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Days of torrential rain here in the southeast. Unusual. Unseasonal. Unwelcome. “The gardens need it”, people mutter, though I’m not sure this maxim of the English at the sight of rainclouds on the summer horizon really applies. My little patch at the back, after a few weeks of neglect and only occasional watering by someone young, willing and keen for extra pocket money, shows no sign of being parched. The various creeping shrubs that grow along the fences on either side are sprawling voluptuously, their tendrils reaching across, perhaps in the hope of making friends with the ones on the...

There’s a mountain across the sea loch that’s shaped like a saddle for a colossal prehistoric beast, the almost perfect cone at the top like a cantle, the flatter mound behind, the pommel. As you look out of the big window of the cottage called Cuileag where we stay, you can see it behind and a little left of the island of Ornsay. That tiny spit of land in the sea gives its name to the cluster of houses and the hotel by the jetty down below – Isleornsay. Another hillside lies between Ornsay and the ancient mountain-saddle, another layer...

Time was I would always go in front. Check out the terrain. Show her where to put her feet to avoid the mud or pick out the stones to step on to cross a stream, where to find hand holds on narrow, rocky sections. Time was. It’s different now. She leads, organizes the route with a quick google, download or screen shot to take with us. This helps. No need to get out an Ordnance Survey map in the wind and rain, root around in the rucksack for the reading glasses, find that the place you want is on the reverse...

Ardnamurchan. Barely populated except for the trees. Oak, birch, hazel, beech, larch. Rimmed by empty beaches of the palest sand looking west to islands sitting on a blue ocean. Rum, Eigg, Muck. Beyond them Skye, the Cuillin ridge unmistakeable against a far horizon. At Sanna Bay, with its sweeping golden strand, we sheltered below a small, cairn-topped hill where the grass falls away towards the sea and ate our lunch chased down with tea from the thermos. The islands spread themselves in front of us, smoothly sculpted by distance and light. Eyes right to the peaks of Moidart and Knoydart,...