There is a theory occasionally put forward by lovers of the Scottish Highlands (that includes me), that the terrible weather and the midges are our best friends.
Incredible but true.
Europe is a crowded part of the world. The landscapes are diverse, often beautiful. But in many areas that natural splendour has been ruined because too many people want a piece of it. We are so lucky that, here in Scotland, the magnificent, dramatic mountain scenery has largely escaped the over-development which scars so many of the continent's most attractive regions.
[Don't worry dog lovers, we are going to come on to Bertie in a moment...]
If NW Scotland had a climate like the Mediterranean, and someone ever found a means to magic away the swarms of little biting insects who time their activity so perfectly to coincide with the summer holiday season, then who knows how many hotels, holiday apartments, shopping malls, car parks etc. etc. would blemish the near pristine environment.
Yes, we owe those midgies and the plentiful rain a huge debt of gratitude....
FINE BUT WHAT'S ALL THIS GOT TO DO WITH BERTIE ? (I hear you ask).
If you read my last post, you'll already have seen pictures of Bertie, the darling wire-haired fox terrier puppy who will, from next month onwards, be sharing my life.
'Bertie' will be his everyday name, but he will have a 'posh' Kennel Club name too. The first bit of his official identity will be, as is customary, that of his home kennels (Granddach - Gaelic for the family name Grant). I get to choose two more names. How to decide?
When dear old Hamish was in his pomp he just loved roaming around the vast empty spaces of Northern Scotland and scampering up our rugged hills.
His special favourite was the Munro* situated at the back of my cottage on Loch Torridon. It's called Beinn Alligin, thought to mean the Jewelled Mountain or Mountain of Beauty.
People were always amazed that a short-legged wee chappie like Hamish would make it all the way to the top, but here's the proof:
Bertie will, I hope, be enjoying many trips with me over to Torridon in the coming years. I am so looking forward, when he is fully grown and his legs are strong enough, to wandering around in the hills and glens with him, the two of us together exploring our stunning landscape. One day, for sure, we shall follow in the footsteps of my much missed Westie, and 'Granddach Beinn Alligin' (a.k.a. Bertie) will also have a chance to admire the awesome view from the summit of his eponymous Munro.
Weather permitting of course..........
*All Scottish peaks over 3000 ft high are called Munros - there are 284 in total.