It feels overwhelming to think of all the land that is being destroyed in the name of progress. I have been very fortunate to have been able to live in some extremely beautiful places before they were irrevocably changed. I lived in the Hudson River Valley in the 60’s when it was open rolling hills of dairy farm and apple orchards. I lived in Mendocino decades before the upscale shops from Union Square in San Francisco established themselves pushing out the local shops. I lived in the Napa Valley in the 1980’s when it was a community of small towns separated by grazing lands, nut tree and olive orchards, and a few vineyards…before the onslaught in the 90’s. I got to know Sedona when the town was small and the shops were run by Native and local artisans, the hiking trails were not pedestrian freeways, the roads to the back country were not over-run with various colored jeep tours, and there wasn’t a “red rock t-shirt” in sight.
I have never been one to spend much time in cities and I didn’t want to waste my precious days in Scotland stored away in a hotel that resembled all the other hotels I have stayed in. I purposely chose countryside B&B’s and planned the driving to be on major highways as little as possible. As I have traveled around Scotland, I have spent time in castles and walked along ancient streets, but it has been the larger amount of time spent wandering around the countryside that has truly bonded me to the country.
It began with the first bit of driving from Glasgow to the farm outside of Largs. When I awoke the next morning to the softness of the land around me, the first thing I did was to take a walk along a dirt road and across a field. Throughout my time in Scoltand I was able to find places where I could spend my time walking long unpaved lanes through open fields. I sat on a knoll overlooking the graveyard where my great-grandmother had been buried: looking out across the rolling hills of Gamrie, the greens of the fields softened in the mists. Hundreds of views from hundreds of places along numerous roads…all of them bond me to the land of my ancestors.