Wildlife. Fake forests in the Highlands. Graveyards for trees.
One evening, I think the day after visiting the lighthouse, we had trouble finding anywhere to park up for the night. We were in rolling valleys, the road at the lower-most point had rises on either side that tracked up into mountains. Eventually we came to an area at the side of the road—a main road, though just as desolate as most in the Highlands, especially at night—that was set aside for tourists to stop and check the views. Outside, the rain left a shiny film along the tarmac. The sounds were of trickling water and drops against glass. To our left was a herd of deer; they ran off, nothing more than dark shadows on the hill side.
Wild animals could be found all around Scotland. On one occasion I had to get out of the car to chase a rabbit off the road. We crawled along behind it for some time. When we moved so did it but when we stopped, it halted carelessly and waited for the engine to start up again. Eventually, we gave up hope that it would run off on it’s own volition and so I got out and chased it into the undergrowth. Then the car continued down that lane, headlights on chewed up tarmac.
Another defining feature of our trip was the forests. Scotland is heavily wooded and has some of the oldest forests in Europe. However, modern Scotland is a logger’s wet dream. We past countless clear cuts; graveyards for wild nature. To kill a forest is also to deprive forest dwellers of habitat. It has an impact besides for the deaths of the trees. Driving around we found that most of the forests we could see were fake. Which is to say, walking through them you’d notice the ground was very unsteady, full of mossy bumps. These were the remains of the last generation of trees, planted in a perfect grid. Now nothing but trip hazards. In short, you’d realise you were strolling through a forest farm, the floor littered with the dead of harvests past.
The forests that we saw were almost all these fake arrangements. Especially obvious because many of the woods consisted of the exact same type of tree. This was a little heartbreaking. When we realised, it caused us to look back on times exploring Scottish wilderness; it left us wondering whether what we’d been enjoying was genuine. Most intriguing were the areas that were allegedly protected under this act or by that government body. They were just as clearcut and fake as the others. It begged the question, what were they protecting these places from; environmentalists?