Glens, Lochs, and More!

Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist

Hello from Scotland! Our group has savored every moment on this leg of the trip as we’ve traversed the Scot- tish Highlands and stationed ourselves in Glasgow for some more scholarly investigation. From England, we made up our way North to Edinburgh for a weekend before board- ing a small minibus (shout out to Timberbush Tours) to wit- ness the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. With a break from our academic classes, nature became our true teacher as we marveled at the Scottish moors and crags. A perfect way to practice our Land- scape Ecology terms outside of the classroom, we were taught the Scottish words for lake (loch) and valley (glen). Stopping along the way to ex- plore a look-out point or take a mini-hike, it was beyond comprehension how vast and sublime this part of Scotland is – not to mention magical!

Throughout the trip, there had been debate whether fairies exist. As silly as it may seem, the conversation was sparked once again at one of our stops at a place called Fairy Glen. Being very much on the side that believes in fairies and their role in our modern world, I was elated to see what kind of place would generate such a name. A fairy valley? Say no more! Our tour guide Rae explained to us how the area is believed to be the home of fairies dating back to the Victorian Age. A whimsical experience in itself, I was taken aback by one particular feature of the glen. In the middle of all the hills was a swirl-shaped circle of rocks. The story goes that if you pick a blade of grass, walk through this circle to the center, throw your blade of grass in, and then retrace your steps BACK- WARDS though the path… the fairies will grant you a wish. Even with a strong respect for fairies, this exercise seemed a bit much. What convinced me, however, to partake was when Rae told me the story of how his wish came true. Having completed the task success-fully, a month to the day after doing so, Rae met his “other half” and has been happily married to his beloved since.

Not having to be told twice, I quickly picked a blade of grass and made my way through the circular path. I made sure to tread carefully back. If I were to step outside of the lined path, my wish wouldn’t come true! While I can’t tell you what I wished for out of fear of it not coming true, I can tell you that experiencing the magic and beau- ty of the Scottish Highlands is an experience one cannot help but treasure endlessly. I would also like to take the time to acknowledge that life at Furman isn’t always as exciting as this aforementioned story. As Fall makes it way to Winter, I’d encourage anyone reading this to try and find magic in their daily routine, no matter how small it may be. Maybe it’s going for that extra DH cookie or perhaps it’s exploring the walking trails beyond the lake. Who knows – maybe you’ll stumble upon your own magical adventure.

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