I haven´t created for so long and so came a little project in my way. My flatmate asked if I would like to participate in his show with some creation of sorts.
That was a final push I needed and I created short video not about learnings of past year, but as well about beautiful places around Scotland.
Overview of times in Scotland, overview of past years and if there is possibility to find inspiration even is such challenging times we live in. It is funny realising that even in places we go to so often they are changing every day all it takes is for us to open our eyes, quiet our mind and be present.
I haven´t left Edinburgh in past year and all got to explore were close by hills. Any other time I would be wanting to travel further and explore, but it wasn´t really possible in the past year. How grateful I am I got the chance explore the hills in all seasons in all times of the day. Every single time I went it was a different experience which I enjoyed very much.
Come to have a little look with me what not only so well-known Scottish nature can offer.
When I moved to Scotland one thing I haven´t understood was why people talk so much about the weather. How it is outside how it is supposed to be later in a day and if this prediction will be accurate.
´Always have a jacket with you even if it is sunny outside,´ my friend would advice me.
Few mistakes later getting soaked in the rain what came out of nowhere down from clearly blue sky I learnt my lessen. It was not unusual that there would be rain in the part of the town where I live yet sunny not only on the other side of Edinburgh, but even in the next neighbourhood.
One day my parents came to visit me.
´I don´t need to take my jacket it´s sunny outside´
´Dad take the jacket with you it might rain´
´But it´s sunny outside´
Few hours later…
´What the heck is this weather here I am putting jacket on and off like crazy.´
I had to bite my tongue not to say ´I told you so´
Scottish weather is truly very unpredictable. One day I have experienced 4 seasons. Actually more then only one day. I guess in time one gets used to or at least convince themselves they got used to. Last winter I tried a little upgrade to better cope with windy cold weather. I´ve started doing cold showers firstly every day later every now and then and seams as I don´t mind the cold that much outside anymore. I can´t say the same about people around me unless they are Scottish, they´re resistance to cold I certainly haven´t achieved yet. Going out to the hills in late November, maybe it was already December and my friend coming out of the building in only shirt and fleece in his hands.
´Aren’t you going to be cold?´ me asking covered in winter jacket wrapped up with scarf.
´I have the fleece and the hat. I´ll be fine.´
Seeing children on their day trips in the town during the winter and them wearing only a jumper, girls wearing skirts without tights suddenly makes total sense. First time seeing this I was little shocked, but I guess that is exactly the way how you build the resistance to cold.
Spring is here now the wind is still a bit cold though. We still can´t sit inside of café, so morning coffee on the bench with freezing cold wind is not always delightful, yet there is something about it. Certainly something one will remember. ´Do you remember when we had that coffee on a bench in freezing cold?´ Maybe different memory then ´Remember when we got that cocktail on the sunny beach,´ yet still somewhat special 🙂
And Winter came…the winter has been very kind to us this winter. It has been the most snow I have experienced here in the past years. It has been only time I have experienced snow here in Christmas time. It is almost as a nature would give us a little present a reward for times spent at home, not travelling, not meeting friends and family or going to life music or other inside winter time events. Snow came unexpectedly and brought a joy to (for many) more and more grey days. I certainly felt a joy of a child when snow came. There were people playing snowball fights on streets in early morning hours, just enjoying the moment, the present. Joy of being allowed to experience cold white snowflakes on the cheeks. Going to snowy hills was certainly a little miracle of this Christmas. Beautiful sunsets and beautiful sunrises. People enjoying themselves in the safe hug of the nature.
Not long ago I was worried how these winter months will be. I promised myself to find something nice about them, because they can be here quite dark, sad and difficult. And this year without possibility to meet much or go visit family they could be even more difficult. But I was wrong. This winter is one of the happiest I have ever had. Very different, yet that makes it special I guess. So many surprising and unexpected beautiful moments and joy in little simple things. Come with me to have a look how the winter in Scotland can look like.
I can´t count how many sunsets I have seen in my life. Yet this year they happened to be even more special. As November comes sun is getting lower and lower. We are in the time of the year when days are the shortest. Sun rises at 8.30 and sets at 3.30. We are still lucky, as it is not as dark as in the very North, but comparing to Slovakia one can feel it quite a bit.
