After we had made the decision to rent a car when we got thoroughly soaked for what felt like the 1000th time, we felt much more motivated for day tours.
Since the weather is supposed to stay bad, we decide to do a driving day and discover the rugged Scottish north coast, hike around until we get rained on, return to the car and continue driving until the car heating dries our stuff enough for the next hike. It turns out to be a great plan, as the speed of travelling through this landscape in a car shows the variation of this countryside in an even more impressing way. After the wide, boggy and mossy landscape with scattered cliffs on the Isle of Skye we find ourselves in lush, green and more flat territory driving through the east of the mainland. Here it actually reminds me of where I grew up in upper Bavaria. It’s where you would go with kids to have vacation on a farm I guess. It gets more rugged again the further up north we drive. The landscape here evolves constantly, that is what impresses me the most. Suddenly we’re in the midst of almost desert-like shapes and the vastness with the dense fog lingering in the valleys is mysteriously beautiful. It’s a long drive on the small roads, that even turn into one-lane roads with little “passing places” for long stretches of the way. Once it get’s dark the many deer that hang out on or near the streets everywhere in large herds make it even slower and we end up parking on a bridge in the area of the town of Tongue, to spend the night.
The next day we hike out to Sandwood Bay Beach and it is well worth it. The large sandy beach is framed by dark steep cliffs and the long yellow grass that leads to it creates a beautiful contrast. The sea is raging in shades grey, dark-blue and black and the large waves are topped with white foam. I’ll never get tired watching waves form, roll and break. The force and perfection of this ever repeating rhythm of my favorite element just stuns me. There is this moment, right before the wave brakes that makes me hold my breath. Here with all the wind, this moment is underlined by the spray that flies up far above the wave before it brakes. My urge to surf the wave or actually just to be out there in the wild waters becomes almost unbearable at times.
This is where land and sea connect and we find this imprinted on the beach as there lay the carcasses of a dolphin and a sheep not far from each other and in a similar state of decay. Although it is a sad sight, the dead animals are beautiful in a strange way, as they seem so naturally to be disappearing back into the nature they were born into. We don’t get to stay long as the wind blows us on over the beach along with the stench of the dead animals, that we escape by climbing up in between the cliffs to look down at an impressive needle that stands tall as the waters pound it in the bottom. All the way back to the car, across the boggy grassy lands and past many silent black Lochs, I can feel the waves reverberating inside me and I am filled with reconnection and gratitude.
By the way, I have decided to keep writing in English, as long as I am in Scottland, just because it is easier for me not having to switch back and forth between languages in my head, and also because we have met quite a few english-speakers here, who may want to read how our journey continued…