Regular readers might have noticed that although there have been a few new posts over the last couple of weeks, comments have been left unanswered and my activity on other blogs has been non-existent. It’s time for me to explain. You see, I’ve been on my holidays and having scheduled a number of posts to upload in my absence I naively thought I’d be able to respond to comments and keep up to date with my blog reading from a distance. But the remote Western Highlands of Scotland contrived against me. Extremely patchy phone signal made any blog activity impossible and my social networking came to a very abrupt stop.
 
To those of you who’ve left comments lately I apologise and I’ll be getting right on top of those today! Please bear with me while I catch up with all of your latest blog posts too. In the meantime I’d like to share with you an off-topic post. This was my first time north of Edinburgh and it has to go down as one of the greatest holidays I’ve ever had. To put it simply, Scotland is beautiful. I’ve been told this many times but seeing it for yourself is another thing entirely. The other-half and I were astounded by the views – mountain after mountain, waterfall after waterfall. I was completely taken with sheer number of wild flowers too. Flowers I recognised from childhood walks in England with my Grandad, flowers now rare and elusive in the English meadow, grow in their multitude in the remote Highlands and Islands. Wild animals are plentiful too, often curious and hardly afraid. Islay – the homeland of peaty malt whisky which just happens to be my favourite – was also home to the widest variety of birds I’ve ever seen in one place.
 
On the Isle of Jura we walked for six hours without seeing another human being. Instead deer, frogs and dragonflies were our companions. The views from the small loch nestled between the mountains atop Coire Laggan on the Isle of Skye was divine. As the holiday sped on we felt drawn to Scotland’s more remote locations. The cruel thought of returning to crowded city life became more and more daunting.
 
On our last night, heady with whisky from the Bruichladdich warehouse tasting (highly recommended!) we watched the still, flat ocean from the panoramic windows of The Harbour Inn at Bowmore, Islay. We will be back here one day, soon I hope.
 
After seventeen days, four stunning locations – Gairloch, Skye, Kilmartin, Islay – and over 1,300 snaps, it’s time to head back to reality and the multiplex. Before then though, I’d like to share some of my favourite photos of the trip with you. Suggested whisky pairings: Laphroaig Triple Wood or Bruichladdich Octomore. Oh and one movie related fact: on the island of Islay there’s a mobile cinema, in a lorry!
 
Do drop me a line in the comment box to let me know if you’ve ever been to Scotland and which were your favourite places – I promise I won’t take so long to respond this time!

Yes this is a real photo... Waterfall near Glen Brittle, Skye

Yes this is a real photo… Waterfall near Glen Brittle with the Cuillins above, Skye

Eggs and Bacon, Gairloch

Eggs and Bacon, Gairloch

Crinan harbour. The seafood bar here is excellent.

Crinan harbour. The seafood bar here is excellent.

Young rabbit in the Waternish area of Skye

Young rabbit in the Waternish area of Skye

Cottongrass at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Cottongrass at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Oyster Catchers at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Oyster Catchers at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Paps of Jura

Paps of Jura

Bull, Isle of Skye

Bull, Isle of Skye

Lichens growing on trees in the Knapdale Forest

Lichens growing on trees in the Knapdale Forest

View of the Cuillins from the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

View of the Cuillins from the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Rocky view of the outer islands from the loch atop Coire Laggan, Isle of Skye

Rocky view to the outer islands from the loch atop Coire Laggan, Isle of Skye

Wild flowers at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Wild flowers at Neist Point, Isle of Skye

Red deer on the Isle of Skye

Red deer on the Isle of Skye

Highland cow, Gairloch

Highland cow, Gairloch

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