It amazes me how many British people have never been to Scotland. I know it’s further than Paris for many of us, and the weather can be less than sunny but on a good day I would contest that few places are more beautiful. Most stunning is arguably the part I have been fortunate enough to visit recently – the Highlands and Islands on the West Coast. Possibly the most beautiful beach I have ever seen (Port Ban) had water warm enough to swim in (just about) and the walk down from the cliff to the water on a clear sunny day afforded perhaps the best view for my new free panorama software on my fancy phone.
Other contenders for best panorama of the trip include the folly McCaig’s Tower in Oban:
The bay in Oban:
Sunset over Colonsay:
The beach at Machrihanish:
And the bay at Inveraray:
Let me know which one you like best!
Even in my first blog post I was talking about the importance of getting some perspective and enjoying the beauty of the natural world. Friends of mine know the lengths I will go to catch a nice sunset picture, and taking time out to look and really see some of the amazing places that speak to me of an awesome creator God is a great tonic to me.
After my days exploring the west coast of Scotland I proceeded to Edinburgh to enjoy some of my seventeenth consecutive festival fringe. As well as the sights of an elegant (if mainly grey) city, my friend and I managed to pack in thirteen shows including sketch comedy, a musical, wonderful storytelling, close harmony from South Africa, theatre, stand-up, circus/climbing, folk music, adapted Shakespeare and improvised soap opera. One of the theatrical offerings was a great adaptation of C S Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, where the senior devil Screwtape complains:
“Even if we [the demonic forces] contrive to keep [humankind] ignorant of explicit religion, the incalculable winds of fantasy and music and poetry – the mere face of a girl, the song of a bird, or the sight of a horizon – are always blowing our whole structure away.” Letter 28, extract here.
I guess I believe that God whispers through all sorts of things, although the mention of a girl’s face gives me some courage to admit that one of the views I particularly enjoyed was not one I felt I could take a picture of, even if it would have been just for illustrative purposes for you my dear readers. There was a man serving behind the bar at the George Hotel in Inveraray who distracted me rather a lot from my (nearly as delicious) dinner. It’s a lovely old bar and well worth a visit, even if you don’t manage to glimpse the fine example of the lesser spotted Scottish heartthrob. Ladies, ladies, I saw him first.
And again I am left musing on my single state and how much I would love to be strolling (ok, rolling) in the hills with some handsome husband who has inexplicably failed to find me yet. I know I am lucky to enjoy all the opportunities for travel, culture and time with close friends that might be less frequent if I were tied down with a family. I want to make the most of every view and to find God in unexpected places. I’d love to have someone special to share it all with – and of course, you are special, so for now, I’ll share it with you.