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A Scotland Rendezvous, Chapter 4

The geology of Scotland is very complex, I learned, and this complexity manifests itself in the Highlands.

The highlands of Scotland

It’s all because of Continental Drift, which through the aeons of time created this composite of various land masses that have been grafted on to it.

There was also an extensive period of volcanism (lava flows and plutonic uplift), which produced such geologic wonders like the promontory upon which sits Edinburgh Castle. Want more proof? Take the famous 10,000+ year old Loch Ness, for example. It’s a long, deep lake, which is part of a rift valley system. It’s all this complex geology that gives Scotland its rugged appearance with many hills, valleys and lochs. So geology is the bedrock (so to speak) of Scotland’s rugged landscape.

All this gets geologists giddy, and guess who I was spending the week with–a geologist. (So don’t think I managed those first few paragraphs here without any help. )

Among the many things I learned about this man I was with for the week (what I call the world’s longest first date), was that he knew gobs about geology, and as I learned more about him I also became more schooled about Scotland. I had never met this man before and I had never met Scotland before, so both were blind dates. It’s no wonder that as we journeyed through the Highlands, my fascination of Scotland grew while my heart grew fonder of my geologist tour guide.

Loch Ness. So why can’t there be a monster?

Steve at Loch Ness

Standing next to Loch Ness

When I met the Loch Ness for the first time I couldn’t resist tapping into the childish part of me, where I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I saw the Loch Ness Monster here too!” There is no such thing, I know, but I couldn’t help thinking of it, because why not? The whole idea of rendezvousing with a man in a foreign country is also the stuff fairy tales are made of and I was walking around in that dream too, so of course there’s the possibility of seeing the Loch Ness Monster.

And I’m sure the little hamlet of Brigadoon was around somewhere too.

Ullapool, Scotland

We eventually made our next stop in the little town of Ullapool, which has a strong gaelic influence. We checked in to a bed and breakfast that overlooked a lake and walked around the town, and we soon learned had a reputation for being a center for music and the arts. Even on TV (I’m always fascinated by what’s on the television when I visit a new country) had a Gaelic channel. I couldn’t understand a thing anyone was saying, but then again, if someone from Scotland starts to speak English to me in their native accent too fast I might as well be listening to Latin. I’m completely lost.

Where we stayed in Ullapool

We found a pub where we ordered fish, of course, since it was a fishing village and afterward, we walked along a pathway near the water as we tossed out more questions to each other. There was a sense of urgency for the week–in getting to know as much about each other as we could. “Where’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?” “How many brothers and sisters do you have?” “What’s your favorite food?” “What was your most embarrassing moment?”

Stoer Head Lighthouse

Visiting the Stoer Head Lighthouse on the Stoer Peninsula in Scotland was a true highlight. This lighthouse was built by David and Thomas Stevenson—of the Stevenson dynasty—who were responsible for building most of Scotland’s lighthouses.

Stoer Head Lighthouse on the Stoer Peninsula in Scotland

Safe and sound in the Highlands

We spent our time in the highlands driving around the more rugged terrain, taking roads that were only wide enough to fit a small compact car. I must admit that I was impressed as Steve navigated the winding road, especially as an oncoming car approached. Why do things like that make a woman swoon? No accidents. No collisions. This man kept me safe.

This beginning of falling in love with a geologist opened a whole new perspective for me. It wasn’t just about castles and lighthouses or a famous loch, but learning about the geology, expanding my vision of the land. As we journeyed through the highlands, the part of Scotland that was the cliche–the rolling green hills lined with sheep–turned into something that resembled a moon scape, and I wondered if I would ever come back to earth again.

To get perspective, look at the tiny trailer/camper (the white speck) in the photo.

Go on to the next chapter.