The hike takes what seems like months to achieve. We sometimes encounter highland cows, maybe fall over a couple of trees, and once lost our picnic to a roaring river. I had even been pushed in into a bog and forgotten for half an hour when I was smaller. But the mud, hunger, heart-stopping moments are always worth it.
Up here, the land is clean. The skies are bare but for a few birds and clouds. It is by no means quiet, however, as the entire valley has something to do. Every year we visit, every year we play in the natural water slides curving down the hillside. And every year we climb to the top of the path, which is now crumbled and degrading from the years of sprinting up. Memories of my childhood whirl past, of my siblings and I scurrying around the plains barefoot, receiving worried glances from passing hikers. I have grown up here, in a round-about way, spent enough moments here that I can trek it in my sleep. But one day, something was different. Not something wrong, but new. And a single flicker of colour caught my eye. The something was there.
At the highest point in the glen, she surveyed her kingdom. The tumbling clouds rolled overhead, locked in a dangerous dance with the swirling waters below. The twisted heather spectated from the side with its neighbours of gorse and thistle peering from behind. Mist crawled into the frame. Gracefully, she descended from her pedestal atop of the world. Her light feet reached forward slowly, as if to determine whether the land below was worth her presence. Her majesty and poise were shown through her impeccable posture, and her softly moving golden hair. The sudden shriek of a passing eagle shook her out of her stupor, and my dog toppled the short distance of the rock.
Upon reaching the ground, Hazel had a brief moment of pure confusion, before it was swallowed with an air of utter embarrassment. Her thoughts were plain to see; my cool exterior has been cracked! I must try to regain my dignity at once! With smooth elegance, she rose to her full height. From this low level Hazel glided into a bush of heather, retaining her excellent posture the whole while. The flawless moment was somewhat ruined by her young friend, Clova, who leapt onto Hazel’s ‘throne’ giddily. Here she proceeded to imitate Hazel, but ended up falling down in the same way that Hazel did. The eternal mountain, Loch Brandy of Glen Clova, seemed to freeze before smirking at her stupidity.
My favourite place has a name and co-ordinates, but is not restricted to them. It is everywhere because it is mine; it does not leave. However, my favourite moment also goes with the place, and the funniest moment in my dog’s life.