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Best of Both Adventures for Women in Scotland
by Dez Bartelt

Hark when the night is falling
Hear! Hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down throapostrophe the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.


High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidenapostrophes eyes.


Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.


Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.


Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.

A little ditty I sing as I make my way from Edinburg after a fun night of birthday celebration- 45th by the way. I take on my drive the fond memories of Edinburgh and a slight hangover, but now I’m off for a three day road trip somewhat like a nomadic life along the ancient firths and lochs in the Highlands. Just like the Celts and the Druids arrived earlier, drawn to the outer parts; to the wild northern highlands. My first stop is Ullapool; one of the last major settlements on the west coast of Scotland and also a major ferry port for the Western Isles.

It’s a remarkably small town - there’s room enough for a few pubs and inns, but not much else. I come for its location and views. The view to the south of Ullapool along Loch Broom is truly amazing. I have sat many times on the rocks imagining a Viking longship approaching out of the mist. Some believe that they were first to give Ullapool its name, however it came to be. I love this small port town dotted with tiny multi-colored fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. I make my way to one of my favorite lodgings; the Ferry Boat Inn where the food is hearty and you can enjoy the best view in town from the window of a cozy pub with an open fire. This is my Scotland.

The next day I start with a hearty Scottish breakfast of toast, beans, fried haggis, potato hash, eggs, back bacon, potato, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, Lorne sausage, black pudding, oatcakes, kippers, and porridge. Yes that’s the norm and I love every heart stopping bit of it. I was going to make my next stop the Isle of Sky but with such a short visit.

I think I’ll make my way to Fort William & Lochaber area - the outdoor capital of the UK which makes up a large part of the Western Highlands.

As I approach the area, I’m often amazed at the sheer beauty of this countryside. There’s a real sense of the past. Ben Nevis, as well as the Glencoe area, is a renowned mountainous area. Fort William & Lochaber is an outdoor playground like no other! With spectacular beaches, sheltered coastline, islands, glens, mountains, forests, lochs there’s no better place for me to get out and enjoy the stunning Highlands landscape.

I’m bursting at the seams just thinking about my next activity- maybe some hill walking, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking( still too cold for that)- so many opportunities to ponder or I could take it easy and enjoy a gentle walk, take in a spectacular view or soak up the history and culture. I’m going to start off with the later and take it easy. Find a nice inn and have a warm highland dinner. It turns out. I feel a little under the weather which might be due to all my thousands of flight miles. As much as I love to travel, I’m a little tired. I make an early night of it and hope for burst of energy for my next day not to mention better weather. I’m sure all of you know the weather in Scotland can be quite fickle.

The early night helped. With a full tummy from breakfast( boy I have to try and cut down on my morning intake of porridge as I’m starting to feel like one of the highland beasts), I now feel the need for some camping- after all I’m in the perfect area. Wrong. As you all know, I’m not big on camping in public campgrounds with RV’s and designated camp spots five feet from each other. I like my space to feel that I’m really in the outdoors, and I will go to no lengths to find I, as you may have read in my past articles.

So after hours of disappointment looking for the perfect place I come up against the same issue time after time. Too many people in this area and I decide to move on. Head south. I guess being the outdoor capital of Scotland means crowds. I’m not a big fan. South it is. I make my way towards Glen Roy.

On The famous apostropheParallel Roadsapostrophe of Glen Roy are amongst the most remarkable landforms in Scotland created by massive glacial action. During the last ice age advancing glaciers dammed a series of huge lakes in the glen. This left behind a set of shore lines that can be clearly seen on the hillsides today and a good place for me to make camp. I finely locate a lovely river spot with my name on it. I may even catch a fish for dinner. After pitching me tent, I set back and take in the sights thinking back on my days here and my future travels to come. No fish but I did catch an amazing sun set. I hope it will not be another 12 years before I return.

A Gaelic Poem –

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Of water flowing, rising and falling,
Sometimes advancing, sometimes receding.
May the stream of your life flow unimpeded!
Deep peace of the running wave to you!

Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Which fans your face on a sultry day,
The air which you breathe deeply, rhythmically,
Which imparts to you energy, consciousness, life.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you!

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Who, herself unmoving, harbors the movements
And facilitates the life of the ten thousand creatures.
While resting contented, stable, tranquil.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you!

Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Which stay invisible till darkness falls
And discloses their pure and shining presence
Beaming down in compassion on our turning world.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you!