Column: Taking the high road from a beautiful part of Britain
Waking to our last day in Scotland, a leaden sky greeted us where earlier pink hues had graced it.
We had a final walk along the pebbled shore and looked out at a peaceful scene of small boats bobbing on the sea loch as the ferry glided to the islands. Sea birds stood on seaweed rocks, oblivious they had chosen one of the best places on Planet Earth. That thought became compelling. This crazy, chaotic world where nothing seems to make sense and then you come here and it really does. Here you find the peaceful and the beautiful again and leave the frantic city far behind. We walked along a lonely road near the spot we had seen a seal the day before. It had frolicked in the water then disappeared as quickly as it came. Just a fleeting glimpse, perhaps, but no less magical. The drive back saw us in sombre mood with skies to match so as we drive back along Loch Awe, its natural beauty was subdued to faded colours. Even so, it was still quite stunning then we went through the small town of Callander with its quaint shops and houses, nestled in a valley. As we headed south, past the urban towns of Motherwell and Stirling, and not far from Glasgow, the land gradually reduced into the Lowlands. Still beautiful in parts, but I had a yearning for the Highlands and had left my heart back up in Oban. And then, that childish moment when you reach the sign. England. An invisible line crossed yet none perceptible. As you drive along, you see still more fields of cattle and sheep, but you are reminded once again of nature’s bounty on reaching the glorious Lake District. As we looked out at the autumn fells, I realised that you are never far from a dream landscape of autumn trees, mountains and lakes. So I took away this thought - that in this crazy upside down world, with its inner city problems and urban decay, there’s still an unspoilt timeless sanctuary out there. Above all, I thought how precious the Scottish Highlands are; as old as the hills and as lovely as ever, with the beauty and incredible history.Always.