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Dingwall, Ross-shire (Credit: VisitScotland/ Paul Tomkins)
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A Highland Lassie

By Helen MacKenzie

Women in Highland dancing dresses and a bride in a wedding dress taking part in Highland dancing Image provided by Helen MacKenzie

A Highland lassie is what I am and will always be.

The Spirit of the Highlands is its uniqueness of the people and our culture. It's different to anywhere else in Scotland. To live and work in the Highlands is a privilege and even though I tried twice to live out-with the Highlands when I was younger, I always came back.

Coming back always made me appreciate it even more, especially driving home to Dingwall (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Pheofharain) with the spectacular view of Ben Wyvis and the Cromarty Firth (Scottish Gaelic: Beinn Uais; Caolas Chromba). As a wee Highland lassie, I realise how lucky my brother and I were to experience our adventures over the sea to Skye (Scottish Gaelic: An t-Eilean Sgitheanach) on the ferry boat every summer with our dad, and other beautiful places on the west coast, while he worked we went along for the 'run' in his lorry! No expensive holidays abroad for us, and today more people want to visit our beautiful Highlands than ever before. I love how more visitors from around the world choose to experience the beauty of where I live, and choose to 'tie the knot' with a traditional Highland wedding and embracing the traditional Highland cèilidhs and kilts!

My niece from Dingwall was married in 2017 in a beautiful castle in Inverness-shire, every guest invited came from all over the world, we arranged it all ourselves and in true highland hospitality. The guests loved it all! As a Highland dancer, she danced for her guests as the photo shows. Surprisingly, the weather was the hottest 3 days of the year! We have such beautiful castles in our communities. I realised how strong my connections with the Highlands were when I traced my mum's ancestors back to the 1700s in Caithness (Scottish Gaelic: Gallaibh). They were all farm workers and never left the Highlands! So this Highland lassie will keep that family tradition going.