Ben Nevis Scotland
I am a Scotsman. I am not a separatist, or a nationalist. I was born in Scotland, and Scotland is the place that made me. I am British because of an ambiguous ‘treaty’ that was signed in 1707, and my granny was born in Dublin so I have Irish roots.
But I have a Scottish accent and a good, ‘firm but fair’ Scottish attitude and upbringing, and identify myself as a Scotsman (as well as being a citizen of Planet ‘Earth’). And even although I have spent my whole life (46 years) trying to escape Scotland’s damp and dreary shores, she always draws me back again, in a kind of ‘love / hate’ relationship.
Note: I am not anti-English – far from it – I have loads of English pals; I am anti-Westminster, and a punk rocker/hippy punk, and anti-establishment at heart.
When I added the ‘Other Destinations’ tab to the menu on my Thailand Travel Blog http:thai-nomad.com (I am married to a Thai national and have two Scottish/Thai children). My first post was about a country that I love – Nepal. I trekked the Annapurna Circuit in 2012 and fell in love with Nepal. Anyway, I’ve been around the world a bit and was brainstorming a country that I could write about for my next blog post when I read a blog post by an Australian girl giving an Australian’s perspective on the Province of Victoria in Australia.
So… here we are – SCOTLAND, from a Scotsman’s perspective.
My first post about Scotland is… BEN NEVIS...
Mountains – BEN NEVIS
Ben Nevis is Scotland’s highest mountain. It stands at 4413 feet or 1345m. In some countries that would hardly qualify as a hill never mind a mountain but Scotland is a small country and our mountains are big lumps of rock that rise to those elevations from more or less sea-level, and they are oftentimes deadly in adverse conditions.
Scotland is part of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, wales, and Northern Ireland). In 2014 – we Scots blew the opportunity of a lifetime when we rejected Independence. ‘YES’ voters (for independence) were gutted; ‘NO’ voters (or ‘NawBags’) were relieved. But democracy is democracy and sometimes it doesn’t seem fair, and that, unfortunately, is the way the RIZLA rolls… ‘YES’ (45%)
Anyway, moving on…I am a keen hill-walker, as is my twelve-year-old son. We live on the outskirts of Glasgow in a rundown ‘New Town’ called East Kilbride. East Kilbride has been my home on and off for forty-six years and I am quite fond of it in some ways, and loathe it in others, ‘The Jesus and Mary Chain’, a well-known, East Kilbride band from the 80’s indie-music scene, once described East Kilbride as being a suburban nightmare, and in many ways, I can’t disagree.
for Glasgow Hotels see here
But I digress – back to the topic… The West Highland region of Scotland starts about 40 miles north of East Kilbride (Glasgow), where the most southerly ‘Munro’ is located, BEN LOMOND at 3,196 feet (a ‘Munro’ is a Scottish mountain over 3000 feet, named after the Scottish Aristocrat Sir Hugh Munro, who compiled the first list of 3000+ feet peaks in Scotland).
We (my son and I) have climbed Ben Lomond 5 or 6 times and recommend it for first-time hill-walkers. A reasonable level of fitness is required for climbing Ben Lomond, but you don’t need to be an athlete to climb it, just don’t underestimate it, people have died on Ben Lomond, so get well-equipped, as this is Scotland and the weather can change drastically very quickly.
BEN NEVIS is a further 60 miles north of BEN LOMOND, near the gateway to the Highlands – Fort William, a town of about 10,000 inhabitants. There is a famous walk in Scotland called The West Highland Way. The West Highland Way is a 95-mile trek from Milngavie, near Glasgow to Fort William and is well-worth the effort if you have the time to walk it (typically 5 days), especially if the weather is in your favour.
Note: the dreaded midgie in Scotland can ruin a good summer holiday, always remember to take plenty of midge repellent and face nets.
The drive up to Fort William is stunning. From the shores of Loch Lomond – with Ben Lomond looming large in the background, to the valleys and steep mountains of ‘Glen Orchy’ and ‘Glen Coe’, the latter being the site of the infamous ‘Massacre of Glen Coe’, when the traitorous Campbells slaughtered the sleeping MacDonalds of Glen Coe, after the MacDonalds had given the Campbells refuge and hospitality. 39 people were killed that fateful morning on the 13 February 1692; another 40 women and children died of exposure after their homes were torched.
for Fort William Hotels see here
There is still a bit of a rivalry between the Macdonalds and the Campbells, not dissimilar to the Celtic and Rangers rivalry, I suppose – although, unlike Celtic and Rangers, the rivalry has nothing to do with religion. I remember seeing a sign in a shop doorway in Glen Coe Village when I was a boy that read: ‘No dogs or Campbells’. I am a McDonald (my mother’s maiden name was McDonald), but I try not to hold grudges and have some friends who are Campbells… they know who they are.
We drive up to Fort William the day before the climb and camp in the Glen Nevis Campsite at the foot of the mountain. My cousin – Stephen, who is originally from the Wine Alley, in Govan, Glasgow but who lives in Bournemouth now, has arranged to meet us at the campsite with his son. I have another cousin who lives in Fort William – Gerry, Stephen’s brother; he has lived in Fort William for more than 30 years, and his son Jamie will be climbing with us in the morning, as will Colin – another Scotsman, from Castlemilk, but who lives in Bournemouth also.
The following pictures tell the story of the climb – we were blessed with a glorious, sunny day that day, which is unusual for Scotland…
Note: My son Sean was only six years old at the time of this climb, and my cousin’s son – Stevie, was only nine.
Ben Nevis Scotland
Ben Nevis Scotland
Only Raising Dust On The Road
By Raymond Carroll
Part 1 of my book – ‘Buckfast, Lager, & Fags’ ( approx. 26,000 words) is available for download at Amazon in Kindle & Paperback.
‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a novel set in Thailand. The book has been serialised into 4 novella length books.
The story takes place in Thailand and is written from a multiple character first person point of view. The book deals with common social problems, such as alcoholism and drug addiction, and follows the chaotic life of the protagonist – Micky, as he attempts to transcend his disposition and re-establish a connection with the world.
‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a work of fiction – a black comedy, inspired by, and based loosely on, true events.
Genre – Adult \ Dark Humour
Lots of profanity throughout. 18+
Part 2 – ‘Same-Same But Different’ on sale at Amazon… Kindle and Paperback
‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’
Copyright © 2017 Raymond Carroll