I grew up in the suburbs of the UK’s tenth largest city, a tangle of Victorian houses, post-war prefabs, red brick estates and late ’50’s high rise flats. Though my origins are those of a city-dweller my heart seeks out unspoilt wildernesses, rugged coastlines and far-reaching vistas as this photograph of the Scottish Highlands illustrates.
This is a view from the tiny village of Laide in the north-west Highlands out across Gruinard Bay. In the distance is Gruinard Island, a site of WWII biological warfare testing. The island was quarantined for 48 years following the release of anthrax spores. Fortunately it has been decontaminated and no longer poses a threat. The sheep used as test subjects in the 1940’s were not so lucky.
During the last ice age this area was pushed down by the weight of huge sheets of ice but over a period of several thousand years it’s been undergoing post-glacial rebound – a phenomenon where the land moves upwards relative to sea-level. Here the rate of change is around 5cm per 100 years.
Scotland isn’t often thought of as somewhere sunny and bright but when I visited Laide (in the month of February – technically still winter) I was met with beautiful blue skies, warm sunshine and starry evenings. Just perfect!