Escape from Loch Maree – From Home to End 04

loch maree

Wester Ross

In the past few days we’ve been escorted off the grounds of a haunted castle by a friendly Scotsman and his dogs—security guards aren’t all assholes—we’ve tried to nap by a waterfall in the early hours, only for our thoughts to converge on the same notion at the same time; we can’t sleep, we should go the fall’s edge and baptise ourselves in the water. After that, we drove on and past an MOD base and some overgrown World War 2 sea defenses, now the centrepieces in a cow field. The same night, in one heroic and almost constant ascent north, we came around a curve in the road and appeared behind a startled badger, who swerved in the headlights, confused and panicked by the car. We slowed down and he rushed into the foliage. The three of us went through more mountains and valleys than I can remember. Each as complex as a face or a fingerprint. All lost somewhere in whatever part of my brain processes images.

Eventually, we set up camp in the familiar wilderness around Loch Maree, where we were attacked and swarmed by hundreds of midges. A war of attrition. A constant bombardment. After a few days, they’d won, we packed up and retreated to a campsite down the road, covered in bites and suffering low spirits.

I’ve never been more pleased to escape somewhere beautiful.


We ask each other almost every day, sometimes over and over again, is this place real? Is this really Scotland—the same island we’re from? It can’t be. We figured at some point during our travels something ripped a hole between universes and we ended up somewhere else entirely. Somewhere that still has remote places and long empty roads. An insane parallel reality where we don’t build on every free green space we find.
Here the sun never goes all the way down. It waits just below the ocean. You see murky orange from the western horizon all night. Midnight feels like a late sunset back home. The early hours merge as they pass and they have the dark blue of an English summer’s late evening. When it should be pitch black over the Highlands you can still walk through the woods by an eerie natural light.

The night is too bright for stars.

roadtrip resize

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About Luke Smith

I travel around and write about it. When I'm not travelling around, I write about whatever seems meaningful to me at the time; these are usually meditations on current events, finding ways to survive the crushing existential grind of modern civilisation or vaguely philosophical musings.
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6 Responses to Escape from Loch Maree – From Home to End 04

  1. Isabelle says:

    I haven’t been to Scotland, not yet. The British Isles are high on the list. I lived in Leeds and London years ago and have a passion for the language, culture and history of the UK. The sunset described in the post is beautiful, the sun doesn’t quite go down, not completely. The night is too bright for stars. How magical. Like a dream. Thank you for sharing this marvellous moment!


    • Thank you. I hope I captured the moment appropriately. There’s a lot in Britain’s favour, although sometimes I’m not sure the British are one of those things. Miserable bunch, I think, generally speaking. That said, we do have a very interesting history and culture. There are some mindblowing spots away from the cities and some beautiful cities too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. twobrownfeet says:

    You got my attention with ‘haunted castle’. 🙂 I don’t know if I believe in life on the other side of death. I would never want to take a chance though. Did you or your friends experience an ‘otherworldly’ presence during your stay? It would make a good story.
    It’s interesting how a little exploration can take you to a whole new world. I suppose, the parallel universe theory is a proven fact for the intrepid traveller. 🙂


    • Haha. The Daily Mail would have you believe ghosts tore it down in response to building work of which they disapproved. Funny idea that a ghost would hate renovations so much he rips down a whole wing of his castle (castle is now partially collapsed).

      Couldn’t agree more about new worlds and exploration. None of us experienced anything supernatural, besides some real happiness, which can sometimes seem paranormal as shit in the modern world…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, it all looks so beautiful!


  4. Pingback: From Home to End – Adventures in the Highlands | Journeys Through Pre-World War 3 Britain

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