From Home to End Complete – Adventures in the Highlands



This photo sums up my feelings about Scotland: “Scotland. Yes.”

This was a formative roadtrip for myself and my friends. Since visiting the Highlands a year previously, the place had captured our imagination like nowhere else. I couldn’t wait to go back and get into the wilderness again. Ben hadn’t visited yet, we’d told him about it but he only had an abstract sense of the Highlands. He hadn’t felt the place yet. This trip would be a chance to show him. And if it grabbed him like it did us, then I guess that would mean the Highlands really is as special as we thought and that those long trips down destitution roads, past lochs and mountains and scattered stone buildings left empty since the clearances, were powerful and touching.

The Highlands has started to feel like a distant and rugged home. I feel like a better and healthier human being when I spend time there. The truth of it is, I fell so in love with the Highlands that it quickly became a priority to return and daydreams about epic backpacking adventures in faraway lands were almost entirely binned. I’d discovered a place of immense beauty on my own landmass and going to others wasn’t nearly as appealing. It felt like I had already found the place I was looking for and so continuing the search would have been foolish.

This is a land where you can see the effect of time everywhere you look, where the landscape is in constant flux. Each weather front is a new dress for the mountains and valleys. This adventure bought us closest to the land and helped me solidify a lot of my personal philosophy on life and travel.

You’ll find all the entries for this particular roadtrip compiled here, so that you can check them out in order or direct yourself to any which catch your eye.

From Home To End: 

01 – Prologue. A snapshot of the journey beginning. Rolling living room on the motorways.

02 – A walk in a falling castle. Exploring abandoned Birkwood Hospital. Lesmahagow.

03 – An art gallery in a derelict school. Lesmahagow still.

04 – Escape from Loch Maree. The journey so far.

05 – Stranded in a cloud. Exploring Durness, Laid and Tongue

06 – Sleeping in the car. Thinking about time.

07 – Driving in Sutherland. Cutting through the clouded valleys.

08 –  Advertising. Smoo Cave and Indiana Jones.

09 – A phone call from the edge of this land. Documenting dialects and the importance of syntax to character.

10 – Camping on Ceannabeinne beach. Money and time running down. Meeting a generous six year old.

The Skye Chronicles:

11 – Poor kids in the rich part of Skye. Thoughts on Portree. Don’t go chasing waterfalls.

 12 – Running out of petrol in Skye. The Gods got our back.

13 – A ruckus on the streets of Portree.

14 – Racing a seagull. Our final joint. Watching the waves. Financial defeat.

Heading Home:

15 – Detour to Loch Long. Abandoned missile testing facility. Meeting our Glaswegian doubles. Fishing. Gangstas.

16 – Exploring derelict Camelot theme park. Encounter with a security guard. The melancholy reality of home.

What pieces have you been enjoying? What do you want me to cover more or less of in the future?

If you did enjoy this series, I’d appreciate any shares or comments. For future updates outside of this blog you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by,


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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4 Responses to From Home to End Complete – Adventures in the Highlands

  1. Thanks for posting the whole series – look forward to reading. I’ve wanted to visit the Highlands for a long time – some day I’ll get there.


  2. Dee says:

    Wonderful post. I dream of visiting Scotland and the highlands someday.. The landscapes are like nowhere else, and seem almost otherworldly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luke Smith says:

      It is absolutely otherwordly. I’ve been writing about the Highlands for years now and still haven’t captured the majesty of them yet. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Appreciate the support 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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