When I walk during the day I see the sun being low all day not reaching very high. There is a beauty in it as it covers the city in the warm light. One day I got an inspiration to go chase the sun. My dad would often tell me a story how he as a little child always wanted to walk towards the sun and reach it. Innocent little soul not understanding that it is not possible.
For few weeks I have been going to close by hills even if for couple of hours in busy weekends, just to catch last bits of the daylight. Thanks to this project my November happened to be so beautiful. Every weekend I was looking forward to go to mountains and watch this beautiful scenery which happens every day again and again and we miss so many days of our lives not seeing this miracle.
I certainly felt every single time as the sun gave me energy for another week. I would go on my own or with friends I would go in advance or even missed the sunset. Yet every time it was a special occasion, special moment and special day. Usually November is a little sad month because winter is inevitable. This year I enjoyed the November probably the most in my entire life just because I went to see something what is here every single day yet we just often don´t see its beauty.
Leaves from trees are slowly changing into mush-mash of wet slippery cover on the path walks and trees appear to be more and more naked. I guess I am ready for winter as well.
Tiredness is most present every day, as my body would like to tell me to slow down, reflect.
I have been very busy lately, trying to balance all present in my life. I enjoy all, but I am learning to do just as much I can in a day.
Pandemic times don´t add much.
Do you find yourself sometimes creatively drained?
I do. Days even months of not picking up the pencil. Is it for us to push through or just let it go itself? In my own experience the answer is somewhere in the middle.
My creativity heightened lately and I made myself a promise of drawing every day for one month. It is not easy task to accomplish and as I am writing this story I have already slipped few days trying to catch up now.
Have you ever heard of Ink October Challenge? I am doing it now in November. Hoping to continue on everyday quick sketches even after the challenge. That is for another story though.
As I look out of my window weather is less promising every day. Yet we had quite few beautiful days even little inversion, which I am hoping to experience again. Edinburgh covered in cloud, one suddenly felt as being in the part of Harry Potter Books or Sherlock Holmes stories.
Picking up leaves on the way home, creating fall inside of the flat. Enjoying times with friends. Experiencing that even in times as we live at now there is still a lot to see and experience. I guess we learnt to live with virus, there are restrictions present in the past half of the year and I only can conclude that this time brought a lot of positives into my life as well.
Nature become more important than ever, appreciating every new day being healthy, every meeting with friends. Being grateful for the job I have which allows me get away from not only isolation, but as well away from the fear of the virus, which many experience nowadays.
But enough of talking, let me show you little things which make life so special even in times of pandemics.
What is it you enjoy at the moment? What makes you happy?
So we went on a journey of adventure, the journey I had in mind for about a year. Finally, I packed my backpack and we set on to walk ´Pentlands Way´ in Scotland. Not many people walk this path it isn´t even very famous, but everyone in the area knows it and walked at least parts of it if being ever in Pentlands. I do love these hills. Sanctuary from busy and noisy city not far from Edinburgh.
Determined to walk the path despite bad forecast so much in need of nature and break out of Edinburgh after so many months spend here in this year better said only here.
The journey was amazing but wasn´t easy. Nature showed us its very best and nicest the first day yet its worst the second one. I came back home sore from blisters and heavy backpack yet so happy inside smiling energy into the world. We had to cut our journey short because weather conditions were too rough and difficult at the end.
Come with me to walk this path together and maybe you set on your own one day. Maybe we will manage to walk it till the end next time.
It was sunny outside, but as soon I stepped out I knew something is different. The air was cold and had this smell which can only mean one thing.
Autumn is here.
Season which covers land in colourful blanket. Fall as they call it in English. Time when we start getting ready for winter. Summer is gone, but not quite just yet. Last bits of sunshine warm soft light early sunsets. Everything is telling me that inevitable is coming.
This is time to enjoy and take in all what is left from warmth and light.
Autumn brought me back to life. With all news and restrictions, I felt somewhat drained and influenced more than I would like to be.
I forced myself one day to get to see a sunset here in Edinburgh from the hill Arthur Seat. That was a day everything has changed and finally energies started moving different directions.
I threw my jacket and backpack into the grass set the tripod and filmed the sunset. Suddenly I saw inspiration again I felt as energy is moving inside my body and inspiration is rushing into my mind, into my heart.
Still tired I knew that this is turning point. As I watched the sun fall behind the Calton Hill I just wanted to stay in this moment forever.
