One of my favorite places to set a story is the western and northern Highlands of Scotland. This, to me, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is rugged and harsh country. The mostly bare mountains of rock jut up from the boggy, wet landscape. In summer some of the mountains are covered in the most vivid green vegetation. I couldn't say what the plant is but when the sun shines on it, the green is so bright and velvety it is almost blinding. (above: Glen Coe) In other areas, heather cloaks the mountains and hills and in mid-summer turns bright pinkish-purple. The air here is fresh, cool and clean. Lochs, small and large, dot the landscape. The peat that forms the bogs turns the water naturally brown which creates dark lochs that reflect the dramatic sky.
The sky seems a part of the landscape. The clouds drift down and caress the mountains. In the morning, the mist rises and floats, ghost-like as rays of sunlight knife through. It is such a magical, mystical place. It is easy to see how many myths and legends were born here.
(above: near Ullapool)
As well, the people who lived here hundreds of years ago were as tough and rugged as their surroundings. They had to be in order to survive. Crops are difficult if not impossible to grow here because of the inappropriate or nonexistent soil in the wet bogs or on the rocky slopes. Sheep and cattle survived by eating the vegetation. The climate is cool and damp here most of the year so wool clothing was a must. The most famous of the wool cloth woven by Highlanders was plaid. What we today call a great kilt or belted plaid was to Highland men back in history the most practical of clothing which suited their lifestyle.
(Below: Eilean Donan Castle in the Western Highlands)
(Above: Sango Bay near Durness in northern Scotland)
I like imagining and writing about Highlanders who lived here their whole lives, fierce and free, loving the Highlands like a family member. They fought for, protected and died for this wild land they called home. If you visit you will know why they were so passionate about it.