The High Tops
By Hugh Allison
These peaks are a library unto themselves...
Our mountains comprise an intrinsic part of the Spirit of the Highlands. So much so that we have obsessively grouped them as Munros, Corbetts and Grahams. We photograph, paint, hill-walk, mountaineer, ice-climb, ski and Munro-bag.
There are books and exhibitions about characters like Sir Hugh Munro measuring and listing all of Scotland’s mountains above 3,000 feet (and after whom Scotland’s 282 Munros are named).
John Muir (John of the Mountains) said “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves”.
More recently (in the early 1990’s) talented writer and personality Muriel Gray produced an entire TV series (the Munro Show) about our mountains.
The stone giants of the far north and northwest are known as Inselbergs (Island Mountains) as they stand proud and solitary. Each one with their own emotive name, beloved by us Highlanders, like An Teallach (the Forge), Slioch (the Spear) or Beinn a Bheithir (Mountain of the Thunderbolt).
The mountains define our horizons, while at the same time supplying us with stories of the legendary (Ossian and the Fianna), the scary (the Grey Man of Ben MacDhui) and the historical (Battle of Mons Graupius). We also make our own stories on their slopes - family expeditions, climbing adventures, triumph and tragedy and also personal fulfilment.
These peaks are a library unto themselves, filled with tales waiting to be told!
We Want to Hear From You!
Share your stories of mountains and hills in the Highlands and Islands
Stories are at the heart of what we do as a project and we are always looking to learn more about what the Highlands and Islands means to people who live, work, and visit here.
The connections between people and the high tops are timeless. Mountains, like single pebbles and stones, are witnesses of memories both good and bad and bear the stories, traces, and scars of historical and contemporary societies. Inspired by this story we would love to know, what are some of your favourite mountains and hills in the Highlands and Islands? How do you feel they represent the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands? Tell us below, we can't wait to hear from you!
Click here to share your story through our online story portal