Truthfully I have never known much about Scotland before I visited it for the first time, except that Edinburgh, its lovely capital, is famous for its grizzly history and that J.K. Rowling, writer of the Harry Potter series, lived there. When I first landed in Edinburgh, my first thought was how absolutely green everything was, even though it was a gloomy winter morning. The air was cold and refreshing and for the first time in my life I felt I stepped in into a place where the past perfectly entwined with the present in a most beautiful way. Every day I learned more and more about its history and places so unique surrounded by mostly uninhabited wilderness.
In a society such as ours, dominated by technology and a fast-paced living, places like Scotland are rare gemstones, especially in the Western Highlands, where even the small coastal towns seem to re-live the distant past when darkness falls. The woodlands of Scotland have an eerie feeling about them when grey tridimensional clouds seem to cover them from all sides. I don’t think Scottish people realize how beautiful clouds are to foreigners in Scotland, but for someone like me, who comes from a place where in winter clouds form a uniform, homogenous vault and in summer the heat makes the sky seem milky white and light blue, the sights this northern country has to offer are almost surreal.
Of course, my imagination may be aroused by the fact that I have read a great deal about the history of Scotland, some of Robert Luis Stevenson’s books and almost everything I could get my hands on about the history of Edinburgh. It is indeed a place where imagination is easily summoned with such cultural richness and diversity of buildings or monuments with a profound historical background.
There’s so much to love about Scotland and especially for being different from the rest of Europe, including England, which has lost its essence in the battle against the myriad of different cultures that call it home. From my point of view, the ideal world is close to what northern and western Scotland is like – wild and thriving, where the environment is undisturbed by the tumultuous cities of the east. One other significant thing that makes this country special is its nearly 12 000 km long coastline which, for a future marine biologist, is a very precious thing. The temperate climate of the country, quite close to the Arctic circle, allows quite a few species to grow abundantly, compared to the tropics and subtropics, known for their diversity of species.
I always feel the need to go back to places like St. Andrews, Edinburgh or the Isle of Skye, but it’s the sea that essentially draws me in and adds up to the beauty of this country. From Edinburgh to Dundee the coast is predominantly sandy and the occasional haar (coastal fog) sometimes seems to swallow it up, yet from Dundee to Aberdeen the coast is dominated by high, steep rocks that can serve as screens into the deep geological past.
All in all, both inland and in coastal areas, seasoned with its gorgeous history and culture, the beauty of Scotland is undisputed and this is the true reason why I hold it dear. I have always appreciated things that are different, things that inspire me and places that are so unique that with time they have the potential to become bedrocks for one’s personality if they allow this ancient land to shape them as the seas have done with Scotland’s coastline for millions of years and will continue to do so long after its history will be forgotten.