The wilds of Scotland

Even after the many miles of road travel to the populated north of Scotland, the next stage out into the northern Highlands, delineated by the huge Great Glen between Oban and Inverness, is something else entirely. Leaving dual carriageways behind on the Black Isle and heading west, especially during inclement weather, both the roads and the landscape become increasingly empty, severe and beautiful.

Many visitors to Scotland hope for good weather, but my definition of good weather is markedly different than theirs. I hope for the kind of weather which beats on the landscape and which leaves an indelible mark on the memory. I vastly prefer winter visits, as I can drive for two to three hours and pass perhaps a handful of other cars.

Such was the drive past Loch Glascarnoch, a reservoir deep in the northern Highlands alongside the A835, in January 2017. I was heading for Ullapool for no other reason than for the experience of being alone in the wet winter landscape. I pulled off the road onto a gravel parking area at the side of the loch and battled to get the car door open. The strong winds, whipping in at a great rate from the Atlantic sea coast to the west, drove rain and the odd clump of vegetation my way, so I grabbed my shot and returned to the car and to my journey.

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