Monday, Feb. 28th
I took a walk.
The scenery here rather warrants more exploration than back in Nebraska, and here you can actually walk places instead of having to drive. Places like the library, the shoreline, the post office, even Church. So I've certainly been doing more walking than usual.
This morning I walked up the hill to the south of Helmsdale, since the map said there was a path into the hills in that area. So I walked up and up and up. The view down to the sea and nearby hills was beautiful. We've had very nice weather so far. I did reach the footpath after a few twists and turns, and once I got past the gate I was truly in the hills.
I didn't want to come back the way I came, so to make things interesting I decided to walk off the path(taking comfort that there's only one poisonous snake native to Scotland and the monument for the last wolf killed is down the road) and down and around the hill to the highway that runs past the cemetery. Now, the hills are covered in bracken, which ranges from ankle to knee high. I also discovered that the hills are wet. Wet all over. There were miniature streams running down to a creek all over the face of the hills, but my boots held up pretty well. Anyway, it took me a long time to get to the other side of the hill and then down it once I got off the path, and when I got to the bottom I had to climb over a fence. Everything is fenced in here! Over the fence was the railway, and beyond that was the river, so I had to walk on the rail a ways(which is more risky here than in Nebraska) to get to the road which turned out to be the right one but still a long ways from the cemetery and thus the manse.
I'm not used to hills. I'm not used to walking long distances. I'm not used to walking up hills for long distances. No doubt tomorrow morning my legs will be stiff and unmovable. I won't be doing it again but I am glad I did it. Imagine two hundred and fifty years ago when my Scottish ancestors lived in this country and had to walk the hills like that. Completely quiet and solitary, and utterly brown. No wonder the Scots are famously dour.