Friday, October 11th
This morning was the earliest I have begun my day since I have been in Scotland. The morning began beautifully. I was wired by a surging sense of both peace and excitement.
I awoke before dawn had broken night––before the sun peered through the trees like light awakening sleeping lids. Surprisingly, it was an easy morning to wakeup.
Soothed by a cup of peppermint tea before leaving the flat, I was warmed from the inside out and ready to face the chill in the air waiting outside my door. It was a refreshing and calming environment to step out into. A periwinkle pastel was painted across the sky and the wind was subtle––subtle enough to allow me to exhale a soft cloud into the dewy atmosphere. For a moment, I felt like the first person on the planet to see the day. I was enchanted before I had even gotten to the fairytale locations of the day.
Guided by Ross, our kilt-clad tour guide, along with Ross, our bus driver, we made our way out of town and into the Highlands.
When we arrived at the outskirts of Hermitage, we hopped off the bus and trekked downhill. Loose gravel from the parking lot soon turned into lose dirt beneath our feet as we deepened our path. Open sky changed into a canopy of trees, enveloping us into the forrest’s den.
Changing leaves sprinkled the damp floor, and fallen logs lined the bank, guiding us deeper and deeper into the house of green. Green, green, and more green! It was painted everywhere; moss lined the trees, a green-tinted ceiling made up of leaves loomed above our heads and shrubs enclosed us on either side as if textured walls. Narrow paths widened into a foyer of a meadow where small flowers spotted the green carpet. Fractured light mingled with the misty air, causing a sparkling dust to float around us, christening us as we entered this holy house of nature. Just beyond the arching bridge and through the stone tunnel, the grandest room of all displayed the magnificence that is Hermitage:
Black rocks stood boldly as white water rushed over and fell to the pool below. Foam bubbled at the bottom of the faucet’s end and rested gently at the sides of the pool. This is the place where beauty bathes.
Moss and mud were spread across the rock walls, creating murals worthy of marveling. Spring water floated stilled in small wells near the floor, as if the painter was still at work on the murals for Venus above.
Hermitage was––no, is a grove of wonder.
Somewhere along my tour through the “house” of Hermitage, I have a strong speculation that Venus’ son, Cupid, shot me with his arrow of ardor. This is the place I fell in love with Scotland.
The photo above is only one of the many that I took here in Hermitage, but you can review my album on Facebook for others.
I could tell you about Blair Castle, which was the other stop we made on day one, but in all honesty, Hermitage is the important one for me to write about.