The valley was silent, except for the gushing of the innumerable streams that cut through hills on all sides, and merged into the river on its way to one of the many Lochs. I stood there, mesmerized, till the kilt-clad tour guide called out to me. We were getting late...
One can travel for miles before coming across any signs of human settlement. Even birds, animals, and insects seem afraid of making this land their home. Sheep, highland cows, and a handful of deer will look at you startled, unsure whether you really do exist or are just a figment of their imaginations. The whole land, beautiful and virgin, asserts itself on all your senses and you wish you could lie down on the velvet heather and dream of beautiful creatures who dwell in Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree.
And when you least expect it, in the middle of nowhere sits a bench, freshly painted red, intact for the lack of use, waiting for the next Wordsworth to arrive and spin out enchanting poems to celebrate nature so pure, unrestrained, and untamed.
And occasionally, the unending bog gives way to centuries old giants, sculpting a landscape that would have been beyond your imagination just a few minutes back. But you shouldn't stay here too long, for the land threatens to strip you of your human illusions of greatness and immortality. The land is powerful enough to make you realize your inconsequentiality.
Despite its seemingly eternal peace, the land sighs at the memories of ruthless killings, tales of murder and torture so gruesome that one wonders at the cruelty human race is capable of inflicting upon others. Castles and ruins stand in testimony to the macabre fate that fell on them even as it fell on their human inhabitants. The land still echoes the haunting cries of these condemned men and women, and you will often find yourself wondering why you get goosebumps in a chamber here or a grove there.
The visit wasn't just a trip, it was an experience, memories of which still keep coming back to me in flashes and dreams. Wish you were there with me as these beautiful images etched themselves in my mind, wish you were holding my hand as I stood at the edge of a cliff, looking out at the sea that stretched to the horizon. I wish I could share these memories with you. But may be it isn't too late, may be we can go back there together, for, in this land, time stands frozen and the Scottish Highlands will still welcome us with all their moodiness and indifference.