-moz-user-select:none; -webkit-user-select:none; -khtml-user-select:none; -ms-user-select:none; user-select:none;

Saturday, August 31, 2013

More journeys ( a beginning in Scotland)

My nut brown maiden or brown haired maid ( Gaelic version) by the Rankin Family, a song my grandfather sang to me in Gaelic when I was small.

( For newer journeys check out my wordpress blog)

It was the summer of 2013 when my daughter and I took a most amazing journey together....

that took us through 4 countries by bus, train boat and plane.

......and where we visited with Sara, Amy, Ian, Ben, kids, Keith and Carol, Andrea, and Jennifer - our family, and  many friends who gave us a wonderful  welcome and grand hospitality .....

                                                    .....and so we begin in Bonny Scotland

After flying into Glasgow we boarded a bus and headed right to

 Edinburgh, I am sure one of the most charming towns in the world!! The hill in the distance seen here is Arthurs' Seat in Holyrood Park
Edinburgh Castle

 This wonderful historic castle is home to the Military Tattoo of Scotland as well as to a wonderful medieval town that winds down the hill along the "Royal Mile" to the Holyrood Palace at the foot.
Princes Street Gardens are below the castle also and a green oasis for people on lunch breaks or out for a stroll.

The Robbie Burns Monument, poet darling of Edinburgh society of the 1700's and today
"and there's a hand my trusted friend
and give a hand of thine
We'll take a cup of kindness now
for auld lang syne.
It's a bit of a climb but not as high as Calton Hill which is across the road and has Nelson's Monument perched atop.  Great Views of the city!


 on the Firth of Forth!


The North Sea Promenade  a short walk from our hotel in Edinburgh

Mysterious Rosslyn Chapel outside of Edinburgh

of Holy Grail and Knights Templar fame, conspiracy and secret passages, though it must be noted that it was built long after the disgraced Knights had been disbanded (1392) and the crusades had been long over, but as the custodian of the chapel said, books written about Grail mysteries (Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code), come to conclusions by saying  "it is almost certain that....." which really means it is not certain at all! 
Built by Sir William St. Clair (Sinclair), last prince of Orkney  in 1446,  it does contain the tomb of an earlier William St.Clair, Knight Templar who died in Spain in 1336 fighting the Moors while attempting to bring the heart of Robert the Bruce to the Holy Land for burial.

Perthshire and Kinross

Balmoral View, Blairgowrie
of Robertson fame

two brothers
Tom and Davey 

Black Watch Museum in Perth, Scotland the Brave
( David Robertson's old regiment where he served in both Africa and India, his name is written there)

at Scone Palace

The Maze at Scone Palace in Perth
once home to the stone of destiny(now in Edinburgh), rightful throne of the Scottish Kings
"whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone"-  Macbeth

Bridge over Tay River in Perth

beautiful home in Perth
the gardens of Scotland are like Victoria gardens


 fields of wild lupin

 the  crannog on Loch Tay
Bronze age dwellings (reconstruction)

Inverness, Gateway to the Highlands

The River Ness in Inverness

overlooking the River Ness

the Scottish Thistle

the national animal of Scotland
I'm sure they are hiding in the glen

The last great battle at Culloden in 1746, fought just outside Inverness, was the final defeat (and slaughter) of the outnumbered and out weaponed  "Jacobites" ( mainly Highland Catholic supporters of King James of the Royal Stewart line),  forever placing Scotland under England's rule, thus beginning the highland clearances (land robbery)and a brutal repression which forced many to leave and seek fortune in  the new world.  Bonnie Prince Charlie, heir to the throne of Scotland and the last Jacobite hope fled to France with the belief that he would return to take his rightful place as king when the Scots once again rallied. But the clearances broke the back of Scotland. It never was to be and he died in exile but the hope remained and was written in poignant songs like  "The Skye Boat Song" and "Will Ye No Come Back Again."  Flora MacDonald, is the Jacobite heroine who  at great personal cost helped him escape the English and her statue stands overlooking the River Ness. One hundred years later the Scots maintained their courageous and fierce reputations fighting for the English in regiments such as the famous Black Watch.

