"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 4 October 2012

On the Road - or Whisky and Kilts

Part two of travels with My Other Half*.

Although we have seemingly stopped travelling this week, by staying in a little wooden lodge by a burn [see I know the correct phraseology] not too far from Fort William, we are in fact using it as a base to travel around the Highlands, some of the Islands and other northerly places in Scotland.

Our choices of places to visit are, as ever, idiosyncratic. As well as 'must see' sites like Loch Ness - taking the usual snaps of each other by the Loch and putting these on facebook with titles like 'The real monster of Loch Ness' [oh the wit!] - some of our destinations have been determined by facts like family history; places where friends and family now live; shopping; places named in Great Literature [me]

Other Half has a couple of places where way back in his family history his ancestors lived. One we visited yesterday and is the furthest North we have reached on this trip: Ullapool in Ross and Cromarty. A really lovely village with a very comprehensive, although deceptively small, museum. The first folder Other Half opened in the family history section of the museum showed a photograph of his grandfather about to depart with his battalion for the front in November 1914. We also managed to fill in a few missing details about the family prior to and just after WW1.

Today's destination on the Isle of Skye was actually one of those really wild ideas of mine. One of my favourite authors is Wilkie Collins [the link is to the excellent site by Paul Lewis], and one of Collins' best books imo is Armadale And as Armadale is a small place on the coast of Skye, I [we!] obviously had to visit.... [Collins' visited Armadale on Skye when yachting around Scotland] A very pretty place to visit. Although the photo of me [courtesy of Other Half] at the Ferry Terminal flatters neither the place nor me it does show the name 'Armadale'!!

We also found an interesting place which allowed me to indulge other odd interests of mine - a tin chapel and a canal system. Another little village, Fort Augustus. Other Half also managed to get me up in a 'gondola' - a sort of cable car - up one of the mountains in the Ben Nevis range. As I am not a lover of heights this was a momentous experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Politics - past and present - can never be completely left behind: listening to the speeches at the Labour Party Conference on the radio whilst driving about and thinking about the Highland Clearances whilst driving around the Glens etc. On the first point I actually enjoyed Ed Milliband's speech, on the second I was even more enraged at the unfairness of the 'us and them' that allowed the Clearances to impoverish even further the already dispossessed.

*With apologies to Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt

Photo of Ullapool courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ullapool

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