O.k, to start this entry off, I have to make a few things clear. When I say I believe in Faeries, I don't necessarily mean that I believe in miniature humans with gossamer wings fluttering about the woodlands beaconing us to join in their merry regales. However, I am completely convinced that their are other beings which inhabit planes of existence which may or may not overlay our own dimension. Beings whom the philosophers and alchemists of old entitled "elementals" whom are essentially composed of the "ether". Drawing their life force from the basic 4 elements our materialistic scientists have so graciously defined for us. Air being the domain of the faeries, earth of the gnomes and elves, water of the nymphs, and fire of the salamanders. It is a well known fact that what we see is not all that their is. You can't see the wind, to start, nor the radio waves, or x-rays, or even the spectrum of light outside our very limited range of vision. Heck, even the lowly goldfish and majestic carabao can see into the ultraviolet and infrared.
As science, specifically physics, continues on its wondrous and terrifying path, we find the world around us is becoming more and more mysterious. Or as Ray Bradbury said, "to a truly advance society, science and magic are one and the same" (actually Im not sure if thats the exact phrasing, or if it was even Ray who said it, but you get the idea..) Peering into the essence of matter we find the atom, and peering into that, what do we find? a few electrons, whirling around a nucleus, with unfathomable distances between them. You look at a desk, think its solid, sound, there; but no. Its mostly empty space. If you look at Math, or physics, a wild and untamed world stares back at you. There are something like 11 mathematical dimensions, and what is math but a profound language of the universe? We've recently discovered the concept of dark matter, which apparently takes up most the space over ours in the universe. not that we take up so much space, and dark matter takes up the rest, but if you were to peal back out reality, you would find this whole other world, that is way way bigger then ours that we haven't the fondest clue about.
So thats where science puts us. Then you look at history. Paracelsus, one of the originators of modern medicine. heck this guy even gave birth to the concept of gas as we know it (he also, as legend would have it, was successful in creating the philosophers stone.) This guy gave incredibly detailed accounts of these so called elementals. Socrates spoke in depth and quite fondly of his Daemon, and even Napoleon had an elemental associate called "Le Pettie Homme Rouge." This is all well and good you might say, but its history hundreds of years past, and we all know that HIstory is a very subjective and fickle mistress, written by the winners and all that. So we look to iceland. The entire Island has such a sound belief in faeries and elves, that they will divert major road constructions to avoid sacred elven grounds.
O.k, I've gotten that out of my system, now onto what I've actually been doing on my travels.
After a week and a day of hanging out in glasgow at a friends flat (god bless em) doing the not spending money thing after my atrociously expensive yet unforgettable trip to Islay, I made my way up north by way of Skye with the aim of spending about a week in the speyside. If Whisky had a heart and soul, it would be found there. I went to Skye due to someone somewhere at sometime telling me it was one of the most beautiful places in the world. Talisker is the only distillery located on the island, and while I find it to be delicious, its never truly caught my attention. However, after researching online for places to go and see in skye, I discovered a attraction by the name of "Faerie Glen." One of my main reasons for this extended trip is my search for the miraculous. It is my life long goal to experience something which can't be explained by conventional truths. I have an unquenchable need to defy the known. So naturally, a place which since time out of mind has been has been called "Faerie Glen" caught my attention, and Talisker was on the way.
After I sub par experience at Talisker, (diagio, the walmart of liquor reps, has them by the unmentionables) I contiuned my way up north. The only thing I remembered about its location from my previous nights interwebing was that it was very close to a town called Uig. So I punched Uig into my GPS (or sat nav as they call it over here) and continued on my way.
Once in Uig, I stopped in the local post office and approached the cashier about the Glen.
"ahh," he whispered with a glint in his eye (I'm not being poetic here, he literally glinted at me) "thats supposed to be a secret" he then paused "if you go up the road to the Uig inn, then take your first sharp left, travel about 3 miles dwn the road, and you can't miss it. Theirs small hills and wee green men all about. However, I must warn ye, people tend to go mising from those parts"
This was the exact response I was looking for. I jumped back in my car and made my way to the glen.
Faerie glen has to be the most remarkable place I has ever seen geographically. If their is magic left anywhere in the world, it's most likely here. after driving the 3 miles, you come over a hill, and are greeted with a valy spattered with small pyramid shaped hills, the likes of which I have never seen before. Directly in the middle of all this is a rock outcrop which looks exactly like the main tower of a castle. amidst these blatantly constructed hills, are ancient ancient stone ruins, obvious street plans, and (unfortunately) families of tourists running about.
I wandered about for hours, trying to see my surroundings with a childs eye (which is. as to my understanding, the way one is supposed to view the faeries). The rock faces seemed to be desperatly trying to pose as natural formations, and there were dozens of cute little bunny rabbits hopping tither and yon. Other then that, and the overwhelming sense that all was not as it seemed, I saw nothing spectacular. However, once I made my way to the top of the rock face or faerie tower, I noticed a strange cavern on the opposite face. It seemed as if there was a constructed tunnel leading up into the rock, almost like a reverse well of sorts.
I scurried down the tower, and peered up to get a closer look. It seemed as if there was a series of steps under the turf leading up to the h***, and at the bottom laying in wait was a beautiful walking stick. I clambered up with the stick in hand and found a perfectly round cavern going up about 6 or 7 feet into the cliff. Above it was a mulberry bush (I think) with roots overhanging, covered in bracelets and hair elastics; and on the moist dirt floor was a scattering of seashells.
Earlier on in the day, whilst waiting for the Talisker tour to start, I had wandered about the beautiful little village and chanced upon a peculiar seashell.I pocketed it thinking it would serve as a perfect token to gain access to the Faerie kingdom. (Im really not joking, that is the exact thought which went through my head).
However, the day was waning, and I had left the shell in the car. I scurried down grabbed the shell, and with my heart in my throat, made my way back to the entrance.
Once there I triumphantly laid down the shell and requested entrance.
I waited a few moments, and then, with many a forlorn glance, made my way back to the car and back to Kyleatkin.
Who knows, maybe it was the wrong day of the year, or maybe I was lacking the words of the ceremony, or maybe they just didn't want me. One thing is for sure tho; I will research the area, and faerie lore, and once armed with the proper knowledge, return to Faerie Glen to re-request entry.
However, a peculiar thing happened the next morning. I awoke at around 8 am in my car feeling quite sore and cold, wishing, to whom ever would listen, to sleep in a bed that night. Since the beginning of my trip I've had but 2 sleeps in a real bed. I shook the poutiness off, went and grabbed 2 coffees at the local "Saucy Mary's" had a pleasant chat with a retired cyclist from Glasgow, and hit the road.
My God, the highlands in the late October sun are breath taking. Rolling mountains with frost laden valleys, glittering in the morning sun like a calm ocean of silver, I couldn't have been more content.
About 30 minutes from the first distillery of the day, my car broke down. Well, technically the power steering cut out and a big red light saying "STOP" lit up on the dash. I pulled into a handy car park, sauntered over to a handy tourist office, discovered I was in the city of Nairn, and called my insurance.
Long story short, I spent about 8 hours, on the phone or waiting in various parking lots, got a bit of a run around from the insurance folk, enjoyed a great chat with the tow truck driver, and will now be spending the next week in a hotel, with a real bed free of charge. An odd way for my wish to come true, but I do believe Faeries are fickle with that sort of thing.