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Unto The Hills
On passing through Glen Clova


THERE is an exhilaration which comes over one in the hills -- something remote, divorced from any other sensation in the whole range of human emotions; a hunger, an ache, that the lowlands can never give. It is not a pleasant feeling -- indeed, at times, there is a dreadful hopelessness about it, a lorn, lost sense of loving where no love is given in return. For, however deeply we worship them, the hills will never care. Aloof, ageless, frozen in their cold white realm of clouds, they will stand there to the end of time, unawakened by worldly things; while we -- poor, frail, presumptuous humans that we are! -- live out our little lives like the flicker of a candle-flame, shining for an hour, only to be snuffed out forever by the winds of the eternal dark. The hills have seen so much, and it has all come to the same end. Ashes and dust; a lament of pipes in the gloaming; and, at last, a shadowed peace broken only by the lingering cry of the whaup over whitening bones.

Thus, the melancholy tenor of our mood as we progressed silently along the deserted road, each stroke of the pedal taking us farther away from the friendly, reassuring atmosphere of the hotel into the mountain fastnesses of the Glen of the Black Water. Yet, somehow, by the very sombreness of our thoughts, our hearts were lightened, our spirits keyed to meet and conquer whatever the day should hold.

(From " Over the Hills to Ballater," by kind permission of S.M.T. Magazine and Scottish Country Life.)


Head of Glen Clova. The entrance to Glen Ouil (Dole)


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