As a child living in rural Scotland it never occurred to me just the profound impression the surrounding mountains and oceans had on me. With parents that worked 13 hours days we were never able to take full advantage of our adopted surroundings and the furtherest adventure we took was to the local sand dune beaches 20 minutes at the end of the single track road.
The day we left our minute highland village of Campbeltown (Kintyre peninsula) and relocate in the Midlands, England, I recall staring out the backseat window as we weaved through the valleys (Glens, when you're in Scotland) and pointing upwards requesting "can we go to the top of that hill?" For the next four hours before reaching the English border I stared out the window, transfixed on the idea of being surrounded by mountains (Ben, again when in Scotland) with a view of the ocean.
"Not today...maybe you can come back one day." - Parent's reply
Fifteen years separated the next time I would visit the other side of the border but neither the fascination nor the impression of the landscape had diminished.
Visits to Scotland are much more frequent these days with family, friends and work all taking me north over the border. However, these visits are often fleeting and precise and upon returning South I often felt a disappointment that I had drove (or flew) away from an opportunity.
Travelling to beautiful parts of the world seeking huge mountains and summits with cycling clients and racing is a great privilege, but, these places have only fuelled a desire to explore the land that sparked my curiosity with mountains and it's characteristics.