I spent ten days in Scotland once. The pity is it wasn’t twice or three times or more. It is an old old place, where things come and go before your eyes, the living and the dead and those who are neither.
Mind you, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the worst winter I’d had in 15 years was the summer I spent in Scotland. I loved roaming the highlands and the clearances on Skye. It was rainy and foggy the whole time we were on Skye, the mists would come and go like spirits – within minutes something you were looking at would disappear, even the car only 10 metres away. The ground was heavy and moist and made little noises – or was it the ghosts of those who were there before? I found it easy to slip into an almost trance-like state, oblivious to the cold and damp. My husband found it intolerable and stayed in the car with the heat on for most of these jaunts.
I also loved Glasgow – it’s grit and struggle – full of incredible artworks and decaying grandeur. I met up with a friend who told me where to eat, so I ended up with amazing food there too. Strangely, I did not care for Edinburgh. It seemed fake to me, packaged up and presented in a myriad of staged Scottish experiences. But if I went back I am sure I could fall in love with it. That’s a problem and a pleasure with travel – you get a snapshot of a specific place and time – if you go back it will not be the same.