Doing life right, at home and away

Tag: hills

Of aching jaws and nuclear power

Man, I’ve seen some windy weather in my life. I have.

Me and Musti on a windy hillside

Me and Musti almost blowing away

Never have I seen windy weather like yesterday.

We had been putting off going on a hike for the last couple of days as the weather was so wild and unpredictable. The rain and the hailstone showers had stopped for the moment so we called up a friend of ours, Kenny – a local hike connoisseur, who’s always up for a good stroll.

Musti and Kenny at Sandside Harbour

Musti and Kenny at the harbour

We decided to go somewhere relatively close and easy access, so we headed towards Sandside – a small beach in the village of Reay, just across from the mainly decommissioned Dounreay nuclear site.

While the weather had calmed regarding hailstones, the wind had gotten worse. I’m not sure I can even explain it better than saying that “it was just really, really windy”. The sea was throwing itself in raging, periodic attacks on the cliffs and the slippery black shale rocks, almost as if trying to escape its own temper.

Half of the photos are so shaken up I can’t really use them!

A rather interesting curiosity is, that the rather lovely Sandside beach is in fact a radioactive beach. We have a friend who’s involved in the off-site radioactivity measurements though and she said that so far it’s all gravy.

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beautiful colourful heather

Of Sunday hikes and sunsets

Caithness is breathtaking.

Sunset in Caithness

We were laughing yesterday that the Scotland map W has imprinted in my head is quite different from the map people generally have. Scotland is often reduced to the biggest, Southern cities: Glasgow and Edinburgh. Or even cities in general. However, I dare to say the best of Scotland is out in its nature and wilderness. I know this can be said about practically any place, but there is so much more to see and experience than the cities: the mountains, the fields, the hills of heather and ferns. The farm houses in the distance and fluffy sheep. The majestic cliffs, raging waves, silly little puffins. Fishing boats. Over 180° horizons. Windy, secluded towns, made of flagstone. Standing stones, cairns – almost mystical, inexplicable history. Castles, too. And VIKINGS.

The second time I was travelling to Scotland, almost four years ago in April, I took the Caledonian sleeper from London, and I was woken up by the sunrise peeking through the train curtains. The first sight of Scotland I had saw a bright purple, never-ending fields of wild heather, as far as I could see, on both sides of the train. I fell asleep again before the heather fields reached their end. So, let’s have a little reminder of Scottish geography:

map of scotland

There’s plenty North of Glasgow and Edinburgh. I also love Scotland in the winter. Generally not showcased as the best season to visit, I think it has a very particular feel to it during the winter. It emphasises the forces of nature, the wild weather and the wilderness. There’s the foggy darkness in the evening. There are no tourists, no attractions and many areas are just shut down and deserted. It’s windy and quiet. Near the sea, you only hear the sea and maybe the seagulls.

We went on a Sunday afternoon hike to Dorrery (according to Wikipedia, it’s a “small hamlet”) and Ben Dorrery hill.

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