Right to Roam: Counting Rainbows in the
Scottish Highlands

Scotland’s historical blanket has but one thread of romance woven into its complicated pattern. It’s not a must-visit location for the avid snow-sports enthusiast. There’s no developed scene, just scattered and tattered locals with passionate appreciation for the place they call home. They’ve been shaped by the wind and rain as much as the mountains.

How do I know this? It started when I bought a Volkswagen camper van that happened to be parked in Europe. It was too good to pass up. Turbo diesel, 4×4, big enough to live in with a friend or two, but small enough to park anywhere. It was love at first click. My optimism for having the dream machine shipped across the Atlantic was led astray down a few roads we don’t have time to discuss at the moment. So leaving it across the pond had me poised for a whole slew of new adventures. It took almost a decade of dreaming for me to go snowboarding in Japan, just shy of that to finally get heli runs in Alaska. I never dreamed of riding in Scotland, perhaps the least romantic snowboarding destination in the world. But with a mobile home across the pond, why not?

The journey to Scotland began in Amsterdam, where I picked up my creative compatriots Wade Dunstan and David Cleeland along with Marie France-Roy. From there, we took a massive overnight ferry to Newcastle, UK. The three of them could have just as easily flown to Edinburgh. I could have ferried the van over solo, but selfishly I commanded their company. They thanked me by having a waitress bring me a frosty Smirnoff Ice to enjoy in one throat-searing chug just as the ship left the harbor. Old Poseidon must have been angry that night because it takes a lot to get a 200-foot boat rocking. I didn’t make it through dinner. Instead, I let the water god rock me to sleep. When I woke up, we were minutes from England’s Port of Tyne, just an hour south of the Scottish border…

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