The afternoon of our mind-numbingly cold hike, we rented bikes and explored a small part of the Rothiemurchus Estate.
As soon as I heard about Loch an Eilein castle, I made sure we picked a trail that promised views of this 13th century castle.
The castle appeared to be adrift in the loch. I entertained daydreams of rowing a boat out to the castle, through the entrance conveniently at water level, and exploring a castle yard claimed by nature. Perhaps it was Avalon and I would have found Arthur asleep. More likely I would have disturbed some mundane birds.
We got back on our bikes and continued along the trail, passing countless stately trees.
I should have taken a picture with one of us standing next to a giant tree to give a sense of scale.
The Rothiemurchus Forest contains one of the largest surviving remanants of the ancient Caledonian forest that once covered Scotland. Today, less than 1 percent remains.
We had the trail to ourselves. It was very peaceful. Riding the bike helped me shake off the lingering bone-deep cold from the failed hike that morning.
As we cycled along the trail, John Muir's quote came to mind: "Come to the woods for here is rest. There is no repose like that of the green deep woods."
This abandoned building called out to be explored.
We tried to figure out the purpose of the rooms suggested by the vague outlines in the ground, persistently remaining long after the abandonment.
Perhaps this was a hinge for a door long since rotted or recycled?
A window or a very low door?
Something about this block of stone propped across an open space amused me. It prompts the question "Why?" and reminds me of the child I was, incessantly asking my parents the meaning of this and that, of everything. I just want to know.
This flower was determined to grow in the midst of ruin. What a brilliant color! I never much cared for orange until I saw this cheerful flower, a miniature sunburst in a pile of rocks.