The summit of Craig Dunain – a 288-metre hill rising south-west of Inverness – was my night’s ambition. Even the three towering telecommunications masts and the cloak of trees don’t spoil this place, for the rewards of an ascent are worth a little toil. As it was, the climb was a joy; first along the Caledonian Canal, then up a muddy track and across the A82, before it was on to the eight hairpins that took my path on a zigzag route through a forest clearing. Back under the cover of trees, all that remained was the final, interminable slog up an ever rising slope to the trio of masts.
And there it was – Inverness shining below, the Kessock Bridge stretching out across the invisible waters of the Moray Firth. From the summit, the real world – if you can call Inverness the real world – is so close, yet standing alone in the darkness, an almost full Moon overhead, the sense of detachment from this world was overwhelming. I touched the top and plummeted downhill.