Yet I packed all again and made my way towards trees where I left my bike waiting quietly for my arrival. Suddenly my heart skipped and I stopped in silent awww. Large ginger creature crossed my path in most gentle way as the animal can do.
´Fox, ´ crossed my mind.
In split second she was gone in the trees where my bike was waiting. I smiled and stood there for a little while longer.
Was it just a dream or did it just happen?
Many years ago when I moved to Edinburgh I used to see foxes for about a year or two. I didn´t understand it back then, thinking it is just many of them here. Which is true as well, but it was as well time when I changed everything, when I let inspiration lead me where I am supposed to go. It was a time, when I fell in love, when I understood more about life than ever before, when I heard my inner calling the loudest. Time when everything shifted.
That time is here again.
I am finding my inspiration, the feeling that this is it I just need to keep going and find the way how to take this inspiration out there. The fox was always a sign of something changing and new exiting beginnings lieng ahead, even though accompanied with possible pain of letting go of old.
I guess that is exactly time I am entering just now and am more curious then ever what does it have in its cards this time.
That was my beginning of the autumn this year. Shift from sadness to inspiration and excitement. After the day I met the fox and watched the sunset colours started appearing in the trees, leafs would dance in the wind and I would see ideas and inspiration absolutely everywhere. I went to explore the old forest were I would just experience these magical moments of connection with nature. I haven´t explored it all yet. It is going to be even more colourful now.
It´s been about a year ago when I have started my collage book of places which I have visited in Scotland. Each place is special and talks its own story. It is hard to capture feeling by a photo or only words. Art expression is getting closer to the feeling yet still it is not enough. I guess that´s why I have started making videos, to capture the feeling of this country.
Scotland is a magical country. I believe that there is beauty everywhere and I consider my own birth country to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is true though, that there is something about Scotland. It not only has been tested country throughout centuries but it is very proud country too. Full of stories and dramatic landscape, which makes one’s imagination go wild. No wonder so many writers and artists found their inspiration exactly here.
J.K. Rowling saw Harry Potter behind Edinburgh’s walls. Arthur Conan Doyle saw his Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in dark Edinburgh’s streets. Many artists roamed Scotland for inspiration. Neither science overlooked Scottish potential. Alexander Graham Bell or Alexander Fleming were few important people in history who moved society forward and were raised to their own potential exactly here.
My own experience is that I didn’t know much about Scotland before coming here. I guess that’s a little bit of continental ignorance in me as I would consider UK to be one country even though at school we would learn about centuries hunted and pushed Scottish people by the English crown. It´s all in the past, yet when one lives here long enough there are some differences and tensions still present. Maybe that is for another story.
Today is all about feeling which Scotland can trigger in us. Get a little glimpse of this country and let me take you to places which not only inspired me but left my heart full of joy and excitement. I processed all these feelings through collage book which I am intended continue creating as more I explore around here. It is a great way how to keep my little sketches together as well or capture some thought which the place provoked in me. Enough talking for today, come with me and let me show you a bit of Scotland.
Little Scottish town on the east coast called North Berwick holds special place in my heart. When you travel there by train you basically end up on the very end of the world because train rails don´t continue anywhere else.
When I have seen these kind of ´ends of the world´ around Scotland for a first time I was fascinated by them, because in Europe there is always somewhere to continue and very rarely you get ´end of the rail´ station.
At least certainly not in Central Europe.
So very first thing one is exposed to is ´end of the world´ train station.
North Berwick is a beautiful place to visit once being in Scotland. It is tiny town with very atmospheric vibe, because on one main street you get a lot of tiny cute coffee shops and galleries, which create cosy feeling that one would love to live exactly here.
Then you pass through few houses and sea opens up in front of you.
Beautiful long beach with view on two islands, which one of them is very iconic ´Bass Rock´. This island happened to be inspiration for many artists who found themselves in Scotland.
When I was just getting to know arty world it was exactly here when I tried painting real outside object into my sketchbook.
It was my birthday and I had wonderful day in this little town.
Thanks to the painting I made (which wasn´t nothing that special yet special for me) I will always remember the feeling of that day.
Sitting on the beach and painting for a fist time with watercolours outside. I felt very anxious, because my skills weren´t very good and I was just very self-aware of my surroundings not wanting anyone to see what I am painting.
