You take the high road, I’ll take the low road…

In the shadow of the Three Sisters at Glencoe, May 2007.

In the shadow of the Three Sisters at Glencoe, May 2007.

Since everyone’s been talking nonstop about the ongoing Scottish independence referendum tonight, I thought I’d share a short posting from the first time the clan and I visited Scotland several years ago.

It was in the spring of 2007 – I’d just finished up my junior year at CNU. For this trip, we’d flown into London, stayed there for a few days and then taken the train up to Edinburgh.

Our stay in Scotland included a day of jaunting around the highlands – yes, including up to Loch Ness (didn’t see Nessie). Out in the western highlands, around about Fort William, we passed near one of the trailheads of the West Highland Way – which I proceeded to put on my “to-do” list for another visit, and came by the Three Sisters at Glencoe.

Anyone who’s ever been to Scotland will know just how gorgeous the country is – heck, scenery-wise, all of the British Isles look pretty nice. Climate-wise, the Scottish highlands are similar to Anchorage and southern Alaska (in fact, there’s a couple of Yukon White Birch in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh). The weather cooperated nicely while we were there – and the air was really crisp and clean.

Bit of a sad story behind the Three Sisters. This was where the Glencoe Massacre – the murder of several members of Clan MacDonald – happened in 1689. The story goes that three young women were among the handful of people that got away – hence the name.

Standing at the bottom of the valley, with the mountains towering over you – it’s a real reminder of just where you stand in the universe. These are ancient mountains – they were here long before you were born and they’ll be here long after you’re gone. I think that’s part of the reason why hiking and walking – just being out in nature, period – are good for you. It’s not just for the exercise – it’s to help put things back in perspective.

For balance, here’s a more humorous story involving mountains – we were told that recently, a group of university students had pushed a grand piano up Ben Nevis for a charity fundraiser. (What the fundraiser was for, I don’t remember.) And then they pushed the piano over the edge. In my mother’s view, it was a tragic waste of a perfectly good Steinway.

To learn more:

Glencoe: National Trust of Scotland


Categories: History, Other, Walking | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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