by Hazel Jane - Scotland-based Independent Celebrant

Journal

Journeys | Kyle of Lochalsh

This is the story of a rare day.

Booked on a whim not 24 hours before, we wandered cautiously into the train station. The second weekend of January in the sprawling, snowy Scottish Highlands. Read: very very off-peak. One train there, one train back, and we didn’t even know what ‘there’ was.

The train was just two carriages, and almost completely empty. I had anticipated the worst: the train would be delayed, there would be no plug sockets (I am notorious for having a dead phone battery), it would be freezing cold, and we’d eventually grow bored of each other’s company . But this was a rare day, the kind where the universe says, ‘you’ve had a rough few moments, why don’t I remind you what the world really has to offer?’

Bliss doesn’t even cover it.

We were privy to views I thought only existed in countries much more exotic than our own. In this instance, I can only let the pictures do the talking, although they will never be able to communicate the way the air felt, or how the sunshine filled up the carriage as we paced through the highlands. As we excitedly pointed to deer and stags and a whole host of other wildlife, we struggled to process our emotions. You can’t just look at beauty like this. You have to write it down, make it into a song, create a poem, paint a picture. Unavoidable inspiration.

On arrival to ‘there’ (Kyle of Lochalsh) a friendly local pointed to us to the bridge. ‘Walk to Skye, and then have a drink. Call me when you’re done, I’ll taxi you back to the station.’ And we did just that. The cars crossing the bridge were few and far between, so it was ours to enjoy. At the highest point, we gazed silently over the railings. The world is bigger up there, and time slows down. I found space to think, and more importantly, to feel.

We stopped for a whisky in a pub that sat right on the water. Leaving my sweet friend nursing an Auchentoshan, the last of the daylight pulled me around the corner to finish my roll of film. There, I was met with a skyline plucked straight from a storybook. The full moon was nestled into the pink horizon, rising over the mountains as she has done since time began.

These rare days are some of the most important of our lives - they settle deep into your memories, and they are the stories you will share in years to come. When they do come along, dear friends, enjoy them in all of their brilliance.