Saturday, September 13, 2008

View from Betty Hill Hotel

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Yesterday offered up a late summer golden afternoon so delicious that it had to be enjoyed. We obliged by a drive into the west, which if you are familiar with this blog, you know means more into the country. The day was warm, the sun is still long in the sky although the days are getting noticeably shorter. All the more reason to enjoy the sun while it is here.

The green of the open hills is beginning to bronze as the bracken turns brown, the reeds start from their green-brown into their red-brown phase. The heather is still blooming here and there but the lush oceans of purple are now more like tidal pools.

Beyond the village of Reay, past Halladale and Portskerra, the car is warm, the traffic is light--unless you count the squadron of three ewes who took over the left lane just before the road became a single track. Once onto the single track, I knew the road belonged to the sheep and so gave up any claim to right of way or the rules of the highway code, which the sheep have not read.

Betty Hill, supposedly named for Elizabeth Sutherland, was a clearance village. Now it has a wee shop, a post office, a pool and fitness center, and a hotel. Betty Hill has one of the most beautiful beaches you will see anywhere--the photo above does not do it justice. The hotel overlooks the beach. When we stopped for tea, the hotel was full of bicyclists enjoying the day.

In the past we have met surfers there. Thurso, Betty Hill and the areas around here are becoming known now among surfers. The surfers we met described the beach in terms of wave production and, I guess, surfability.

As we lingered in the warm sun of the large bay window overlooking the beach through dinner and coffee, I watched the change in the beach. At first the waves were as active on the little bay as on the larger beach. In time that moved from waves to winkling--wavelets like a sigh. As the sun dropped toward the hills, the winkling gave way to a mirror flatness. By the time we left, the bay had swallowed the sun and only the submerged glimmer remained.

As we drove back home, the sheep had settled into an early evening of conversation in groups settling in for sleep. The night shift, the birds of prey, were just warming up for their time in the twilight. The softer light subordinated the bronze to the rich green of the heather and the gorse.


At 8:52 AM, Blogger TerriRainer said...

I live vicariously through your beautiful descriptions!

The picture is gorgeous and I'm glad you got to enjoy the day.

:) Terri

At 9:16 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Up here I have learned a whole new meaning for make hay while the sun shines. As I typed that post, the fog was moving in. Today is mild and relatively windless, but dreicht with a filled in sky--that means wet and the cloud seems to sit right on the ground. Just finished a great book by Angus Dunn, Writing in the Sand. A very funny, wry look at life up here with some fantastical twists and turns.

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

just lovely - pic and words!

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

I echo terrirainer's comments.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

Surfers? I would think the waters would be cold.

At 5:27 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh yes the water is cold, but the waaves are magnificent, so I am told, for surfing. I have not tried it yet


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