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Into the Mystic

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It was dusk last night as we drove our moody, white Scottish SUV into our home for the evening. She had been arguing with Nüvi's GPS directions, making unexpected traffic announcements in the loudest voice possible over the top of all radio stations (and our connected iPod!) and left Nüvi frustrated to the point that he actually drove us out into the country, told us we'd "reached our destination", and excused himself by shutting off and stepping out of the owner-vehicle-GPS love triangle. Hmpfh. This was new behavior even for him! Our feelings were a bit hurt that he left us to rely on her and my mapping skills alone, but we managed and he came back around on the highway. What we didn't realize, as we drove into Ballachulish under last night's sliver of a moon is that we were coming into one of the most beautiful and unique areas that I've seen in my life...

As we headed outside this morning to toss our bags in the back of our naughty white car, there were bright remnants of a rainbow lingering over the loch across the street from us. The mountains at its base were fighting off low clouds while we were covered in a chilly mist of rain. Tall, rugged mountains surrounded us on all sides. Fortunately, I had some time to take a few pictures because the car battery was dead (i.e. she got up on the wrong side of the bed and needed more caffeine before speaking loudly to anyone). We received help from a very kind Scottish gentleman that assured us that the "baaaaat-er-ay" was "flot" and just needed a "wee bit more juuuuuise". It seems every word is at least triple its usual length with the accent here and is prefaced with 'wee' or 'quite'. So fun! Our Scottish lad and Luke did a slightly different version of jumper cables than I am familiar with and he revved his engine to the point that I was certain he was going to blow something up (like my face), but we finally got it started and hit the road.

We spent several hours today working our way around the highlands area (Glencoe) and on up into the Isle of Skye. I've already taken a peek at my photos and if they are worth a thousand words, they're still another 10k+ shy of describing what we are seeing. Outside of our own homegrown mountains, New Zealand and Switzerland have offered up two of the most speak-to-my-soul, head-back-in-awe, mountain settings in our travels thus far. The Scotland Highlands just joined my list today. We'll save a few of my own adjectives and tell you that this mystic area was used to film many of the outdoor scenes of Harry Potter, including various battles and Hagrid's home. The beautiful train tracks that head to Hogwarts each year followed along parts of our drive and we were able to see the backdrop for the Quidditch games. We also saw an area that had been used to build the village in Braveheart as well. It's one giant movie setting here! They call the mountains "hills", as they aren't terribly tall, but they definitely have a presence. Many are snow capped at just 3,000+ feet and their tips aren't visible as they drift off into the clouds or white sky. Their sides are covered with waterfalls, accented with crevasses, splattered with shrubs and then sometimes sprinkled with odd shaped boulders. It makes for quite a sight. As we headed toward our home base for the next couple of nights, the rain fell off and on from the low clouds, which allowed rainbows to appear and disappear quickly. Few things put life in perspective faster than realizing how small we really are on this earth. God has an amazingly artistic eye and is pretty darn handy with his rock and wood work too. Only one more thing to do - Zac Brown Band and his combination of 'Free / Into the Mystic' needed to join us as a soundtrack. Fortunately, even our naughty car held her tongue and enjoyed the scenery for this one!

Posted by akgearhard 04:14 Archived in Scotland

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