Having always had a creative streak in me, I've been crafting handmade candles for 20 years. After an unexpected and heartbreaking redundancy, a friend mentioned I should try selling my candles. Being here in the Highlands, I found that the amazing flora that grows wildly throughout its breathtaking woodlands and landscape afforded me an opportunity to create unique, plant-based, naturally scented candles, that are not only safer for the environment and all of us individually, but are beautiful as well.
My passion and love for creating things ties in with my passion and love for the environment - nurturing it, protecting it, respecting it - and after much contemplation, I decided to start selling my candles.
After coming to Scotland in 2008 for the first time, and exploring its magical and stunning landscapes for over a month, I fell madly in love with this enchanted land. I vowed on that return flight to the U.S. that I would move to Scotland and live here the rest of my life. As a strong-willed and determined woman, once I put my mind to something, I don't stop until I finish what I've started. It took me nearly 10 years of planning, the selling of my home and all my belongings, blood, sweat and tears, but in 2018, I made the life-changing leap!
As a 'Sassenach' on a solo adventure with my three cats, we made our way to the Scottish Highlands. It was a long and tiring journey, but so rewarding to bring my dream to fruition.
This particular area - Rannoch - grabbed my heart and resonated with my soul when I first visited in 2008. There's something so very special about this area - so much beauty, tranquility and history here - it stirs something deep inside you. As you drive past Queen's View and make your way towards Rannoch, you feel as though time transcends and you're entering another world. To now be a part of this amazing country, to be living my dream here, is an incredible gift that I cherish.
Being surrounded by nature, wildlife, clean, fresh air and scenery that takes your breath away, I am extremely grateful that I get to live, work and create in this magical place and call it my home!
Ironically, after moving here in 2018, I learned the famous 'Craigh na Dun' scene in the popular TV series 'Outlander' (and other scenes) had been filmed right here in Rannoch - hence why I chose the name Sassenach Scents for my business. And whilst the term 'Sassenach' is in fact a fairly derogatory term for someone who is a foreigner here, I chose to see it as a perfect representation - both personally, (being a foreigner), also geographically (where I live and the ties with the Outlander filming locations), and marketing-wise - making it a positive, proud and memorable name to take on.
I have some of my best ideas sitting on my bench at my cottage, surrounded by gorgeous hills, a beautiful loch, an abundance of wildlife and woodland!
The History of Rannoch
Like many parts of the Scottish Highlands, Rannoch's history is bloody.
Rannoch was ravaged during the Battle of Culloden, the final fight between the Jacobites and the British Government in 1745, when nearly 2,000 Scots were killed or wounded. Many of the Jacobites rebels watched atop the crag while government soldiers destroyed their homes. The Battle of Culloden finally led to the defeat of the Jacobites. Fortunately, the violent Rannoch history is way behind them and the community now enjoys a more tranquil and quiet existence.
Loch Rannoch, River Tummel and the 3,000 feet Carn Mairg mountain range give Rannoch its dramatic background. The majestic and famous Mount Schiehallion (known as the 'fairy mountain') also serves as the guardian of this magical place.
Driving the wooded roads along the shore of Loch Rannoch, with its wide expanse of blue water reflecting the sky and the woods around it, visitors can’t fail to feel in awe of its
magnificent and historical surrounding.