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Home to the Highlands
The photos on this page are from the Scottish Highlands, including some
of the Western Isles:  Mull, Jura, Skye and Lismore.
Alan McKinnon wrote that the Highlands are among the most "beautiful and
brooding" places in the world.  "The scenery is stunning, and with it comes a
tinge of the melancholy left in place through centuries of struggle.  Not seen
or heard, but vaguely felt, it hovers over the land like a familiar ghost."
In the highlands, in the country places,
Where the old plain men have rosy faces,
And the young fair maidens quiet eyes;
Where essential silence cheers and blesses,
And forever in the hill-recesses
Lovely music broods and dies.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson, "In the Highlands"
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the north,
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands forever I'll love.
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
-- Robert Burns, "My Heart's in the Highlands"
The streets o' the city grow weary, for want o' the glint an' the sheen;
An' the west wind hasn't a murmur o' woods that are wavin' wi' green.
But O, for the bound o' the red deer, an' the curlew that bugles to a',
The hills in the Hielands are bonnie, the hills in the Hielands are braw.
-- Alexander Anderson, "The Hills in the Hielands"
In the 1800's, millions of people left Europe, seeking a better life on other
continents.  Scotland lost one of the highest percentages of its citizens,
second only to Ireland.  Emigration from Scotland, based on percentage of
its population, was 50% higher than in England and Wales.  The hope for a
fresh beginning must have battled with the regret of leaving the only land
they'd ever known, understanding there was little chance of ever returning.
Fareweel, fareweel, my native home, thy lonely glens and heath-clad mountains.
Fareweel thy fields o'storied fame, thy leafy shaws and sparkling fountains.
Nae mair I'll climb the Pentlands steep, nor wander by the Esk's clear river;
I seek a home far o'er the deep - my native land, fareweel forever.
Though far from thee, my native shore, and tossed on life's tempestuous ocean,
My heart - aye Scottish to the core - shall cling to thee wi' warm devotion.
And while the waving heather grows, and onward rows the winding river,
The toast be "Scotland's broomy knowes, her mountains, rocks and glens forever."
-- Alexander Hume, "The Scottish Emigrant's Farewell"
Home of our hearts, our fathers' home, land of the brave and the free.
The sail is flashing through the foam that bears us far from thee.
We seek a wild and distant shore, beyond the Atlantic main;
We leave thee to return no more, nor view thy cliffs again.
Our native land, our native vale, a long and last adieu.
Farewell to bonnie Lynden-dale, and Cheviot-mountains blue.
Farewell, ye hills of glorious deeds, and streams renowned in song.
Farewell, ye blithesome braes and meads our hearts have loved so long.
-- T. Pringle, "The Scottish Exile's Farewell"
That is the mark of the Scots, that they remember and cherish the memory
of their forebears; and there burns alive in them a sense of identity with
the dead, even to the twentieth generation.  
-- Robert Louis Stevenson