Soon, I lost all hope that the sun might shine on a right spot in the right time. The locomotive is getting closer and closer. And suddenly, the sun! It shines right on the spot I need it to! A beam of light still moves and the shadow slowly get closer to the railroad. Come on!
Finally... Three clicks and it is done. The locomotive disappears in the turn. The sun doesn’t shines on the carriages any more. A non-photographer cannot imagine how stressful such situations are. Particularly in Scotland. I have to sit for a while.
To be continued...
Text/photo: Matouš Vinš
When one is in Scotland he/she should’t miss Edinburgh, its capital. This city located near the sea is worth at least several day stay. Still, you should bear on mind that you wouldn’t see everything.
When I first went out into the world at 18, it was Scotland. I still remember the moon in it, when I almost traced it all to this day. For 7 years I wanted to go back and finally it was time. I got on a motorbike in Prague and set off for about 2000 kilometers long way to the northwest.
The Scottish referendum is popular topic in world media. Even if the Scots decided not to get out of three hundred year long relationship with England. It is almost certain that London would loosen its tight to Scotland. It is a question how would Scotland do as an independent country and how its would fare on international level.
Today, we get to the last part of the series of articles on rough yet magical Scotland.
Fortunately, in south part of Lewis there are hills that flawlessly continue to Harris. Islanders also need wood so they planted there a small forest. Now I lay in a warm sleeping bag, in a tent attached to three trees, I listen to an ugly sound of drops constantly hiting my tent. Well, I have to get up eventually. After all I come here to learn about the islands, not to lay all day long.
I have almost no water, no battery in my cell left, thus I travel to Mallaig, a port town from where ferries heading to Skye, Rum, Uist and other, smaller, islands depart. Right next to the port, there is a small train station. Its loading platform has not been used for a long time, obviously. It has two platforms.
My visit to Scotland was coming to an end, but I still had about 2,000 kilometers to go home. But Scotland is beautiful, so why hurry? So I stopped at several places on the Isle of Skye and gradually reached the highest mountain of Ben Nevis.
Already in the summer of 2011, I was in Scotland for a few days visit. But this time it was different. And maybe even a little crazy. At this time I was a fresh adult student, only with a flight ticket to home, about three hundred pounds in his pocket and an overnight stay for the first night.
So what next you should miss when in Edinburg? For example Royal Yacht Britannia that traveled astonishing 1 million naval miles in its existence, it is as if the yacht traveled around the world for 40 times. In 1997 it was put out of service and today it is opened to the public.
Near the village is Yesnaby, perhaps the most popular cliffs we just had to visit. A look from above on wild waves made took one’s breath. After we explored the surroundings we headed to mysterious stones.
After a half-an-hour ride I get off in Aberdour, a fishermen town in the Forth Bay. I have no idea where to go so I just follow arrows of the Fife Coastal Path. The reason is perhaps that it goes along the railway (and thus along the coastline as well).
We continued along the coastline to east and we were amazed with a beautiful road without holes and patches. There are just three main roads on Mainland, however, unlike ours they were in splendid condition.
Cold and raindrops hitting a side of my tent wake me up. It would be better if there was no thermometer for knowing that it is just 1 degree above zero is not very encouraging. Fortunately, the wind got better. I quickly pack my tent hoping that my hands will not freeze.
The last part of our visit of the islands we spent on Mainland and neighboring island on the south. These islands are interconnected with the so-called Churchill barriers.
The Orkney Islands are located on massive cliffs north of Scottish shore. There are 70 islands and only on about 20 there is some permanent settlement.
What comes across your mind when you hear Scotland? Most people like Scottish whiskey, kilt, Loch...
Scotland has beautiful beaches, endless heaths, romantic valleys, crystal clear lakes and snow-ca...