THE CROFT / by Micaela

The croft.  If you’ve ever spoken to me for more than 20 minutes I’ve probably mentioned the croft, a little whitewashed box of a house nudged in the hills jutting up from the North Sea in the Highlands.  Going there is as close to a spiritual pilgrimage as I’m likely to get.

On the way up we always stop in a town called Aviemore for fish and chips and to stock up on provisions we won’t find up north (on the list of things you can’t get near the croft: diapers, bath mats, bagels)

Not the healthiest lunch ever

To get there you basically go north on endless single track roads winding through hours of rugged grazing pasture peppered with sheep and cows. The last quarter mile can hardly be called a road.  You feel as though you are about to drive off the jagged rocks and fall off the end of the earth at every turn.

And then you are here.


First cup of tea by the sea


The house is a traditional crofting farm house that has been in Sam's family for nearly 50 years.  The walls are a foot thick of solid stone.  There is no phone or television, and the house is heated with peat in a small cast iron stove in the kitchen.  There is nothing whatsoever that is precious or excessive. 

I come here to reduce myself to a basic search for sustenance and warmth.  It is not my place here to think or to have opinions.  I am nearly like a child here, fairly helpless, slower to catch on, not so capable as all of my strengths - obstinance, organization, resourcing information - are fruitless here. I am of no use herding sheep, wincing at my arthritic foot at the age of 36 as people twice my age rush past me.  I am easily lost. I lack a sense of direction as one is colorblind.  I can catch mackerel but cannot smash their heads on the side of the boat to put them at rest.  I wrestle with the stick shift and flinch as cars whip past my right side on the single track roads. I cannot build a fire with wet wood and peat.  I am the first to get cold, the first to get tired.  I find it a wonderful relief to be someplace where no one expects that I am capable of very much at all.

So mostly, I take pictures.

Jawbone on the beach
Chatting with Aunt Cis
Reading with Granny
Afternoon tea
A Loch
Roan and I checking the egg box - Photo courtesy of Sam
Roan with his collection of jawbones
Makeshift wagon
In the middle of the best nowhere ever