Monday, 26 September 2016

The Timeless Elegance and Relevance of the Scottish Highlands

“My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.” 

The Brattleboro Bear meets Buchaille Etive Mor...

This past August we traveled back to Scotland – sometime home of Pamela and Naia for the timeless inspiration of Edinburgh, and the subtle elegance of the Highlands awash in heather blossoms.  From the braies of the Killiecrankie on Blair Atholl, to the immovable Buchaille Etive Mor (The Shepard of Etive) beside Glencoe and Rannoch Moor.  It was a sweet treat in visiting our Falkland where Naia had her first year and sometimes known as “Inverness” in the TV Series Outlander.   East Lomond, an old volcanic plug that oversees the village has been a beacon hill for the Picts, Celts, Romans, and Scots, sending fire signals from The North Sea (think Viking invasions which left words like “brau and bairn in the local dialect) inland to Stirling, the first place where a medival arch could span the Forth River and allow foot traffic into the Highlands.  If you’re ever in the Hague and see the stone houses on it’s shores, those were made of ballast in trade ships sold to wealthy merchants as their land was little more than a spit of sand.

Fetching the whiskey...
Scots stick to their wool.  Truly a magnificent, and timeless fabric.  In particular the tartan dyed with plants are of interest to our future color spectrum.  And much like our American recessions – the Scots have had to claw their way back from failed rebellions, the Clearances, and more recently Maggie Thatcher’s shutdown of the coal industry in the 80’s.  They are doers born and bred, bringing dignity and honor to even the most simple of crafts, with an eye to enduring the centuries as a standard measurement.   A brilliant realization being why Linens are traditional in the UK, of course they could not grow cotton in such weather and so grew flax! 

Glencoe, nursery of the glaciers and home to species that turn white in winter.

Their largest predator is a fox, of which there are many – thankfully farmers seem to be learning how to build good fences and hunts no longer set hounds on the foxes.  Deer are abundant with the lack of large predators, and there is a vicious condemnation of the grey squirrel, which was imported to London over a century ago and has spread being the versatile omnivore it is!  Sadly at the same time the lovely Red Squirrel has become endangered as it’s pine trees are cut down for developments.  The greys number in the millions and are being trapped and subjected to the ravenous Pine Marten (think Fisher) despite it being clear they will never be eradicated.  Scotland has even reintroduced beaver after their local demise several hundred years ago with unfettered trapping. Brava!   

Blair Atholl for the International Horse Trials

Happy Fall!!!! 

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous photos. I wish you had a source here in the UK for your furs.