(HOST) Commentator Ruth Page tries not to gush as she expresses her enthusiasm for the beauty of Scotland in the spring.
(PAGE) My daughters and I spent 12 days in Scotland in early June, Candy driving on the left with smooth efficiency, and all of us walking and climbing (mostly climbing) everywhere. It was bliss.
We climbed Colton Hill in Edinburgh to see the whole city laid out before us. On our only heavy rain day, we climbed to St. Abb’s Head on a narrow, muddy cliffside path to look out at the ocean far below and wonder at the sheer drop of the cliff beside us, down to a narrow inlet with no access (except via a very cautious heli- copter?).
Since Patti thought it madness ever to pass a ruin, we climbed narrow, stone, spiral stairs high into several castles, wondering how anyone ever stayed warm inside those rock fortresses. They had 15-foot-thick walls and big, but clearly inadequate fireplaces. Kitchens would have been best, many with three big fireplaces to prepare food for hundreds.
All the views were magnificent: It was early spring, so the high meadows with their meandering rock fences enclosed ewes with their lively little lambs. Wildflowers grew everywhere, and the golden gorse made sunspots on the hillsides. Stone cottages always had flower gardens, and the azaleas and rhododendrons, huge and brilliant, were even on the roadsides.
At every climb, no matter how rubbly and rocky, we reached grassy hilltops with 360-degree views of fields, mountains, stand- ing stones, rock structures large and small, all peacefully lovely. No news, no radios, no TV; usually the only sound, one of us exclaiming over a fresh sweep of countryside.
We walked along a length of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s second century wall. You don’t walk on the wall, but alongside it. We had some pretty steep climbs and descents as the wall followed the contours of the hills. We wondered at the size and heft of the great stones that formed the ancient structure. The endless skies with fast-moving clouds were as lovely as the hills that reflected their shadows. At every rise, there was a fresh view of forest and in one area the remains of a Roman fort.
We drove the length of Loch Lomond, one of several long finger lakes on the west coast, stopping now and then to go to the water and admire the lovely little stone cottages with their bright gar- dens.
At the north end of the loch, after a long uphill, is Rest and Be Thankful. We parked in a small space for cars and got out to look down. ‘Way down. A cottage at the bottom seemed barely as large as my hand. The rock-and-grass steep hillsides were thread- ed with narrow, swift, silvery waterfalls. We walked partway down a pebble path to admire them and get a better sight of the cottage. We didn’t go all the way – we still had to climb back up.
I’ve barely begun and must stop. Count your blessings, skip the news for just a couple days, and Rest and Be Thankful.