Among the iconic images of Scotland presented in parts 1 and 2 have been the Queen, castles, churches, quaint villages, pipers and dancers, and ancient stones and cairns. But other images represent Scotland as well. In this final post which pictures Scotland we start with something always in the mind of the Scots who are never further than 80 miles from sea wherever they are in Scotland.
|Portree Harbour, Isle of Skye|
Ringing the country are small picturesque harbours where in past times fishing fleets set seeking schools of Atlantic herring (the silver of the sea) or haddock.
Still today those harbours are homes to smaller fleets who now fish for langostines, crabs, lobsters, cod, haddock, herring, mackerel, monkfish, and hake. Many of the harbours have become filled with personal fishing boats or pleasure yachts. The harbours at Crail and Stonehaven on the east coast are the epitome of quaint ports.
|Kirkwall, Main Island, Orkney|
Larger harbours at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands and Oban on the west coast, though larger, still retain a special Scottish feel.
Since the sea is so ingrained in Scottish life it is no wonder the beaches,
|Balnakeil Beach, Durness (in the far Northwest)|
lonely and isolated, represent Scotland so much that they became the subject of a movie. Local Hero, the 1983 film starring Burt Lancaster and Peter Riegert, also stars the desolates beaches of Scotland.
|Sango Sands on the Atlantic|
|Sinclair's Bay Beach and Sinclair's Castle on the North Sea by Wick.|
All along the coasts of Scotland you can find stretches of beach which are both lovely and empty.
Harbours and beaches are just a small part of the Scotland picture. The larger picture includes the glens, straths or valleys,
|Glen Etive near Glencoe|
the lochs, the Highland mountains,
|Lochawe and Beinn Bahlgairean|
and the hills
|Wasllace Monument and Ochill Hills|
--the broad vistas of an ancient land (some of the oldest land on earth). These images tell the story of the hardiness of the people who lived on and worked the land.
|Near Talisker Distillery on Isle of Skye.|
And for today’s tourist these are the images that will burn into their memory, both in the mind and in the camera.
One thing that helped the Scots survive the cold, harsh, dreich, wet, Scottish climate--and the cold, harsh English rule
--is uisge beatha, the Water of Life, Scotch whisky (without an “e”). Iconic are the images of whisky barrels and warehouses, copper pagoda chimneys, and copper pot stills.
|Highland Park Distillery, Orkney|
|Lochranza Distillery, Isle of Arran|
|Highland Park Distillery|
The mixture of water, yeast, and barley aged to perfection in oak barrels for ten or more years is the elixir of the gods, at least to many.
|Andrew Cuthbert, my whisky contact at J.L.Gill Whisky Shop in Crieff.|
Whisky shops also make a pretty picture, shelves lined with the bottles I’d love to take home.
And finally in this discussion of representative images of Scotland are the people.
|Tearoom conversation, Kirriemuir.|
The typical Scot is the heart and soul of the country, but there are many who stand out--I’m stretching to call these iconic,
|Edinburgh local, Royal Mile|
but they do come to my mind when I think of the Scotland I’ve visited 23 times in the past thirteen years.
|More Edinburgh locals.|
|Street Study in Black and Red|
Whether you’ve been to Scotland or not, what are the images that come to your mind when you hear a Highland pipe band playing “Scotland the Brave” or see a lone piper in full regalia playing “Amazing Grace?”
|Sunset in Oban Harbour|
Next: A series of travel vignettes, perhaps fodder for a new book.