With Hogmanay knocking on the door, and my new hiking books in the hall, I have been dreaming of Scotland. I yearn to greet Robert Burns’s Highlands in the summer. Stories and adventures are sure to be waiting in the ‘green vallies’ and ‘wild- hanging woods’. Alas, my neighbour, Hamish, has warned me of the ‘hungry beasties’ – the mischievous midges. And I hate the blighters, as I am sure to become their breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Exploring the literature about Scotland, I found ‘One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in the Modern World’, by Signe Pike. Pike explains:
‘But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.’
Perhaps, dear old Hamish is introducing me to the magic of the Highlands; and is referring to the beautiful spirits hiding in the lochs. I can hear something whispering, ‘A dinnae ken’, to me. Viewing online images of Scotland tempts me to explore the ‘brooding’ wilderness sculpted by nature. Like a warrior blogger, I must face the midges! And my brother suggests keeping some citronella spray in my handbag. Does this deter the midges, or would it be like marinating myself for the blighters’ lunch? Any advice is welcome.
So, while searching for the perfect romantic bothy, I have just found a bothy bag. This is a survival bag that transforms into a tent. Perfect! I can fill this with books for my adventure. And if the midges appear, I will simply hide in the bothy bag and read. Please recommend some books set in Scotland to prepare me for my adventure.
I can recommend the Daniela Sacerdoti novels set in the Highlands in which she paints a vivid picture of ‘…the windswept Scottish sky and black silhouette of pinewoods, a hint of mist resting on the land and the white ghostly moon peering…’, and this rekindles my yearning to visit Scotland. Ah yes, I will have to stash away Lizzie Lamb’s Highland romances. I wonder if Lizzie knows the best time of year to avoid the midges?
I will search for a holiday bothy in this glorious tide of time between Christmas and Hogmanay. Once the bothy has been located, I will then begin to plan a menu for the end of year celebrations. It is a tradition for the family or friend member, with the darkest hair, to open the front door to let the old year out. This becomes a struggle as our hair turns grey, but I like to refer to MacLeod in the Highlander:
‘ “To see the years touch ye gives me joy,” he whispers, “ for it means ye live.”’
And, I wish to end the year with the celebration of life!