Probably here for a first time I have let go of my fears not caring what the outcome will be. There were very little people around and I had pretty much the place for myself.
It was strange feeling as almost connecting with other artists who sat on that beach and painted very same island in the past.
I think that was a time, when I decided to do whatever I can and continue this new journey which somehow happened to be present in my life.
Artistic journey of self- expression buried deep inside and waiting to be found one day. It was almost symbolic and I perceived that day sitting on the beach in North Berwick as a sign for me to continue besides my anxieties and uneasy feelings of self-doubt, comparing and not understanding why was I even brought on the journey with brush in my hand.
Trying to capture the sea, the colours with very limiting skills of someone who doesn´t even know how to paint. But inner drive and need to capture somehow this moment was much stronger than self-doubt about my artistic skills.
Come have a look with me and visit this tiny little Scottish town which is just so special and if you ever are visiting Scotland – North Berwick should be on your list.
Last year I made myself a promise that I will explore nature of Scotland much more than I have been doing until now. There have been few years when I just didn´t get much out of Edinburgh for various reasons from luck of money to studies responsibilities or work commitments. Last year was a turning point for me where I realised that nature is the place where I feel the most home. I did few trips either with friends or on my own to highlands, bought some hiking gear and at least few times tried it out.
This year was meant to be year of long distance hikes.
2020 had a different plan though, first half of the year we were stuck home in our neighbourhoods and when finally, was hiking and wild camping allowed I was coming back to work. So I have started exploring Pentlands close by mountains where I have been so many times since I moved here that they feel as my second home. It is amazing that just half an hour away is whole new world far away from the city.
Pentlands story is for another time though as today I would like to come back in memories when I had a chance to visit Trossachs National Park. Come along with me on the journey…
I was so excited to take my big backpack and just spend few days in Highlands. I didn´t gain enough courage to do wild camping so I thought taking it slowly and just stay in a hostel and do some one day trips around to get to know the area a little because one day I would like to hike 4 days long distance hiking road around here. What I tried was my kitchen equipment if it is actually working and if I am able to get it working.
What I love about solo hiking is that there is an opportunity to take everything in undistracted by other people.
I love nature trips with friends who have a similar way of hiking, but sometimes probably from artistic and inspirational influence I just need to be alone and listen carefully to the silent voice of nature which can get lost in conversations with others.
Very often I am most lucky to get inspiration keep it inside and be able to take it out later when I hike and observe nature on my own. I guess these are two polarities which need to be balanced. Experience nature with others on outside level and then experience it alone on inside level. For me at least one doesn´t go without the other.
Trossachs welcomed me greatly.
It was nice and sunny most of days just when I was leaving and had no more hikes planed it started raining. There is something special about this area.
Mystical forests and plain bold mountains creates just the right contrast.
I love the feeling entering mountains where all you see are mountains for kilometres and kilometres in distance. It makes me feel free and all I would love to do is just run and never stop. Sometimes it almost feels as the body is a limit which gets tired, cold and hungry but deep inside there is this free spirit which longs for freedom of the mountains.
I was stunned by the beauty around here. Not only the village Callendar where I was staying was the most beautiful tiny village with river crossing through and mountains on its backdoor but the whole area resembled something very special.
As I walked through the forests nature showed me beautiful places and moments where light just played with the colours of trees and I happened to be in the right moment in the right place to enjoy it.
Few seconds later the moment passed and I stood there grateful for being showed such a beauty.
I guess that´s where is the believe in forest creatures who protect and guard the land is coming from, because this kind of moments and encounters are way too special to be merely coincidence. And I do love keeping this child like part full of imagination present inside of me.
Trossachs and Callander are on my future bucket list once again because this time I got a tiny glimpse of the beauty of this Mountain range. On the way back I have visited Doune Castle which is very special place as well. Maybe you got to know it from Outlander series or Monty Python and Holy Grale. Castle was under reconstruction so I didn´t get to see it in its full beauty yet still the magnificence of the place and secretes hidden in the castle walls were still present.
I loved creating the collage once I got back home where I used my sketches from the trip and kept the feeling these mountains gave me forever – to see how it worked out watch the video above.
Have you ever visited Trossachs National Park in Scotland or would you like to? What was your experience? Is nature your inspiration as well?