The Great White Wave – Driving in Sutherland – From Home to End – 07




12:15am. Sutherland, Highlands.

Yesterday, w
e took a drive in the late evening dusk, on narrow mountain roads where blind corners lead to blind corners and a mistake means a fifty foot plunge into a loch or the ocean or rocks or some combination of the three. From there to single-track lanes through the valleys, cutting in and out of patches of mist. You could smell the sea on the air even with the mountains blocking it. Aphex Twin was on the radioit is essential to pick good music for a night driveand the beats of the Richard D James album shuddered at a suitable volume as we dropped on bumpy tracks into a great bowl between the hills.

We entered a vast landscape, nothing civilised but the road and us, no lights or street lamps, no buildings, just lochs and moorland on either side and a wall of fog running down into the basin ahead. It moved silent and steady, there was something ominous and beautiful about it, like a descending spaceship. We broke into it and found that this giant cloud was made of many smaller ones. Deep inside it became thick and eerie. The headlights shone a path only a few metres ahead. Visibility was just as good with them off. We slowed to a crawl and looked at the whiteness all around. We felt like the first people to witness lighting or to see the northern lights; lost in the great wave. Just as quickly as it enveloped us it receded and left us behind. When it was gone, we were left in a clear valley bordered by mountains. It looked naked and empty now in the darkness.

2018 Edit: On this trip I was listening to a lot of Eyedea. One of the tracks that stood out at the time (and still does) was Infrared Roses. The central theme of the song is the joy of a being a kid exploring and discovering the world and the fear as an adult that your best times, your peak, may already be behind you. I imagine its a common fear and probably a rational one given that most people spend their lives working basically shit jobs. In any case, I was having such a mad time on this adventure that I felt it pretty possible that this might be a high-water mark for me. There’s a note to that effect in the original journal entry. And it was pretty fucking good. But we did better still.


I’ll never forget me and Jake’s first roses trip together
Or the times when we all walked aimlessly through summer weather
With nothing better to do I rode to S. A. And tried to steal a pack of squares
Man I miss being a kid with no cares
Its the excitement of knowing everything you touch is new
I just wish I couldv’e stopped to cherish the moment while it lasted but
Maybe that’s the point, the second your smart enough to recognize freedom
You’re no longer free
You see heaven isn’t some place that we go to when we die
It’s that split second in life where you actually feel alive
And until the end of time, we chase the memory of that
Hoping the future holds something better than the past

— Eyedea

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Luke Smith

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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2 Responses to The Great White Wave – Driving in Sutherland – From Home to End – 07

  1. Pingback: Running on fumes in Skye – From Home to End – 12 | Journeys Through Pre-World War 3 Britain

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

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