Over the last couple of days in Scotland, my brother and I have done about 20 miles of “walking” (hiking) in the Scottish Highlands.
We walked to a blustery mountain-top called Carn Liath.
The wind on Carn Liath was so strong that it knocked us off our feet on a couple of occasions (fortunately not close to any dangerous precipices!). But we were proud to bag our first Munro (one of about 500 peaks in Scotland over the height of 3000 feet).
We also walked through lush green forests.
We walked beside roaring waterfalls.
We walked alongside pristine lochs.
And we walked beside lovely little towns along the Atlantic and its estuaries. Through it all, it’s all felt like we almost have the country to ourselves! I appreciate the fact that we haven’t encountered any other international tourists during that entire time! We haven’t seen a single traffic jam, or even a traffic signal.
We’ve also enjoyed time with the lovely MacRae family (old friends from Amsterdam). And I don’t know quite how to describe it except to say that the MacRae home just feels very warm and welcoming.
Neil and Kate have lavished us with hospitality. Still, when the discussion veered towards the possibility of us staying a second night, they sincerely made it seem like it would be their pleasure to host us as long as possible, more like “Can you please stay a second night?” instead of “Are you planning to stay a second night?” Seriously, their hospitality has been inspiring!
Of course, there’s also been lots of conversation as brothers. Maybe not as profound or meaningful as I might have imagined, compared to the stuff we had to talk through when we were in Scotland seven years ago (when we were both going through major life transition). But the feeling of freedom and “elbow room” we’ve experienced has been amazing, and we’ve gotten to do it together. We’ve eaten good food. We’ve seen beautiful elements of God’s creation. It’s filled my soul on so many levels, like only the best of vacations can do, and I’m thankful for that.