From Iceland we went over to Scotland for a few days in the southern highlands. The story is just a continuation from Iceland.
Off to Scotland we go. Got into the airport by 6h30, checked in with millions of other people. It looks like all the flights to Europe leave early in the morning; destinations were to all major European centres. And it's all Iceland Air; do they possibly have a monopoly on these routes?
It was nice in Glasgow, as we got off the plane we knew where to catch the bus, which left 2 or 3 minutes after we got on, we knew we had to get to Queens Street station and we knew where and when the train for Fort Williams was leaving . We have done it all before. There were 40 minutes to wait for the trains departure, which I wanted to use to do some shopping for food. No luck, there are no supermarkets in the centre of Glasgow. We only went as far as Crianlarich, that is four stops, and got out.
Fortunately there was a little shop and a telephone. The shop didn't have everything but enough for me. And up the hill we went, first through a lovely forest. The weather was a bit wet but not too bad. It didn't bother us until we had to get off the road to follow a fire-break, our boots immediately got soaked. Out of the forest we now got into the valley of the river Falloch. Initially there was still a farm road to be followed, that was nice. Higher up we ran out of road and the swamp started in earnest. Eventually I called it quits, even before we reached the top. It bad started to rain properly and the tent was put up and we got down to the usual evening activities; cooking, eating, sleeping.
Up at 6am, lift-off' at 8am for a nice breakfast en route to Glasgow As with the Greenland trip, caught Queens Street station 12.42pm train north by Loch Lomond, chatting to wee Edinburgh lady and her San Francisco visitor; to Crianlarich for sweets, oatcakes and another disposable camera from the wee post office, as it tried to drizzle. Phoned home, then walked east into Inverardran Forest, along a soggy ﬁre-ride, and up the valley of the river Falloch and Coire Earb. It kept drizzling, and we kept wearying, until we camped at a stream-fork at 6. 30pm. The rain increased as we read and cooked in the tent then had an early night.
I slept well and sort of was still asleep when Jim said its 5 past seven. The battle with the swamp continued. Diverting from the original plan we took a lower shoulder to get over into the valley Ishog. There was some hesitation, because of the gap between the maps we were not 100% sure that this shoulder would take us down into the right valley. All is well that ends well, we got down to the river Larig and onto a road. From now on our boots could start to dry.
And we walked and walked. At a picnic site I insisted that we have a lunch stop. At least here we could sit on a table in comfort. Next stop was the bar of the Monachyle Mhor hotel, because Jim wanted a pint. The bar lady was a bubbling young Australian lass. She was on a world tour and just stopped over for a few month to replenish her money supply. We planned to make our next stop the hotel at the end of the loch; it was a long way to walk. There we had haggis and chips, this served as dinner.
And now it was only a few meters down the road and we disappeared into the forest to set up camp under these magniﬁcent fir trees. Here we came across our ﬁrst harvest of blueberries. Over night we had a visit from a screeching owl and from a nightingale, it was wonderful.
Away by 8am, cool and dry. but fairly wet ground as we went up and over 550m Stob Glas Bheag (pass) and down the Ishag Burn to the River Larig, seeing a few distant red deer: After coffee and a wash, we followed the track down to Inverlochlarig farm and Blaircreich forestry estate. to snack in the visitors car park. I enjoyed a pint of Belhaven in Monachyle Mhor Hotel by Loch Doine, while Horst had coffee and shortcake and we chatted with the waitress from Queensland Then we hiked along beside Loch Vbig to visit Rob Roy is grave at Balquhidder And for supper in the sun outside The Kings House Hotel on the A84. there was a pint of Mackav's Thistle then haggis and chips (with the spuds compromising the Channel Islands via Mackay of Killin). Then just up the track, picking blaeberries. we camped in the forest and strolled around for water Screech owl, pheasants. shotguns and midges punctuated the night.
Initially we walked the busy road to Callander but soon branched off to join the bike trail to Callander. We were walking on an old rail bed. We had come to this conclusion by studying the bridges, which were far to heavily build for normal traffic. This theory was later confirmed when we got to the end of the line and had a look at the information board. The line had only been shut down in the 60th.
Blueberries and wild strawberries were picked on the way. It was ll miles to the camp-site in Callander and it cost us £4 each. The showers were free, so we used them. Washing some cloth in the washing machine and drying them in the tumble dryer cost me £2. After that we went back to town to have some fish and chips, which we consumed sitting next to a pond with jumping fish.
breakfast with midges. and away by 8am by road and an old dismantled railway track to Strathyre then across the River Leny. The track followed Loch Lubnaig to the Falls of Leny and the traces of an old Roman fort to Callander by 4pm. There were blaeberries and wild strawberries and lovely green scenery. although my legs seemed a bit sore and my pack heavy and the weather a bot clouay and cool. But the camp-site was great. with good showers and laundry, then we walked back into Callander to eat fish suppers with pickles and lrn Bru by St Kessogis mound by the river Tieth, watching the fish jump.
