Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fourteenth Word: Outwith

As a sort of "Say What?" substitute, the title of this blog is for my dad who recently had an encounter with this word. Outwith means 'beyond' or 'outside of.' You will hear it used especially if you call any businesses outwith their normal business hours. It's mostly found in Northern England and Scotland.

Jordan, Alex, and I took advantage of this 55-degree sunny day (and as a celebratory end to classes and some papers) by going to the Pentland hills to the southwest of the city. We took a 45 minute bus ride out and promptly got ourselves lost. After a quick GoogleMaps search, Jordan (and Al's intuition) got us back on track. We wandered through the neighborhoods of Balerno Village, passed through a neighborhood woodland walk, and meandered past farmland to finally arrive at the trail head towards Harlaw Reservoir at the base of some of the hills. I was struck by how much of our walk thus far reminded me of Michigan. The trail we took looked like the one you would take to Hoffmaster beach in MI. The roads we wandered down reminded me of Lowell. I feel so at home in the countryside because it is so familiar to me.

The reservoir walk was a beautiful trek around the waters with trees on one side and sheep-grazing fields on the other. I will admit I can't help taking pictures of stone walls. Probably because they are less common back home. But the texture, color, moss, lichen, shape, how they settle right into the landscape, make them such good subjects for photographs. We found some strange ruins that seemed to still be in use for something but they looked so cool against the hills that we had to walk through them. We wanted to climb some hills but Alex had to be to work so we just enjoyed our walk around the waters. The day was indescribably beautiful (especially for Scotland). Don't get me wrong, Scotland can provide some beautiful days but a long, dark, and dreary winter makes these days even more beautiful.

Getting out into the countryside adds so much depth to my experience here. Not even the countryside, a different neighborhood will do. Just knowing places. Getting out of my immediate experience so I can really experience. I am so looking forward to going to Fort William next week with my family. The highlands are beautiful. I've posted some pictures on facebook of our day. I hope they make you want to come to Scotland some day. It seems like such a forgotten place to the rest of the world, but it is so beautiful!