NC500 – Day Eight
499.5 miles travelled and 4,266 steps
After a delicious homecooked Scottish breakfast with haggis, black pudding, and scone; we headed to Rogie Falls and our last stop before the road home. Rogie Falls are ten minutes outside Strathpeffer a series of dramatic waterfalls on the Black Water river. The falls are surrounded by forest walks and you can cross them by a rope bridge which makes for some great photos (when I plucked up the courage!) Apparently, in August and September you can see salmon jumping from the clear waters which also had me itching for a final dip. A short walk through the surrounding forests gave us a chance to look up at the tall Scots pine trees (what I imagined was being shipped as cargo back in Scrabster) and wonder how long they took to grow.
We didn’t do many forest walks this time so I placed another pin in the walks around Loch Maree at Slattadale and from Torridon.
And then we were in the car and starting the drive south. It felt strange to watch the compass spun around when I had spent so much of the journey watching us travel north. Stunning scenery continued to pass by our windows for a few hours to come but it felt bittersweet. I have never been so sad to leave a place in my life and it felt such a wrench to say goodbye.
Nine hours in the car gave me a good deal of time to think about this and why I felt so devastated. I don’t like to be a person who lives for holidays and I always want to bring back what I loved about my trip into my everyday life to make that the best it can be. But while I can bring back my excitement at drinking a cup of coffee in a café, and I can bring back bravery and adventure (JD has decided we are doing lots more weekend walks now we have the gear!), and I can bring back freedom from worry in the face of Nature’s power; all these things can only be shadows of the overwhelming emotions they were back in the Highlands. Where life really was more simple, more splendid, and more satisfying. So, I have become a girl who lives for her Highland holidays already planning my return to those pins in a few months’ time with JD at my side. Because I brought him back too having journeyed to a place together which neither of us will ever come back from. We left our hearts in Scotland but at least they have each other for company until we travel there again …