The Highlands is on Holiday Until Further Notice

Our Coast this summer – as warm at 10pm as it’s been all day

Over the course of the short time it’s taken me to write this blog, the sky has indeed clouded over and there are reports of extraordinary downpours further south. Still, because it encapsulates the way things have been this wonderful summer so far, this is going up anyway, like a field full of over-dry corn in Sussex…

A few days ago I had occasion to send a work email round more than a dozen coleagues. Send button pressed, I turned momentarily to look at the glorious sunshine flooding through the windows of my living room (aka my office) and when I looked back at the screen I saw a stack of 11 out-of-office replies.

Here in the Highlands of Scotland we’re currently experiencing a summer of unparalelled magnificence. I understand England is feeling a little bit overdone, there were wildfires on the internet in Sussex today, but up here the temperature is a comfortably warm 25 to 27 degrees, the skies are endlessly blue, cloud cover remarkable by its absence for at least 3 weeks now. The wind is light but it’s there, and it’s as warmly delicious as any hot, dry Scirrocco. In truth, it’s heaven up here right now.

For myself, I’m working mostly in the garden, though I have to come in periodically to avoid feeling fried and to let the laptop cool down. But the beach is always there ifI prefer to sit on hot white sand and listen to the surf while I work. Some of us are actually sun-tanned, and I can’t believe how many times

Listening to the surf…

this summer I’ve rolled up at the seaside without even an emergency cardigan in the car.

Listening to the sounds of happy highlanders all around us as we swam in the sea last night (yes, swimming is fine well past 8pm if you’re so minded – the water of the North sea warms considerably as it creeps back in to shore over the hot sand), watching families enjoy our wonderful coast for free, feeling the relaxation and wellbeing in the air, it doesn’t surprise me at all if this place’s inhabitants have simultaneously downed tools and taken themselves off to the hills, the lochs, the tumbling rivers and the glorious coast to simply enjoy being alive for as long as this lasts.

Working in the garden, why not?

I’m actually wondering whether this sun-triggered inclination to slope off should be formalized and made mandatory up here. We spend a good 8 months of the year (and sometimes frankly longer because our summers are not always, well….fit-for-purpose) living with the semi-darkness of a very low cloud-base and struggling to keep warm. Perhaps sustained high temperatures and the sheer delightful amount of sunshine should trigger a National State of Emergency? That is, a state where everyone is urgently required to emerge form their dingy places of work and the interiors of their homes to maximize personal solar gain? It would be brilliant and so healthful! Reduced hours for everyone to enable at least 6 hours per day full sun absorbtion.

In the meantime, it’s happening but under the radar. And I’m glad about that. There’s plenty of time to put our shoulders to the wheel once an all-too-familiar haar has rolled in off the sea to dampen things down, or when the grey clouds have settled back on this part of the country like they think of it as home.

School’s out, sun’s out, get out and play. Oh. You’ve already gone….


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