When considering the most breathtaking travel moment I’ve ever had, I’m reminded of the movie Blade Runner, and Roy Batty’s “tears in rain” monologue. The dying replicant’s soliloquy recalls the incredible moments of glory in his artificial life, such as attacking ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I too can remember some amazing things which I’ve been lucky to witness. I’ve walked on the Sahara’s golden sand, where no life dared to thrive, and camped under a peach and crimson sunset. I’ve crept quietly through a dark Australian rainforest, infested with snakes and scorpions, with only moonlight to show me the way.
I’ve ascended a mystical mountain in China, where ancestral ghosts dance with icy clouds, and marvelled at the bustling metropolis of New York, from atop the World Trade Center.
I’ve seen a smoking volcano in Costa Rica, surrounded by Jurassic plants and multi-coloured birds of paradise, and was hypnotised by the ripples of a cerulean sea, hiding Atlantis from the cliffs of Santorini.
However, of all the inspiring views and vistas I have seen, none match the raw beauty of Bonnie Scotland. I have seen so many things in Scotland which have taken my breath away. Mist enshrouded castles, herds of red deer in Glencoe, leaping salmon at the Falls of Shin, and the snow capped mountains I photographed from a lonely boat on Loch Tay.
I’ve seen a fighter jet up close as it roared past my bedroom window, in Sutherland’s Carbisdale Castle, and I’ve seen the worried expression on my co-pilot’s face, as I myself flew a plane over the green expanse of Lanarkshire.
Most recently I enjoyed something even more breathtaking, on an exhausting march to the top of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn. At 797 metres above sea level, this noble member of the Glenkens is the second highest in North Galloway, and one of the mightiest sentinels guarding the Southern Uplands.
The glorious hill walk began with my friend and I setting off from The Green Well of Scotland, a place where local legend tells of a pot of gold being stashed. I would believe the legend, as a vibrant rainbow arced across the rainy sky above us, and almost pointed to the treasure. This magical place oozes with charm, luck and good fortune.
Walking on and upwards past sheep and cows. Past sparkling rivers, and Autumnal leaved trees. Past heather cloaked foothills and up into the lofty domain of Red Kites, circling the heavens. Battling the ever tilting gradient of the land, we struggled up and up and up towards the realm of ancient gods. Until, with panting euphoria, we reached the stony summit of Cairnsmore, and cooled in the welcoming chill of cloud cover.
There was at times an eerie atmosphere at the top of this monster hill, as a gusty wind played its whistling symphony. It was landscape straight out of a fantasy film, and I half expected to see a fire snorting dragon emerge from a nest of rocks.
The view of all the surrounding glens and valleys was, as Americans say, awesome. As far as the eye could see, we found it difficult to see any form of civilisation, save for an occasional windmill or farm wall. We experienced windy tranquillity, and sky clad peace. This moment was truly uplifting, and a memory
I will never forget.