As To The Why
Why am I so 'enthralled' with Scotland? The answer is elusive. It might have something to do with the shape of the hills and mountains, the general 'lay of the land' or it's chequered history. The main reason (I'm a walker!) certainly is that perfect sense of being totally alone while following a twisting path across the moors, with the grey-green craggy hills left and right. There is the call of a lone bird wheeling in the windswept sky and the soft murmur of a peaty stream flowing through the heather. To tread where perhaps no man has trodden before. The land is pristine, untouched, unspoiled, but....there is that empty coke can in the grass and a jet flashes across the sky, ripping my perfect dream to tatters. Oh well. Probably it is just me playing these mind games, but then again, it is nobody’s mind but mine anyway. It's the only one I've got!
For the lover of nature and history, Scotland is paradise incarnate.
Castles? Although many castles have disappeared, there are still quite a few in existence (more then 2000!), perhaps in ruins or modified to become family homes, but that still leaves the visitor with many interesting, sometimes even spectacular discoveries to make. There are of course the great edifices of Blair, Cawdor or Inveraray, but apart from these better known buildings, there are so many lesser known castles and towers and some of those are (I think) much more intriguing!
There are literally 100's of sites in Scotland where blood was spilt for many a different (and now often forgotten) cause. A very sobering thought.
It’s odd, but the best known fields of 'honour' like Bannockburn and Culloden are so commercialised that visitors with even a minimal sense of history and no more than a thimbleful of imagination could very well be disappointed.
The grass is kept short, the hedges are well trimmed and the visitor centre with its audiovisual show always has friendly people to answer any queries one may have. Still, do go and visit, because, although there is nothing even remotely reminiscent of yesteryear's strive, one can at least say: "Been there, done that".
There are lesser known sites e.g. Glenfruin, where in the heather one may just hear the faint echo of steel on steel. Famous names which spring to mind are Rob Roy McGregor, Macbeth, Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Eochaid ‘the Poisonous’ (How I love that name!) and of course Mary, Queen of Scots. Yes, they all had their day and they all saw the sun set over the green clad hills. Yet, no matter how important they thought themselves to be back then, there is no escape from "the way of all flesh".
Scotland's most impressive asset however is it's natural beauty. The vibrant and lush Cairngorms, the dreamy dales of the Borders region and the rugged mountains in the northwest. Its all there to be discovered. Scotland never ever disappoints!
This site is a serious effort on my part to somehow, make sense of it all. To create a viable and much more accessible alternative to the guidebook I mentioned earlier. It may not have the scope and depth of e.g. Undiscovered Scotland, but they've been around for quite a while and catching up is not exactly what I have in mind. I hope you'll enjoy this "labour of love" just the same!
I would like to extend a very warm thanks to my dear friend Judith Sleigh, owner of Tourism Scotland at Banchory. I have known Judith for about 35 years and she is very good at keeping me focused with my eyes 'on the ball'. A wonderful lady!