Lochs, Bothies and Blue Skies.

I was in the Cairngorms earlier today; a big national park in the highlands of Scotland. It was a beautiful and I’d love to share some pictures with you.

If you are unfamiliar with Scotland I’ll reveal the mystery of what a Bothy is!

This is the view of the Cairngorms from Aviemore; taken from the main road at the bottom of the village:

On the road up to Cairngorm you pass Loch Morlich; there are often ducks at play; a lot of them were slipping and sliding on the ice today.

The start of our short walk; the sunlight on the trees was beautiful today:

 

We arrived at a small loch, a few people were around and there was a little fun to be had in breaking off chunks of ice and sliding them across the loch; it makes a beautiful sound. My friend Angus featured below.

 

Just a little bit further along the walk we’ve got a bothy.

Scotland has quite a few bothies especially around the more remote areas. They are typically ruined cottages or similar buildings that have basic restoration to provide shelter for hill walkers and mountaineers. They are often maintained by charities.

We are talking super basic. A roof, a fireplace and a concrete floor. No water, heating, toilet etc.

That view tho:

I’ve got great memories of Bothies. I used to do quite a bit of hill walking with my dad when I was young and while we’d carry tents if we came across a bothy we’d sleep inside. A chance to hang up wet socks and boots and get a roaring fire going.

Back in the day you’d often meet some interesting characters; fellow walkers, in a stay over in a bothy.

I’ve been travelling a lot last few years. I love travel and foreign countries and I’ve seen some beautiful landscapes.

But…

Gosh, Scotland is stunningly beautiful. And I wish I could describe how fresh and clean the air feels. Even compared to moderately clean air towns the air up in the highlands is so fresh. You feel high!

So I guess like many Scots, my heart really is in Scotland.

 

A Coastal Harbour Town in Scotland


Fishing boats in wait,
Metal clangs, a seagull calls,
But otherwise still,

Fishermen resting
In cottages, a respite,
From the cold hard seas,

Wire mesh, wooden slats,
Lobster pots piled by the side,
Waiting for their bait,

A visitor walks,
Taking photos, fingers numb,
Scotland’s winter coast


These are a few photographs I took in Anstruther; a small former fishing village on the East Coast of Scotland. They were taken last winter, it was super cold and my fingers were numb holding the camera 🙂

Scotland’s Mountains – An Ode to Sir Hugh Monroe (Writing 201 day 5)

Outdoor walking, early morning, hills loom above; a tidal wave of green,
Damp socks and wet boots waiting, silence but for the trickling of a stream,
Wild mountainous terrain; sometimes rolling, often rocky, by chance is it a dream?

A famous Scot; Sir Hugh Munroe, he catalogued the tallest mountains seen,
From Ben Lomond in the south to Ben Hope in the north; not smaller than three thousand feet,
Alas, Munro himself stood upon five hundred and thirty five peaks, sadly that’s three left to complete.

Peak of the shoe, ridge of the fox, hill of horse studs,
Summit of the corries, old upper part, hill of the son of duff,
These are the names of some Munros; originally in Gaelic, Norse and Scots,
That were given by hunters, herders and crofters in times long forgot,
This dramatic landscape, with ridges that bite and sides so sheer, may induce fear,
When I was young; father took me their; the memories are something to revere.

 


(edit: I wasn’t quite happy; I had to re-work this a bit).

It’s day 5 of writing201. Prompt word – ‘Map’, form – ‘Ode’, device – ‘Metaphor’.

I decided to structure my Ode according to the traditional greek form; Pindaric Ode, which is the pattern – abb acc ddeeff.

Thinking about ‘Map’; I decided to write about my home country Scotland and Sir Hugh Munroe. Sir Hugh identified and created a table of all the mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet tall. It was published in Sept 1891. Over time it’s become something of a challenge to walk/climb all the Munroes, but not many have done it. Unfortunately for Sir Hugh he passed away just 3 Munroes short of his target of all 538 peaks. But he inspired generations of Scots to take up the challange and see the country by journey through his list of Munros.

The first picture is one I took at the very start of the year in the Cairngorms at Loch Morlich. The second was a little later in the year at Rannoch Moor. I also described a little of the feeling of being in the Munroes at the start. My dad took me walking there when I was young. Scotland has a lot of fairly wild and remote land, and with the highly changable weather; from sunshine to storms in an hour, you often end up in wet boots.

Limericks about Tam and Cookie (Writing 201 day 4)

cookie

there was a cookie, gold like
the morning sun, with choc chips dark as
midnight comes, so crumbly to see
it’s comforting to me
But wait! – 500 calories, that’s just no fun.


tam

there was a man named tam
who loved a bit of a dram
unlucky for him
life can be grim
his wife was not a fan


BloggingU – writing 201 day 4. Today the prompt word was ‘imperfect’, the form ‘limerick‘ and the device ‘enjambment‘.

The first poem ‘cookie’ came from my state of mind today. This week I’m only eating porridge at breakfast and korean food at night (kimchi, rice, vegetables etc). I like to do occasional weeks like this to give my digestive system good treatment. The side effect is I am thinking about cookies a lot. And of course the perfect cookie would be made of kale and broccoli but taste as a normal one does.

The second poem I wrote after reading the wikipedia on limericks; which describes the ‘nonsense’ funny style of Edward Lear. I realised limericks are popular for amusing topics between men and women, and while I didn’t go into anything too racey, I thought this was fun. Tam is a very ‘scottish’ name and a ‘dram’ is what we call a whiskey. And it’s quite a traditional stereotype that the man in the family would try to sneak in a dram or too at night; all to the disaproval of the lady; who normally controls the house.

A couple of limericks about the form that made my laugh out loud
There was a young man of Japan
Whose limericks never would scan.
When asked why this was,
He replied “It’s because
I always try to fit as many syllables into the last line as ever I possibly can.
– unknown

There was an old man with a beard,
A funny old man with a beard
He had a big beard
A great big old beard
That amusing old man with a beard.
– comedian john clarke