Monday, September 05, 2005

Garbh Beinn

There is a misconception in the minds of many that the Scottish highlands are uniformly cold and bleak.
In fact, nothing could be furthur from the truth. The whole of the west coast is warmed by the gulf stream.
Northern Scotland is on the same latitude as Siberia and northern Canada. Were it not for the ameliorating effects of the gulf stream, we would be subjected to blizzards and sub zero teperatures for much of the winter. There has been speculation that the effects of global warming could lead to
the cessation of the warm water currents flowing from the Gulf of Mexico to northern latitudes. This is worrying. Much as I like snow, I have no desire to have my bollocks frozen for half the year.
I took the photograph above at the head of Loch Sunart. The mountain is called Garbh Beinn (in Gaelic), and is said to resemble a recumbent Queen Victoria, complete with bonnet. There is a profusion of wildlife along the lochside, including otters, herons, pine martens, and oystercatchers. It is a photographers paradise; the natural magnificence of the landscape accentuated by the clear northern light.
The Scottish mountains may not be particularly lofty, but are of a perfect scale in conjunction with the rest of the landscape. That this wild, empty environment is only two hours drive from the urban sprawl of Glasgow, and eight from London, never ceases to amaze me.
Apologies if this post has seemed like an advert for the Scottish Tourist Board. Sometimes hype is justified.

18 comments:

Wyndham said...

You're a lucky man, although down here we have, er, Kew Gardens. Doesn't it all kick off in The Wicker Man because the Gulf Stream stops working. Or something.

garfer said...

I don't recall anything in the Wicker Man concerning the gulf stream. There was a lot of dancing around in the nuddy, presumably to appease the pagan gods of fertility.
A very creepy film and justifiably a cult classic (even if Britt Eklands buttocks were in fact those of a body double).

Sniffy said...

Ah well, Summer Isle's success was based on the Gulf Stream and how it warmed the land to such an extent that tropical fruits could be grown there.

You obviously missed that bit because you were still thinking about Britt's body double's bum. have you heard the Sneaker Pimps' version of that song on Becoming X? It is excellent.

garfer said...

No, but the original soundtrack from the film is apparently very influential. Beats me why. All that dancing round a maypole, whittering on about faeries and the like, leaves me cold.

Sniffy said...

That's what I meant to tel you. Whilst wandering around the aisles of Waitrose in Wymondham, I arrived upon biscuits and other such confections. I was thrilled to see the full range of Tunnock's goods represented there. Almost took a photo, but my friends think I'm odd enough without doing that.

Back to your post. I think I've mentioned previously how jealous I am of your surroundings. I'd swap with you at the drop of a hat and become a townie tourist for a couple of weeks a year - that's about all I can cope with.

garfer said...

Yeah, it's an amazing place to live. Thankfully I can afford to get away to the city fairly frequently, so I have the best of both worlds.
The locals here who are on minimum wage or unemployed can't afford to go anywhere. It makes them very inward looking.

Sniffy said...

Most poor, relatively uneducated people tend to be rather inward-looking. This is true no matter where you go.

How's Oscar doing?

garfer said...

Oscar is absolutely fine. His outlook just depends on if the cancer returns.

cello said...

Lovely shot, Garfer. We stayed in Strontian last year. Have I got the right loch? Mind you, it rained forr three days without let-up, the hotel had no telly and we were forced to try and buy a VHS tape for one 9 year old going bonkers from playing too much Scrabble. We ended up having to drive all the way to the Woolies in Fort William. But fab place for bird-watching.

pissoff said...

Scotland is beautiful. (I know this because I've watched the "Highlander" a few times).

Actually, I've been there a couple of times but, unfortunately, didn't get out of the cities. There's another trip on my list.

MHN for short said...

Absolutely beautiful!

I have a couple of friends that just came back from a 2-3 week trip to England, Scotland & Ireland. They've been sending pictures. I'm ready to move.......NOW!

The scenery is just breath taking. I don't know how you can look at it with out sensory overload. That's how we felt when we went to Colorado, Washington, Oregon & Idaho. I had to close my eyes after a while because I could only take in so much of the beauty.

Rowan said...

looks beautiful (asi've always imagined it would) although cannot say I see a resemblance to Queen Victoria in any way there.

garfer said...

Cello
I think you must have been staying at the Ben View Hotel. No TV and wet weather is not a happy combination. They can't install tv in the rooms due to inadequate soundproofing. Still, there is always the bar.
April
I spent four months in British Columbia years ago. the scenery has to be some of the most spectacular on earth.
Mhn
The British Isles has a remarkable variety of scenery for such a small landmass.
Rowan
The resemblence to Queen Vic is hard to pick out on the photo, but is definitely there.

Sniffy said...

I too love the variety and the beauty of the British landscape, it is truly breathtaking in parts.

I guess other places have similarly beautiful places, but perhaps on a bigger scale. I remember being overwhelmed at how small I felt when I was in the Austrian Alps once. No doubt I'll feel very small when I'm smashed to smithereens in a plane crash in the Swiss Alps on Thursday.

garfer said...

I wish I was going to Rome.
I approve of Italians. They have a flair for everything, including corruption.

Danielle said...

Looks absolutely gorgeous! I'm sold...

cello said...

I think the hotel was called Kilcamb Lodge, Garfer. It does normally have telly, but the aerial was down!

garfer said...

The Kilcamb Lodge is quite posh. I know the chef. His food is superb. He could earn much more in Edinburgh or Glasgow but stays here because he likes it.