It has been a while since my last e-mail. I will try to be as concise as possible while packing in all the fun of traveling in Europe. I last left you in Edinburgh, and I’ve done much since then. I’ll start with the rest of Scotland.
The Highlands and Loch Ness, Scotland – I had to take a bus with a guided tour in order to see all that I needed to see of Loch Ness. Patrick Douglas whose name sounded Scottish enough for me, became my tour guide. He has been giving tours of the Highlands for 23 years, and he gave such an enjoyable tour. The first thing I learned about in the Highlands, in the north of Scotland, was about hirrey coos. That’s the Scottish pronunciation of hairy cows, and it took me nearly an hour to figure that out, even after looking at a bunch of cows with long hair! We might want to rethink my acceptance of a premier award! Moving on. I met a famous hirrey coo named Hammish. No, really, this thing was famous! The owners had his CV posted on the side of the barn — pictures of Hammish the hirrey coo to come soon. If I haven’t previously mentioned, the Scottish love their hirrey coos but hate the movie “Braveheart”. This really disappointed me, but the assertion is that Mel Gibson’s version is inaccurate. William Wallace never married, and the first battle to free the Scottish took place on a bridge. These two things sound like minor details that add to an already great storyline, but the Scots can’t stand any deviation from their history! They love their heritage, and Patrick Douglas is no exception.
The Weeping Valley of Glencoe has probably been my favorite place on the trip thus far! It’s where the Highlands begin, and it offers an exceptional view of the lands of Scotland. The English massacred one specific clan after the clan arrived two days late in sending confirmation of their allegiance to the King of England. The Scottish, being such trusting people, actually invited the soldiers into their homes in Glencoe and hosted them as guests for several days, not knowing that the soldiers were their to kill them. A few nights passed, and the English soldiers massacred the clan in the night for their late confirmation. Ever since, it has been called the Weeping Valley of Glencoe.
Loch Ness was beautiful, but I didn’t see Nessie. Whenever I inquired about Nessie to the locals, and Patrick Douglas for that matter, the response was as follows: “Seen her, of course I’ve seen her — every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up! I married her.” Dead horse, guys. Dead horse! I heard that joke about 80 times, but they still managed to get a smile out of me each time they told it. Urquhart Castle was wonderful, but the history of the castle was too brief. