Invergordon, beautiful Scotland

9 May

I have been aboard the ABC RypMeOff for nearly two weeks, and every day I like this journey a little less. The low quality of the food, cabins, and entertainment that ABC Cruises provides to the crew, combined with the great stress and the long work hours make for a terrible work experience. However, every port day shines a light on my job of cruise photographer, and today’s is as bright as any I’ve ever seen.

As a Folk musician and autumn enthusiast I have always been enthralled by Scotland’s land and people, even though I never actually visited England’s cold cousin. Today we landed in Invergordon, a pretty port town on the Western coast of Scotland, and despite the lack of snow and live music this stop has promptly reinvigorated my love for this beautiful country.

low tide at the port of Invergordon, Scotland

Invergordon unites industry, scenery, and shiny happy people.

The town itself is cute enough, with its cobblestone streets, the long rows of tile-roofed houses, and the genuine “Northern Village Feeling” that is spread by its inhabitants. Since the skies are blue and the air fresh I stride past the Medieval church and the flower-encased funeral home, and proceed towards the hills and fields that border the barely used roads of Invergordon.

The World-War Memorial is lined with old benches and a rusty dark iron fence. However, some of the flowers are fresh, and the Gaelic inscription is fairly legible. Bird calls in half a dozen dialects sound from the wild forest that lies beyond the grave of an unnamed number of soldiers – even in sight of the inhuman sacrifice of war life continues to shine in a multitude of colours. Only a knee-deep trench separates the old forest from the improvised road that measures barely two spans across. Deep and dense are the woods that stand mostly undisturbed for hundreds of years. No-one dares conquer the thick underbrush, none but the birds. Endless fields of a yellow crop spread over the unforested hills before me, only broken apart by an ancient system of narrow gullies and tree-lined roads.

yellow fields in Invergordon, Scotland

This is the landscape that has won my heart. I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to live.

The air smells of flowering rye and damp hay; a very welcome experience after the stale breath of the cruise ship. Every so often the wind carries the baritone rambles of white-gloved men towards me, but these are quickly swallowed by the sounds of chirping grasshoppers and their avian predators. Even the golf course seems to blend in with the hill-covered landscape; an oil painting of the suburban Celtic highlands that stands in wonderful harmony with itself. I am almost disappointed when the few Scots that I meet along the way greet me with a friendly “Ay Ay” or “Good Morrow”. The Scotsmen in my mind are scrawny, rude lumberjacks, and seeing them dispelled into these friendly fellows somehow betrays my prejudices.

The idyllic hills beyond Invergordon are decorated with yellow fields, red-roofed houses, and the occasional green-brown forest. I begin to understand why the Celtic highlands have spawned so many poets. Despite the turmoil that the industrialised world finds itself in there are still places where men and nature are at ease with themselves. In sight of daily the struggle for survival aboard a cruise ship that neither recognizes my potential nor honours my efforts this brief trip into the heartlands is my little vacation.

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