Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Heart's in the Highlands

My heart is in the highlands.

When you see the Pipe Bands marching into the Games and the way the men walk with the kilt on, it's grand! And the sound, although outside, just takes the roof off.
If the Scottish Rugby team marched into play the All Blacks with the pipes behind them, I think they'd have half a chance! It's definitely the Scottish version of the Haka. Och Aye!
This is the hammer throwing, my old foreman Duncan used to do this in New Zealand when I didn't understand him!
Tossing the caber, actually just getting it up into the start position takes considerable strength and skill.
A valid throw means the caber must toss over itself and land away from the thrower, and the guy behind the thrower is the judge.
This rather dramatically shows the Tug-O-War, and the rope is not straight, to get more purchase for pulling I presume. The teams swap ends in case of weather and other differences to make it perfectly fair. Tho it probably depends on how much whisky and or beer they've drunk beforehand.
Cawdor Castle. My mother has been telling me for 30 years that her maiden name is Calder which is a derivation of Cawdor, and because of her name we only need to knock on the castle door to be let in free. I'm sad to say "Ma it didna work, we had ta pay!".

But anyway it was well worth it, as the tour inside the castle, which is still lived in was great.
Christine could live here quite happily, especially because of............
...the garden which was also very impressive, with hedges and even a maze, which amazingly takes months to cut.
We headed back down south via Loch Lomond, and went to Glasgow visiting the famous art deco Willow Tea Rooms.

In heading for England we travelled down the A72 heading along the Borders area, where we had not been before, and we really took a shine to this area. The Border towns of Peebles, Melrose, Kelso and Selkirk were all worth a look, even the main streets still had cobbles in them. Most enjoyably, we chatted to the owner of a equestrian supplies shop, who spoke just like Bill McLaren the Scottish Rugby commentator. He had met NZ's own horsey hero Mark Todd.

It's not uncommon to see people wearing the kilt in everyday situations, though they do need to be an individual sort of person to do this.

The photos below are of Melrose Railway station, the tracks long gone, but the building and the platform signs tell of a bygone era.
We passed this monument along side the road a few times, before I decided to take a photo (sometimes it is very difficult finding a place to stop and park the car). Nevertheless, it's a very impressive monument to the fallen in the first World War.

Leaving Scotland was fairly painless, with no charges either way.

We briefly called into Newcastle, checking out the place and hoping to get a pub meal, but it had just gone 7pm and all the pub kitchens were closed, very strange we thought as we had been getting meals elsewhere up to 8 or 9 pm. The reason was that Newcastle United were playing that night therefore no meals in the Pubs so they could go to the match.
Pretty impressive placement of this bridge, squeezing it in, over and around the older existing buildings.
Not to mention this modern beauty by the banks of the Tyne.
We motored on down the North East coast of England coming to the amazing little (and very old) town of Whitby, famous to us Kiwis as Captain James Cook was a ship's apprentice here and sailed on to discover foreign new lands.
The car park was completely full at 9am and remained that way all the time we were in Whitby.
We walked up the hill to the church on top to the hill to view the harbour and recognized a friend from Nelson (Kina Beach actually) taking photos. After a good chat we took her onto Robin Hoods Bay, slightly further south, and another little gem of a village with steep narrow streets, little pubs and antique shops, it's amazing we actually escaped and headed across the Yorkshire Moors.

Some local kids were edging up to this ewe very scared that it may attack, I held my hand out and the sheep came up and smelled it and within 5 seconds the kids were doing likewise.
Och aye isn't Heather a beautiful colour - mind you, this is English heather.

Ok that's the end of this blog, No. 9 in the catch up series, tho NZ is super fast approaching now. The next one will be the final fling from Heathrow to car camping, to caravaning and woofing on a Scottish organics farm, to unicycling down Edinburghs Royal Mile.

A fitting finale with the final awareness’s of 6 months abroad, can hardly wait to write it!

Blog 10 will round up the decimal dozen!

As always: Stay safe, be creative and laugh like there is no tomorrow!

I found part of my heart in Scotland.....but the majority still resides in Nelson, New Zealand.