Aye, the highlands of Scotland. You read about them, fancy yourself galloping across them with William Wallace, and perhaps spoil a good walk near them (i.e., play a round of golf in the Mark Twain sense). For me, I admired them up close.
To be honest, I can’t imagine a good walk spoiled in the highlands. On a summer day in 2005 I hopped into my Vauxhall Corsa, remembered to drive on the left, and headed north from where I was living in Edinburgh, Scotland. The drive itself was amazing, in part because the day started off a wee bit foggy – actually almost completely immersed in clouds – but blossomed at the most opportune moment.
And that moment was the Pap.
The Pap of Glen Coe is the mountain you see above to the left. It gets its name from the conical shape resembling a female breast (apparently the Scottish winters were quite dreary and imaginations were active). The Pap sits in the valley created by Glen Coe above the point where River Coe enters Loch Leven. Nearby is the intriguing Bidean nam Bian mountain ridges, including the famous Three Sisters of Glen Coe.
To say that these views were awe-inspiring is to engage in severe understatement. The glen has a distinctive U-shape, the result of glacial action during a past ice age. The area is what is left of an ancient supervolcano, long since gone extinct but imposing nonetheless.
I lingered in the Glen, admired the Pap, marveled at the mossy grass that seemed greener than naturally possible. My mind hiked high into the mountains, though my feet stayed closer to the narrow road. I took hundreds of photos that day, most of which are unfortunately lost due to the vagaries of my computer hard drive. But the memories remain with me as if it was yesterday.
Until next time, my bonny lass. Until next time.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is scheduled for release in summer 2017.