Highland sheep dotted the roadside under the pre-dawn sky. The velvet canopy looked like flocks of faeries had tossed fistfuls of glitter at the new moon only to have it stashed inside the Big Dipper and then purposefully strewn across the Milky Way by their extraterrestrial counterparts so that this tiny group of earthlings might stand in awe of the universe’s expansive beauty from the gravel car park at the foot of Beinn Hiant, Scotland’s Magic Mountain*, the highest hill on the Ardnamurchan peninsula.
The bulky behemoth’s size was clear from the patch of twinkling stars that it blocked from sight. The mountain is touted as being an easily manageable ascent in the tourist guides, but for the out-of-shape slug I’d recently become, I viewed watching the sunrise with my retreat companions after a seventeen-hundred-foot hillwalk more like an expedition up Everest.
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