SCOTLAND SWIM by Micaela Walker
  “The sea on the north coast of Scotland is not ideal for swimming.  Even in the summer when the sun is blistering the water is frigid. Until they built a pool in town any fisherman who went overboard would drown because no one knew how to swim.  
When I am up there I stay with my husband’s family in a tiny house called a croft that overlooks the sea and an island called Nan Roan, which means the Island of the Seals. The walls are over a foot thick to keep out the relentless wind that whips off the sea and up the cliffs.  The sheep graze on seaweed on the rocky shore and tread tiny switchbacks up to the house and the grass. We put on wellies and vests and retrace their steps back down to the beach to row out and fish for mackerel and check the lobster pots. This flow of traffic between the sea and the croft is continuous.  
Occasionally someone will feel brave, build a fire on the beach with driftwood, chug some whisky, disrobe and barrel into the water.  No one lasts longer than a few minutes, whooping and laughing, before their skin turns numb and they run back to the fire and the whisky.  
I am never one of those people.  I stand in the surf in my boots, holding the towels, keeping them warm for the seafarers.”

Stay: Melvich Hotel in Sutherland, Scotland

-Micaela Walker

Micaela Walker is a Brooklyn based photographer. 

November 2012