Friday, April 4, 2008

The West Highland Way

Last summer, Mary and I walked the West Highland Way - a 95 mile trek across the Highlands of Scotland. It runs from the outskirts of Glasgow, along the length of Loch Lomond, Britain's largest lake, across Rannoch Moor and past famous and dramatic Glen Coe. The Way finishes in the Highlands at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

Rannoch Moor is Britain's largest uninhabited wilderness - dramatic, wild and beautiful. At just 50 square miles however, it serves as a reminder of how densely populated Britain is. 50 square miles would be swallowed up in the American West or the Australian Outback. I wonder if there might even be 50 square miles in America where no one has ever set foot? It seems entirely conceivable that there are small areas in the West that were as unappealing and inhospitable to Native Americans as they are to the population today.

A lot of trouble to emphasize the bleedin' obvious: Scale drawings of the USA and UK. The black square inside the UK represents 50 miles square. The tiny white square inside that represents 50 square miles - the size of Rannoch Moor, Britain's largest uninhabited wilderness. It also happens to be about the same size as the city of San Francisco. It's easier to see if you click for a larger image.

On the banks of Loch Lomond, Britain's largest lake and stunning it is too.

On Rannoch Moor. Hey! I thought you said it was uninhabited!

Mary finds the way. Don't say anything, but she's standing next to a trail marker.


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