The Kyle of Durness stopped us in our tracks.
Yes, another breathtaking view, but also a monument erected to remind visitors of the landscape’s history.
The displacement of people in favour of sheep has had a lasting mark on the landscape: sheep still dominate and the land is empty.
Before the clearances, the parish of Durness alone had 28 townships and the area is dotted with sites of archaeological significance.
I felt a little guilty that I had been sampling these lands without thinking about their context.
Ruminating on this, the rising sun dissipated the morning chill and hinted at the atmospheric buzz of another hot day in the Highlands.
Then, I heard a splashing in the kyle and spotted an otter corkscrewing, backstroking and diving in the blue waters, seemingly lost in the ecstasy of an early morning dip.