The North West Highlands, the place where I live and work, a fairly remote corner of the UK with one of the most unpredictable climates. You can literally have four seasons in one hour, never mind a day. It changes, frustrates, inspires but is never ever boring!
I haven’t worn a waterproof jacket, or actually a jacket for months… literally! While the rest of the country has been grinding to a halt, sodden and cold, we, in our own wee micro-climate in the NW Highlands have been enjoying a lot of sun, warm breezes, not having to cut the grass and best of all very few midgies – despite recent reports in the national press reporting an increase of 450% in numbers in Gairloch! There has not been much water, nice not to to have to wear wellies to walk, and in several places, including here, it is now in pretty short supply – a rare occurrence for an area re-knowned for lush greens and flowing burns, not so great for the hungry animals though. Maybe after a long grey winter, someone decided it was our turn for a bit of Vitamin D, hijacked the bright stuff and deposited it here for safe keeping….has anyone noticed? Not sure, the beaches don’t seem to be as busy as usual, nor the usually frustrating summer roads. Has the doom and gloom forecast in the media finally managed to persuade everyone that there really is no money to be spent, or anywhere bright to go in the UK, or have all the “national events” that have dominated the year so far worn everyone out?
Once you step out of surburbia and the pressure of keeping up with “society”, you might discover that a trip to the wonderfully stunning west coast might just refresh you, revitalise you, and make you realise that life is for living…it carries on regardless..Inspiration is just a step away and you don’t need to be an artist to be inspired!
One of the nicest aspects is that the weather, although mainly dry and pleasant, has been variable…some days shades of grey, some brighter, some with an eerie mist to start off the day, that is the beauty of Scotland…not knowing what you will wake up to in the morning.
Will it last, who knows, I have a group of international artists coming for a two week residency, Ceangal, in September…..so it is a nail biting wait to see what mother nature might throw our way. I hope they are as awed as I am by this place. One of the reasons for organising the project is that I want to encourage more to share some of the inspiration found here, though they may need to return for some time to experience it fully! I have lived in the Highlands my whole life, and it never ceases to amaze me!
The forecasters say the jetstream has moved north and so we might be moving back to the weather traditionally expected, but for now, we are enjoying the ride. So, if you fancy a wee “staycation”, then I would suggest the west is definitely the place to be – photos really don’t do it justice unfortunately. You need to feel the wind, smell the sea, taste the mist….