Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 25, 2008

Rugged highlands

Yesterday we were all on the bus by 7 am and on our way from Kirkwall back to St. Margaret’s Hope to catch the first ferry back to the Scottish mainland. We then wound our way thru the north and northwest of Scotland. This land is ruggedly beautiful. Given the ancient ages of the mountains, they’ve eroded away over the millenia–the tallest mountain in Great Britain, Ben Nevis, is on our itinerary in a few days but it is “only” about 3,500 feet. But, these mountains rise right up from sea level and, given our northern latitude are often snow covered. The weather here can also be very windy and wet (yesterday we had our first significant rain of the trip). In short, the elevation isn’t the only factor making Ben Nevis a major challenge for hikers.

Right now, we’re in Ullapool on the west coast. It’s the jumping off point for the ferry to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis. We’ll be on the Isles of Lewis and Harris the next two days. I look forward to the ferry crossing as a chance to catch up on my journal. Ullapool is a beautiful city, with a protected harbor on one side, so we can look across the harbor and bay to see beautiful mountains in the background, some snow covered. Looking at the hills closer to town, there are large swaths of Scotch broom, which is now in bloom and provides a beautiful yellow backdrop.

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