A long time ago I was privileged to own a small bolthole property with an IV2 postcode – my own little patch of the proper Highlands. I visited it every fortnight, tended it well, and eventually couldn’t spare the time to keep it up as base moved beyond a reasonable commute distance.
A couple of weekends ago I revisited the area for the first time in years.
Some things have changed: a little traffic-light-controlled bridge is no longer there as the B851 has been slightly widened in parts; some of the surrouding hillsides have been clear-felled of their trees. But otherwise the lie of the land remains largely mercifully untouched. Strathnairn, with its rocky crags and landscapes of naught but light and water, still exudes a permeating emptiness – a present absence – that turns the role of viewer on its head, asking you “so what doyou stand for?”.
Of course, my other favourite afternoon escape route was a few miles up the road to the comparative civilisation of Dores. That hasn’t changed much either. The view down Loch Ness is just as impressive, and the solar halo just hanging in the sky was both awe-inspiring and uplifting.
There’s a chain, that binds us all in lives of wonder There’s a chain, hold it closely as you go Let this name be your family and your shelter Take this chain all your days, don’t let go.