I was already intoxicated with Skye by the time we headed towards the Cuillins. We had done a “my route”/”your route” strategy for our 4 day weekend and his route, the first route, had ripped me apart, made me vulnerable and open. It made me leave my mundane-ness at the entryway and insisted on grandeur, of both my physical ability and and my perceptive ability. It was gorgeous and demanding with no option for apathy. I knew he would do this to us. He can’t help it. He is really an athlete. So I followed with a real stroll of a route, 7 and 1/2 miles on a decent and steady pathway, to the heart of the Black Cuillin, Loch Coruisk.
Going places I’ve been before is something I try to avoid unless a place has become special to me. I had walked this path to Coruisk five years ago, or more accurately, I had hitchhiked to Elgol from Portree and taken a boat to the loch and then hiked out in the dark without a torch (sounding like a familiar theme?). I learned how to intuit a path that evening, how you have to sort of make friends with the land you’re walking on and trust that it means you well. It worked at the time, as I refused to spend the night without supplies. I was kitted out this time, actually planning a sleepover in those rocks and therefore taunted the sun down with glee.
There is something about Loch Coruisk and its surrounding bowl of walls in the Black Cuillin. The water is positively soft, and eerily still and reflective. The mountains are black, yes, but also soft, changing into a deep purple into the night. The bowl feels like a shelter, from the sea which is just to the east, and from the ragged peaks, truly some of the finest in Scotland, above it. Sound gets captured and circulates as the wind does, bringing tones of mountains with it, mixing with soft sounds of the velvet water rolling into the sea. It was my partners birthday and beautiful and wonderful things were happening. I don’t know if I was being creative in synthesizing the various noises and feelings in me, or if it was somehow the byproduct of an earthquake that occurred in Western Scotland that morning, but I heard palpable music in the rocks that night as I went to sleep. I will always come back to this place.