• Alistair Tait

My Heart’s Back In The Highlands

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

I’ve cleaned and waterproofed my climbing boots. Got the map and compass ready. Knapsack is packed with fleece, woolly hat, gloves, rain jacket and rain trousers. Walking poles are ready. I’ve got midge spray and sun block. I’m hoping to use the latter and not the former. I filled my wee flask with a nice drop of Speyside malt for the celebratory swig when I reach a summit cairn.

Oh, and the golf bag is in the car too.

Yes, I’m heading to the Scottish Highlands this week for some R&R. Well, for golf and hill walking. The latter certainly doesn’t qualify as rest, albeit it is certainly relaxing even if it’ll mean about 35,000 steps per climb, maybe more. Trust me, when you’ve sat beside the summit cairn of a Scottish hill and soaked up the views, there is nothing more soothing to the soul. The photo below is of Sgùrr Eilde Mòr in The Mamores, taken on the 2nd June 2019, the day before my birthday. There are worse vistas to scan while enjoying lunch, even if it’s just a pork pie and a flask of tea.

Scotland is full of views like the one above. True, you don’t have to tramp up a Munro like Binnein Mòr to get shots like this, but there’s a fair chance you might just have the view to yourself and a select few climbing partners as I did on this occasion. Those who get out of their cars and pose for selfies in Glencoe, the Cairngorms, the shores of Loch Lomond and other beauty spots have no idea of what lies just a short walk away, never mind a long trek into the wilds. Sometimes it pays to get away from the throng and wander among Scotland’s glorious countryside.

Same goes for enjoying a round at some of the best golf courses in the world. As everyone reading this knows, Scotland is blessed with great courses – Muirfield, St Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and other great links. For every championship course there’s a wee gem lurking nearby, with all the golf you need without spending a fortune on green fees to play courses that are probably far too tough for you anyway.

My bucket list of Scottish gems is nowhere near complete. I’m hoping to add a couple this coming week on non-climbing days. Fortrose & Rosemarkie (pictured top) is already on that list, but it’s booked for one day this coming week anyway. How could I possibly step on the Black Isle and not play this diamond? I’m hoping for blue skies, a shimmering Moray Firth and perhaps the odd dolphin or whale sighting. Who cares how well I play?

I’ve got a plethora of courses to choose from, and the ones I’m thinking of don’t feature long par threes and fours that are impossible to reach. Some are unheralded wee jewels in beautiful countryside with enough delights to please most handicaps. Certainly mine.

So take this as notification that alistairtaitgolf.com is going into rest and relaxation mode for the next week. Normal service will resume on Monday 23rd of August. I’m sure there will still be much to write about when I return.

Maybe see you on the hills or the fairways this coming week?

#JustSaying: "The Scottish Highlands have an aura that is unequalled anywhere within the small confines of the British Isles. Where else is there a natural domain of such infinite scale and unspoilt magnificence that one feels dwarfed and lost in its midst?” Martin Moran


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