A thousand million years. The Torridonian sandstones are almost the oldest rocks in the world and they were, in effect, an American import. Scotland itself was born and bred in the North, hitching itself to England who had made a long journey, from South of the equator, to seal the match. In Torridon you don’t need to imagine these elemental, earthly forces – you can sense them. And it was only the blink of an eye since there were bears and mammoths. Their bones are still here. This is not the land that time forgot but rather the land where time still lives.
Travelling down the gradually narrowing single track road, West from Kinlochewe, you will also notice a narrowing of the gap – between you and earth. You may arrive in the diamond-studded freeze of February or in June’s everlasting light. You may come for a daring climb on Ben Eighe’s Triple Buttress, a stout day’s walk over Ben Alligin and its horns, or a stroll by the Loch or a bracing dip. Whatever your mission I would recommend the T Room, open from Wednesday to Saturday. Black pudding butties, with an egg too if you’ve earned it, worth a Michelin star at least.
But it’s the presence of the place, the mountains, the sea and the way they breathe together. Their conversation will pull you in and it’s easy to forget who you were the other side of Kinlochewe. All the things which make you separate – money, job, the things you own, the names you are called by, the story you tell about who you are. Looking down the Loch from the shore or up on the Liatach ridge,you might as well be a red deer or an eagle. It’s easy to forget to take photographs when you are no longer an observer.