Saturday, April 12, 2014

The solitude of the moorland, and an occasional Americano in a busy café...

Pass through the gate...and walk forever.
Except for a horse and rider, completing an 80 mile endurance ride, there wasn't another soul on the Balnaboth Moor today. Under blue skies, the warmth of the Spring sunshine held its own, even in the gusty winds that registered up to 104 km/h on the anemometer. - very breezy!

The "outdoors" seems endlessly vast. Somewhere in between the size of Ireland and Austria, Scotland's modest 30,420 square miles is a land of dramatically varied topography - including an astonishing 787 islands and over 6,000 miles of coastline. Ah...sea kayaking. The venue today wasn't far from home, just inside Cairngorms National Park in the Angus Glens.

Exposed to the full-on winds that rush from Atlantic Ocean to North Sea, across the breadth of the country, these gentle hills of Glen Prosen have a rawness and a mystique to them.

Steady at 48, max recorded gust at 104.
They may not have the stunning beauty of the ancient, craggy, snow-capped mountains, just a little beyond, but there's a beauty that the soul, perhaps more than the eye, can perceive. There's a gentle "toughness" required to live here and work amidst these hills. Modern day shepherds tend to the sheep whose tiny lambs gambol and frolic in their attempts to joyously defy gravity, failing, but happily trying again and again.

It's a good place to explore and traverse the "inner" landscape of the human spirit. There's sound all around, but there is no noise to distract. Perhaps it's the "sounds of silence"?

A few moments shelter behind a windbreak.
I am willing and can well hold my own in the company of gregarious extroverts in a crowded coffee shop, or anywhere else for that matter - at least until actual "listening" becomes optional. (At that point there seems little rational to stay any longer.) My personality type, however, much prefers quiet places such as these isolated and windswept moors. They energise and refresh.

The hills "flow" into one another.
The big sky and expansive land invites deep reflection. They invite the heart and mind to open and draw in the freshness of open space and uninterrupted time. There's a feeling of liberation. My soul mate and partner in life concurs.

Having said all that, I will admit that there are certainly times to head from the hills for an Americano, with a little hot milk on the side - and, of course, a scone. At such times, it doesn't really matter how busy or frenetic the ambiance. In fact, it can be fun. It's balance

A very friendly café in Perth.
So yes, to everything there is a season. :)


  1. I love the feel of the wind. It looks like a rather cold wind over there're wearing gloves and we're in shorts and t-shirts here enjoying what must be a much warmer windy day ;)

  2. A fine mix of life you have there Duncan. And a scone after a can yah go wrong!

  3. HI L, yes it was certainly a cool wind but more about the wind chill than actual temperature. We know it's ALWAYS warm and sunny on VI, all 12 months of the year! A virtual Camelot! ;) D.

    Thanks for your comment, Lee. I missed the "Publish" button on my phone so had to re-type. Hope that ankle comes along really well and you're back on the trail and water soon! Duncan.

  4. Hi Duncan, what a great hidden corner that looks - I really must revisit Glen Prosen.....

    Kind regards

  5. Thanks for that, Ian. And there are MANY hidden corners up your way that we must visit. :) I look forward to that. See you soon. Duncan.

  6. Good to see that the author of "Visit Scotland" is well and truly back in circulation. I love seeing all these wee gems that you both discover on your expeditions.
    Always take time to "smell the coffee" and the great outdoors.

  7. Haha! Thanks for your vote of confidence, Mike. What we'd really like to do is meet you at the Allanwater! Soon. ;) Duncan.