Scottish Beauty and her beasts


The Glengorm Castle on the Isle of Mull


by cheri

When the eyes come upon a scene that causes the heart to fill with joy and perfect calm, we experience pure beauty, an aesthetic and bursting rush of love and awe that dizzies the senses.

I feasted my eyes on such a scene last Sunday on the Isle of Mull in bonnie Scotland.

The Isle of Mull takes more than a wee bit of effort to visit–driving four hours on a fast and twisting road, straining at each curve, hoping another car will not lurch around the corner in your lane, and arriving in the charming harbor town of Oban to board a massive ferry.

On the Isle of Mull, most of the roads are single-track. One lane with little turnouts that meanders on for miles, just the way to find a people-less land full of innocent animals whose world is green and lush.

We follow the path to the sea  into Nature’s nursery.

There, such  symbols of innocence, the lambs, frolicked freely among the rich grasses and woolly lasses that are their mothers.






I do not eat lamb and on this day, one in which the bounty of the environs humbled my spirits, I am proud to say that I could wholly enjoy these sweet little creatures without any personal regret.

Our footsteps were almost silent, save for the swishing of the grasses and an occasional step into the recesses of a muddy bog. The Scottish mist, almost haunting, moved in as we approached the sea. Around the corner of a rock-outcropping came we–right into a small herd of Highland cattle!

They were very accommodating, moving off the trail for us to pass by.

I can still hear their precise shearing of the grass, their chewing, their movement onto higher ground. Gentle bovine giants, these sweet cattle.




The experience is still with me, sharing a morning with such lovely living things, spending time in silence, and welling up in contemplation of  the grand scheme of it all.

Scotland is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced.


About Cheri

Writer, photograph, artist, mother, grandmother and wife.
This entry was posted in Life, My photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Scottish Beauty and her beasts

  1. Brighid says:

    Scotland and Ireland are the two places I want to see in this life. Thank you for taking me on a piece of your journey.

    • Ladybugg says:

      I am so pleased that you enjoyed the photos, Brighid. I have never been to Ireland but hope to go in the future. After this brief stay in Scotland, I will be back to see the Highlands and the Shetland Islands, not to mention almost every other part of this country, full of the friendliest people I have encountered on any international trip. Let me add (for Richard) that many of the friendly people have been English, whose border is not far from where we are staying at this moment.

  2. You took me back to Scotland with your lovely photos and words. We did not go to Mull, but we experienced similar beauty throughout the highlands. The green is a shade that no painter can capture, accented of course by sheep, sheep, and more sheep. We can enjoy it all vicariously through your eyes.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Thank you Kayti. We took your advice and have been enjoying smoked fish and the cheeses from Mull. Ron has had a fair number of fish and chips dinners….

  3. shoreacres says:

    I’ve only learned of those cattle in the past year or two, and they seem almost magical to me. I think it’s because they remind me of the film, “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” They certainly are memorable.

    The green is equally magical, of course. I’m curious about the blue markings on the sheep. Does it denote ownership, or “shear this one!” or some such?

    That horizon just unrolls, doesn’t it? One beautiful valley after another. What a blessing to be able to see such things.

    • Ladybugg says:

      It truly is a blessing that I have thought about each day. The Highland cattle (all five of them) were, how to describe, both comic and stately. There was a calf (perhaps I will post the picture) who blocked the path. His mother completely ignored him, eating to her heart’s delight. I was like a small child out there with these beasts. Truly, I did not want to go back to the car.

      I do not know why some lambs had blue spray on their coats. Others had reddish-orange. I really don’t want to think about what that marks means…
      Perhaps it means boy or girl?

      • Richard says:

        I think the paint indicates which ewes have been covered. The paint is applied to the belly of the ram.

        A bit like “lipstick on your collar”, in reverse.

  4. Richard says:

    A beautiful and deeply personal post that tells so much more than a catalogue of places visited or diary of events and speaks of the grandeur in simplicity.

    Four hours’ difficult drive there and four back plus two long ferry crossings, all in a few days! Your stamina is phenomenal.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Without you Richard and Glenys and Al, we never would have seen this magical place. Yes, deeply personal and oh so difficult to express in words.

      Ron is the one with stamina. I just go along, sometimes shocked at his reserve.

  5. Christopher says:

    These pictures portray such bucolic serenity, they could be of the Hereafter, as represented in 18th-century paintings, and described in Christian literature, and evoked by foam-flecked preachers.

    “….I do not eat lamb……”

    I’m glad to hear of this.

    Does your eschewing (sic) of the flesh of lamb – and I assume of the flesh of sheep also – extend as well to the flesh of cattle, like those grazing on the hillside?

    • Ladybugg says:

      I knew that someone would ask this question the minute I included the pictures of the cattle. I do not eat babies, so I would never eat veal.

      I realize that argument is entirely lame. I eat chicken, fish, and on occasion, beef. There is no consistency or logic here.

      Let me tell you the story of my giving up lamb forever.

      We were driving to San Luis Obispo one weekend. On the right of the highway by Jolon, Steinbeck country, we passed an enormous field with what must have been 1000 very ripe sheep, ready to give birth.

      Several weeks later, we passed the same scene, only this time each ewe had an adorable black or white lamb at her flank. Some ewes had twins. It was a glorious sight to see, Christopher.

      A short time later, we passed this part of the highway and all, I mean all, the lambs had been taken from their mothers. The field was defiled for me.

      That was it. I felt sick. I never ate lamb again.

      • Christopher says:

        This is a graphic story, showing there’s nothing like seeing the reality, to shock one into changing one’s habits.

        One of the Beatles – John or Paul, I forget which – famously said, that if abattoirs had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.

        I, for what it’s worth, have, over the last 30 years, eaten the flesh only of fish and fowl, and these only as little as is convenient, although I know I should give them up entirely, and may yet do so.

        To would-be vegetarians, but who balk because of the perceived inconvenience, I always say, You don’t have to give up eating the flesh of non-humans entirely. Just eat less of it, maybe only half. You’ll have better health if you do, and, if you talked your friends into doing this also, and they talked their friends into doing this as well, the world would be a more humane and therefore happier place.

        But…… listens. Come to think of it, I seem to have less friends than before…….

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