Imagine the wildest place in Britain. Some would say the most beautiful. Hundreds and hundreds of square miles of absolutely nothing. Nothing but soaring mountains and tumbling waterfalls.
Majestic stags on the horizon. An otter by the loch side. Utter silence save for the quet whistling of the wind and perhaps the lapping of dappled water on lochside shingle. A place so wild that even the grass sometimes finds it hard to grow.
Welcome to Assynt. Now imagine in the midst of this wilderness a tiny little hotel that can only take half a dozen people. Not some cold and damp lodge, but a warm modern building, though furnished with exquiste family antiques and run by a local laird's daughter who gave up a successful career in the city to come home to the land that she loves.
Welcome to Ruddyglow. There's not much to do here. No motorways. No airports. No traffic. Just Assynt. And log fires in the sitting room. And a dram before dinner. And then perhaps some soup made with a pheasant stock. Or some local scallops. And then venision. Or a risotto made from forest picked mushrooms. And then perhaps a little sorbet. And a fireside chat before bed. There will be no after dinner entertainment. No comedians. No piped music. No hard sell. Just deep glorious sleep.
In the morning you will probably mean to go for a walk around a ruined castle. But will rise late. Breakfast is when it suits you. It's that's sort of place. Ruddyglow. It's a strange name, but after a few days you will start to understand what it means. But dont just imagine it, come and experience it. You will be made welcome, and may well come again.Written for Ruddyglow Park by Sir Maxwell MacLeod
When did you last sit and watch a sun set? It's a serious question. When did you last sit for an hour and gaze at the sun as it set. And watched for the tiny flashes of green light that leap from the golden orbe in it's dying seconds?
Here in Assynt we find that we often watch the sun set over the Loch that sits at our door step. There's not a lot that happens here. Oh the Macleods built the now ruined castle by the Loch in around fourteen ninety but since then it's been pretty quiet. If they came back now they would find that nothing much had changed.
The deer still come down to drink at the Lochside in the evening. The swans still drift in from Iceland in the Spring. The oyster catchers still welcome the dawn with a tiny, shrill cry.
The Gaelic people have this theory about the dawn. Just as there are flashes of green when the sun sinks, so there is a flash of magic when the sun rises. They call it the dream moment. It's the moment when all the dreams go into the heads of all the sleeping children. The gannets falling down the back of the wind do not have to move their wings at that moment. The new born lamb is as still as marble. And the seal turning in the wave pauses.
Come and experience your own sunsets, and sun rises. Again. Maybe you too will have a dream moment.