Scotland (2): peat bogs and sunset on the beach

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This is the second of four posts, of photos from our holiday in Scotland and Germany. The first one features the castles in Scotland, and brooding Edinburgh. This one is about peat bogs, rain, the Calmac car ferries and the unbelievably beautiful landscape that accompanied everything.

Peat bogs became a constant feature in our life once we stepped off the Calmac ferry, onto the Hebrides. After a few days I learned:

a) hills can become wetter and boggier as you climb up (water flows upwards??)

b) some moss or patches of grass are 95% water.

c) following the sheep is often a bad idea.

d) the top of a hill is always windy, cold, and raining.

Rain, it wouldn’t be a holiday in Scotland without rain. The animals seemed impervious, unless a loch was lapping at their feet. We now have shiny new waterproof hats (which work really, really well!), and a new ability to snap photos in the rain:

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On other days, miraculously, the sun comes through the clouds and transforms what we see. Even the Calmac ferries had a touch of glamour in such sunlight.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such clear, intense blue in the sky. The Hebridean landscape is beautiful in the rain, but it is breathtaking in sunlight, and made us want to stay there for much, much longer. Our favourite time of the day is dusk. From some angles, towards dusk, the light shimmered and gave the landscape and animals a kind of golden glow. If we were standing on top of a hill, we sometimes looked out onto the ocean that – reflecting the setting sun – is at once silver, gold, hazy, almost too bright, and small islands in the ocean looking like stepping stones to magic. 

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The quality of the light seemed to change by the day, and gave us such different views of the hills, mountains, lochs and the machair. In the evenings, we sat in our rental house, looked at the light falling on the lochs and peat bogs (and sipped whiskey).

We saw spectacular sunsets at 11pm and saw the last of sunlight lingering, even after midnight. We didn’t know it, it was the beginning of a heat wave in the UK and the rest of Europe. 

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On our finals days there, the sky closed over and become slate grey, cold, the clouds seem so heavy that they flow down mountains and into valleys. Then, as we walked down non-existent paths, we occasionally imagined ourselves alone in the land of Mordor (minus the fire-breathing Orc battle machines, thankfully). This, too, was mesmerising.

If only my skills with the camera could do justice to these places.

Next posts in this series: Skipping ahead to the fairytale castles and a UNESCO listed monastery in Germany. Then, back to Iona Abbey, the black houses, and mysterious standing stones in the Hebrides. 

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8 thoughts on “Scotland (2): peat bogs and sunset on the beach

  1. lovinghomemade 24 August 2013 at 5:24 pm Reply

    Your photos are incredible and most definitely do it justice! Really lovely post. If you want to know more about peat bogs (in an interesting way!) and lots of other Hebridean things check out the Food and Forage Hebrides blog if you haven’t already: http://foodandforagehebrides.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/blaeberry-and-elderflower-cheesecake-muffins-and-moorland-virtues/

    • saucygander 25 August 2013 at 9:42 am Reply

      Thanks, I’m so glad you like the photos. Food and Forage Hebrides is also one of my favourite blogs, I saw that post as well, had no idea there was so much to learn about peat cutting and the environment!
      thanks for the visit!

  2. jdons 25 August 2013 at 5:17 am Reply

    thanks for the trip.

  3. lemongrovecakediaries 25 August 2013 at 10:44 am Reply

    I think your photos definitely do it justice but I know what you mean there are parts of Scotland where you stand there and just take in the majesty of it all and can’t help feeling a wee bit of magic in the air….. of course that might have been the whiskey 🙂

    • saucygander 26 August 2013 at 9:11 am Reply

      Must have been – no photo can distill (!) the magic of a good dean. 🙂

  4. Alla 28 August 2013 at 6:05 pm Reply

    Love the photos. I was in Scotland for the first time last August and my family completely fell in love with it! Pure magic!! (haha and it’s not only because of whiskey lemongrovecakes) I can’t wait to go back!

    • saucygander 29 August 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply

      We fell in love with Scotland too! The whiskey was a bonus. 🙂

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