By Sam King
It's hard to fully describe the feeling I get when I visit Scotland and the Highlands. There's always a natural pull for me to spend time there, just being outdoors. I have family roots there so it feels strangely homely even though I've never lived in Scotland. I don't know much about my heritage other than I have a couple of distant relatives still in the Orkney Islands. My Nan has told me stories of her family catching lobsters and storing them in the basement, and shown me old photographs of days where there was no wind and the washing on the line was hanging vertically—a normal sight for most people, but a novelty for those on Orkney. The Scottish are a hardy people, a trait I don't think I have. I've grown up in the South of England with warm weather and creature comforts, something you don't get very often in the depths of the Highlands.
Being in the Highlands gives me a sense of wonder that these are the lands my ancestors once traveled through. The effect is calming but also strangely primal, a subtle undertone of anxiousness, similar to how my ancestors must have felt looking for food or shelter. A feeling of comfort and discomfort at the same time. This is only compounded by the dense fog that rolls in over the mountains, suffocating the landscape. Your vision being impaired only heightens the anxious feeling. When it clears though, there's a wave of relief and the air feels crisp, filled with the smell of pines and firs.
The following images try to capture that feeling while showing the rugged beauty of this amazing landscape. Being both in awe and swarmed by the mountains and fog. An inviting yet hostile place.