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  • Thursday, October 9, 2014

    Happy Birthday From Scotland Margaret!

    To Margaret Wagoner from Marion, Indiana. Someone asked if I would post a happy birthday message to you today since, like I once did, you dream of someday traveling to Scotland.

    Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland, wasn't on my cross-country route exactly, but when I saw it staring at me from the other side of Loch Linnhe, I decided there was no better place to send you a birthday greeting.

    After starting the ascent, I picked up a rock to write out your birthday message and carried it with me to the top.

    The name Ben Nevis is derived from Scottish Gaelic and is sometimes translated as "Mountain of Heaven" or "the mountain with its head in the clouds." Both are apt descriptions as the views were stunningly beautiful at every moment, and at its peak, I did in fact find myself climbing into a cloud.

    The summit, now enveloped in the cloud, is the collapsed dome of an ancient volcano about 4,400 feet above the road where I started. Through the fog I found a shelter, which seemed to be the highest spot I could get. I climbed up with the rock in hand. 

    Margaret, this is not simply a happy birthday message written on an ordinary piece of stone that I picked up off the ground in the Scottish Highlands. It is an invitation to plan an adventure. The stone and one of the best views in the British Isles will be waiting for you at 56°47'48.1"N 5°00'12.4"W. Whether you ever visit this exact spot or not, I promise that few things are as fulfilling as having the courage to turn a lifelong dream into a real life experience. I hope to someday hear you turned your dream of visiting Scotland into reality.

    Below are more photos from Ben Nevis. I hope you enjoy your birthday as much as I enjoyed my hike to deliver your birthday greeting.

    Hi Margaret!