Now I know why all of the romantic stories begin in Scotland. It is beautiful and romantic beyond belief. I have been to the tops of the towers of Lilinthgow Palace in the fog and drizzle. I have wandered along the shores of the loch, imagining the queen watching anxiously from above for the return of her king's ship. Lily and I have explored every nook and cranny of the Edingburgh Castle and seen the actual crown jewels of Scotland, gone missing for 111 years and rediscovered by Sir Walter Scott.
Today we climbed and meandered through the Highlands, worlds and eons away from the rest of the known world, all green and open and wild as it has been for millennium. There is nothing to change there, it is and always will be. There is more "scope for imagination" as my perennial favorite, Anne of Green Gables, would say, in the ruins of a palace than in a restored castle and even more in the beautiful, stark Highlands. At the same time pastoral, green vegetation and wee sweet sheep grazing, hefty Highland cows with gigantic horns walking in a straight line on their own, and yet at times terribly lonely, with naught but heather, ferns and bracket (last year's ferns turned brown and trampled down), sometimes illuminated by a brilliant cluster of golden gorse. We saw a Rowan tree, growing straight up out of a rock, and learned of its powers to keep witches away.
Here are a few photos of the Loch and the Highlands.