Susan Blackmore's Meme Machines chapter on the selfplex has me half convinced that I am no more than a memeplex, but then how do I switch it off and sleep. I asked myself at 10:30pm. It's too far back into town for a beer Think off placid snow bank? Well I slept,later:
After phoning Ruth to tell her to meet us in Duone we got onto the old railway embankment and marched the 10 km to Duone. That was only interrupted by picking cherries, strawberries and black currents. In Duone, got there by about l2h00; we had a hamburger in a pub and duly met Ruth and her mom in the main square of the village. And that was the end of the hiking part of the holiday. The next day I was on the plane back home.
Bacon, flatkökur/smjor, mint tea/sugar There is no self to ignore the selfplex, so the body, brain and memes of jim will acceptingly enjoy the day and H will not be criticised en route to Ruth/Cream Mazda/Doune/1pm.
There were cherries hanging in Jim's hat on his chest, and wild raspberries, and half a bottle of decent South African white wine waiting by the track and a red deer crossing the dismantled rail way. A crested green plover limped away, and a wee mouse scampered. Horse-flies. Black currants! A baby oyster catcher peeped and ran after mum for deep cover; just like in Iceland. Baby rabbits scattered. A cottager was less than amiable as we crossed his yard. And finally. in a drizzly Doune town centre, a grand hamburger and pint of McEwans 80/- satisfied the selfplex.
Ruth and her Mum drove us by Yetts o'Mickhart and (Cameron MacNiece is) [ilnathort to Scotlandswell for a sip, then Cardenden, to Kirkcaldy station. My train was all stations - Kinghom, Burntisland, Aberdour; Dalgety Bay, Inverkeithing (Þorsmörk laugh), North Queensfimy the Forth Bridge Dalmeny, South Gyle, Haymarket - to Waverley. In drizzle to Thins bookshop in George St. for a book and coffee, then down to Jen's (briefly via the wrong doorstep) to find Mum and Ben at home, and Jen later Real supper? TV chatting, showering, and 11pm bed in a real house - a Stockbridge colony house, moreover
Jen had work to do, so Ben and I went for a swim at the public baths. After lunch (mush and spuds), we bussed to the New Museum and around it then into a coffee shop, then home in the rain or TV and newspapers and email, which I showed Mum. Jen took me to a pub with a great live band (fine version of tougher than the rest) to meet (Geordie) Gordon, her Rose Street busker; and sample various draught beers.
Mum drove off home and I walked up to town to get films developed and visit Virgin and HMV (no Brideshead Revisited video) and Waterson's for Starbucks Guatemalan coffee and ginger snaps. Found a cheap hip flask in the Grassmarket, then walked by the Cowgate to Holyrood Park and back up the lower Royal Alile (shopping all the way) to Waverley for my Hereford train ticket. Met Jen and Ben at Maison Hector for coffee, then later Gordon babysat as we ate at The Apartment at Tolcross, then drank at a folk/fiddlers ' group pub and went home to watch Billy Connolly tapes into the small hours with Gordon.
Read the Scotsman then drove via a Portobello art gallery to collect Auntie Betty for lunch at Peter Potter's. After banking, tea at Bannerville then home for more Connolly and a Bond movie.
Packed and idled until Jen/Ben ran me to Waverley for the 11.55am Virgin train to Birmingham. New St for Hereford where Lindsey met me. Lamb casserole for supper; then Lewis and Hannah came round for photos, TV and chat.
Studied Lindsey's books with her: then walked around town and had a beer; walked with L along the river to see the dead-tree carvings. We four went out for an Indian meal in the evening, discussing all sorts of nonsense.
Daily Telegraph on Lindseys floral balcony. She drove me to a Weobley art/banners exhibition and coffee, then to Hay for a jigsaw shop (12000 pieces/New York), bookshops and soup and a roll, and back by a farm shop. Jogging back from getting cinema tickets I 'cricked' my hip and got a slight limp (for a week). Nice haggis for dinner; then saw MI-2 (Tom Cruise) with L and Lewis.
General sorting and packing, then around town shopping, with church-balcony (rude carving) lunch of quiche and new spuds with Dorothy Goodbody golden ale. Sun and coffee among Ls balcony flowers, then the 2. 45pm train to Newport (chatting to nice Welsh primary headmistress) for Reading and the Heathrow bus. Visited terminals (bus-drivers guess) 1 and (Virgin SA flight also at 19h00) 3 to phone Links and enjoy coffee and a donut, then (by the Heathrow Express again, back to where we started) 4. Acquired duty-flee cask Bowmore and a big black tin of Twinings, but not (mistake./) a Furbee. So many queues in Britain! Some of us remember about sitting patiently.
8.25pm Saturday I5 July 2000
Waiting to board BA57 to Jo'burg, Gladly completing a month on the loose, Anticipating my welcoming Linkie, Addy and Lolly, Aubie and Moose. And, for my first time, a fancy seatback screen with map and stats:
10.02 5643mi 9082km ETA 8.11 (9.11 SA)
BBC World News - Pine Lake (nr: Calgary) trailer park tornado, and landless Zimbabweans to get 200 White-owned farms. 5.37 (6.37 SA) 11277m 1000km/h -49°C 1:59 to go 1 01 3mi to go
Chatting to returning mother about SA s good points. Mission to Mars , what a crap pre-sleep video. Woke up for the last of American Beauty then early ablutions and breakfast. Queued forever at passport control and told him what this will do to tourism. And family and seriously chilly Sunday morning weather and home and dogs and horses and tea and photos and and and
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