 Will ye no come back again by the Corries

Flora MacDonald's monument

on the Moray Firth- you will rarely see such skies!!

after blethering on about this for ages she totally missed the wee creature as we headed down the channel on the Jacobite Queen to the loch

a dramatic study of Loch Ness

Urquart castle ruins on Loch Ness
After being fought over by warring clans since the 13 the century  it is finally blown up by the English to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Jacobites

  for an immersive experience at the castle with MacCrimmon's
Lament  -  cha till mi tuile or he will return no more


  The Skye Boat Song

Into the Highlands

The Abbey at Fortrose built around 1100

 The bonny wee hamlet of Nan MacLeod on the  Black Isle. where sheep dot the hillsides like marshmallows flung from an open bag.

The Anderson Restaurant on High Street is a must!
the best lamb burgers in all Scotland - and a guid glass of highland Scotch

 Fortrose (Rosemarkie), Ross & Cromarty
and on past the village of Dornoch where the last witch ( probably a poor soul suffering from dementia) was burned in 1715.

Pictish fort in Highlands, those fierce undefeatable barbarians that Hadrian built a wall against to keep them contained in the North ( and don't forget the story of Heather Ale!)

and along the shining North Sea  coast,
from whence came the viking longships, a sliver of silver on the horizon,
and a poet's song as the sky spills light onto the grey sea

 through Sutherland and Caithness to

 the port of John o' Groats and on through the Pentland Firth to the Orkneys

                                                                   link to the AMAZING

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Okanagan Valley, BC June 2013

Our trip to my brother's place in Penticton in the Interior of British Columbia.  ( click on photos for full image slide show)

Well known as wine and orchard country, and much drier than the rainforests of the coast, the region is resplendent with lakes, hills, valleys and mountains that are dotted with prickly pear cactus, silver and purple sage bush and wild flowers. Pine and Spruce trees cover some hills while golden brown antelope grass covers the drier areas. The main lakes are Okanagan( meaning Big Head) and Skaha ( meaning either dog or horse depending on dialect perhaps).  The area is rich in the smokey fires of legends and myth and steeped in the spirituality of earth sacredness.  "Ogopogo" or Naitaka (lake demon)  swims the waters of the Okanagan and a few have seen him. I think he is related to the one in Loch Ness so perhaps "caverns measureless to man" and a "sunless sea" join the two lakes through the center of the earth.
Many ranches and little farms dot the sweeping landscape with a few small towns tucked away between shadow and light.  The weather and landscapes are dramatic and changeable with hot summers and cold winters.  There is good skiing at Apex mountain and local astronomers gather on Mount Kobo every year to stargaze.  The impressive Radio Observatory is near White Lake and sweeps the cosmos for extraterrestrial song and the hum of creation.  There is also a good fossil area in the White Lake Formation region for early Cenozoic vegetation. I found several large rocks with natures' graceful brushwork of carbonized ferns in the shale from 50 million years ago.  They are now sitting in my living room and on my deck garden!

Hills and Valleys, light and shadow

windswept sky

Sudden storms and illuminated landscapes
as seen from my brother's house

 House on the bluff

Lake Skaha at sunset

a rapt audience   "E.T we hear you!"

Vineyards and Orchards in fullness
"Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, ... BC has a mighty fine wine"

This prayer is part of a nine-day Navajo ritual called the Night Chant.

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.

A night in the forest

With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

A Navajo Indian Prayer of the Second Day of the Night Chant (anonymous) 
dedicated to my nephew, David who graduated this June in keremeos and in honour of his own connection to the first nations.

These singers from the Similkameen Valley blessed the graduates.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Intrepid travellers alert

check in later this summer for our journey coming up to Scotland and the Orkneys, Ireland and Newgrange, Glastonbury, Paris and more!!