Once upon a time, giants and witches (and wizards) roamed a wee piece of land known as Scotland. They lived in relative harmony, until the giants decided they no longer had to watch where they stepped and started squashing witches (and wizards) left and right. This, as you can imagine, caused a bit of a problem for the witches (and wizards). These magical beings called a gathering to figure out what to do about their giant problem. After much deliberating, they decided to combine all of their magical powers and use them to defeat the giants, once and for all ridding the land of such a plague. Some among them dissented, wishing to keep their magic for themselves, to keep living a hidden and perilous existence alongside the giants.
The rest of the witches (and wizards) gathered up their powers and, with them, slew the giants. The magic they used was so great and powerful that not a single giant was left standing – but it came at a cost. The witches (and wizards) had used up every last drop of their magic, and so they became mortals. Humans. And as the giants fell to the ground they shook the earth, and their bodies, too big to move without magic, became a part of the landscape. Today, if you look out the window while you’re driving, or scan the horizon from the top of a munro, you might see a funnily shaped hill or landmass, one that looks like it could almost be a giant’s arm, or foot.
(A sleeping giant?)
And what of the witches (and wizards) who didn’t use their magic to defeat the giants, who stole away and kept their powers for themselves? Well, their descendants are still roaming the lands today, giving Scotland just the wee bit o’ magic you see nearly everywhere you go.
An Deireadh. (“The End” in Scottish Gaelic. At least according to Google).
A tour guide told us this story while on a tour around Glasgow a few days ago. I couldn’t find much more about it on Google, so he may have made it up – but whether or not he did, I think it perfectly captures the magic of Scotland. I wanted to start this post off with it, because this week was a particularly magical one (even if it didn’t start off that way).
I hurt my ankle at the beginning of this week. Not badly, but in a walking city any ankle injury is bad news. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think it was some combination of wearing my new Sperrys and my jeans getting bunched up inside my sock and pushing against my ankle – whatever it was, I bruised my ankle and possibly my tendon and didn’t get to do much exploring of the city. Thank goodness for Epsom salts, ice packs, and online grocery ordering and delivery.
Despite this minor setback, I did still manage to do some fun stuff this week. I went to a whisky tasting (yes, that’s WHISKY without the e, because Americans are wrong), had my first aerial dance class, and tried Indian food for the first time.
I didn’t say I liked whisky, I said I tried it.
And I saw more foxes. Foxes are apparently the pest equivalent to raccoons here, but that doesn’t make seeing one flash across the sidewalk in front of you at night any less magical. I have a theory that foxes may be a faerie’s preferred form, because every time I see a fox run across my path, I look to see where it’s headed – but it’s gone. Vanished. Even that one time it was running down the middle of the street and there shouldn’t have been anywhere for it to go. So. Foxes = faeries. The magic of Scotland.
Saturday was without a doubt the most magical day of the week – of my entire time here so far. A couple friends and I went on a tour of the town of Oban and the Isle of Seil, both of which are situated in the southern highlands. Driving through the highlands, the landscape was unreal. Like, it actually didn’t look real. The hills and munros (Scottish word for mountains) rising into the fog, the brass and golden grasses sweeping across the countryside, the craggy rocks peeking out and dotting the hills. And, of course, the sheep. Sheep everywhere.
There really aren’t words to describe the beauty and magic of this trip and the places we explored, so instead here are some photos:
Chilling in Scotland’s answer to the Colosseum, as one does.
This forest in Oban is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. We were basically in faerie land. Also we found a rope swing.
Apparently, in Scotland, an “easy 15 minute hike” means a steep hike up the side of a very muddy cliff that yes, sure, only took 15 minutes.
While this week wasn’t without its hardships (more on that in a later blog post in which I talk about Goals and The Like, but suffice it to say I don’t deal all that well with change), it’s hard to be down for long in such a beautiful and magical place as this.
Carry on, Scotland.
P.S. I’m attempting to make butternut squash risotto for dinner tonight wish me luck I’ll need it.