Monday, 29 March 2010
Castle in the Mist
I had a really smashing long weekend in Scotland, taking some good friends to a place my family have in Easter Ross in the far north, a place surrounded by the most wonderful rugged country, a place where as often as not one is likely to be greeted in the morning by a wonderful many-pointed stag staring over the garden wall. I've been many times before, especially when I was growing up, though it's a while since I have been back. Not much has changed, though; this is a part of the country where things remain remarkably the same, remote from the pressures of modern life.
The people in my party had never been so far north before, so I had the role of guide and Sherpa thrust upon me. We managed to pack quite a lot in over the few days, anything from watching dolphins dance in the Moray Firth to a spot of hill walking. We even went as far as Fort William, dining in the wonderful Crannog Seafood Restaurant there, overlooking Loch Linnhe. But by far the best part of the weekend was some early morning sailing down Loch Ness.
It's a wonderful place, with the surrounding hills falling into the dark peaty waters of the long narrow lake, one of the deepest in the British Isles, deeper even than all the Great Lakes of North America, one laid upon the other! The whole setting is just impossibly romantic, so dominated by nature, by the power of nature.
I can just imagine what Casper David Friedrich, that magician of nature painting, would have made of the scene, looking down on the waters from the hills above. That’s what I was looking for, beauty and romance, not monsters! By far the best bit was sailing past the ruins of Urquhart Castle, poised in the edge of the waters, a place that seems to represent the enduring pointlessness of all human endeavour.