SITTING in a campsite, in chilly misty evening rain, during what we call summer, is, I think, a quintessential part of Scottish identity.

Oh and I forgot to mention the midges, which add a particularly Highland flavour to any camping trip up north.

Such was our experience last weekend after we managed to find a campsite that was open. We managed just one overnight stay in Glen Nevis.

It has always been a favourite glen of mine.

Its beauty challenges the majestic Glencoe, but its landscape is gentler and less rugged, and the upper reaches of the glen take you back in time, to the majesty of the ancient Caledonian forest.

In the days when I was a tour guide, I always thought that mist and rain were an essential part of a trip to the Highlands.

People would refer to hot and sunny weather as good weather, but I’d always say that in the Highlands mist and rain can be good weather too.

On such days, the weather would add the veil of mystery and unpredictability that makes the landscape so intriguing.

Hardly ever was the approach to Glencoe the same because of the weather; it changes the landscape in ways the imagination could never predict.

Swirling mists which dress the peaks, layers of low lying cloud which suddenly break to allow sparkling rays of sunshine; it’s spine-tinglingly magical.

On days of so called good weather, when the skies were a cloudless blue, I always felt there was something missing in the experience.

I know all this might sound like patter from VisitScotland attempting to persuade rain drenched tourists that they are lucky to have experienced the true mystery of our country but for me it has always been true.

Of course, days of endless pelting rain are no fun and can spoil a holiday, but for me, some mist and rain, in moderation, makes a Highland holiday all the more memorable.

Such was our experience last weekend, with two days that seemed to be in different seasons.

When we arrived we were lucky to be able to put up the tent just in time, before the rain got heavy.

It’s always an awkward moment for me; putting up our tent in full view of other campers, as we struggle to remember which pole goes where and try not to look like we need assistance.

It could’ve been easy to be despondent at the weather. Dark brooding clouds shrouded the sides of Ben Nevis, bringing rain that threatened to dampen everything; but I refused to let it dampen our spirits.

I recited the famous quote: “In Scotland there is no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing.”

We had a hearty camp stove meal and then set off for our walk in the Nevis Gorge.

It’s a well kent walk now, but when I was first taken many years ago before the internet it was a relatively unknown secret. I still remember the sense of awe as I heard the roar of the river below, and the sight of the distant waterfall An Steall as we emerged from the gorge.

Our trick was to go on our walk when it was raining, and after teatime; so we had the place almost to ourselves, well apart from the midges.

Our midge repellent was gold dust, and I’ve always found the trick in avoiding midges is to keep moving, which we did, except for once, and we momentarily paid the price.

It was a walk in the childhood footsteps of my younger self, where my young children were re-pacing along the route also taken by their older siblings years ago.

It was about saying “here is a place important to me, part of who I am; it’s yours now, if you want it to be”.

Yet not saying it with words, but by making memories that I hope will last as long as mine have.

The rain and mist was all part of it, and yes even the midges. As often happens, the weather began to clear as we headed back.

The sun broke through and the clouds developed a sparkling yellow tint. The mountains appeared, like giants awoken and rising to their true height.

Sunshine briefly warmed our faces and it seemed a gift from the gods for our endurance.

The kids danced and sang the song “I can see clearly now the rain has gone” as they saw a rainbow.

I knew the rain hadn’t really gone so we didn’t dally.

We made it back to the car, tired with sore legs, but before the next dark cloud arrived.

That evening we recounted our experiences in the tent, and I told stories about the Jacobites and the old Highland way of life, and the connection to the Battle of Prestonpans on our own doorstep.

The kids listened, partly because we were camping and they had no screens, so no choice; but I’d like to believe partly also because we were in a land where stories and legends are steeped in the soil and they now felt a small part of them.

It lashed with rain all night. But its rage had ended by morning and the new day welcomed us with sunshine.

New adventures beckoned, with other memories to impart, on what was to become our sunny day.

Loch Oich, rich in family memory and where the ashes of both my parents were scattered.

Then Loch Ness, a fitting end to a pilgrimage, especially for my monster daft wee boy, and his sisters who love the mystery of the story.

Such was our short “staycation” this summer.

We’d followed what I have always called The Road of Legends; which is the title of my yet to be published novel, an abridged version of which will be serialised on this page very soon.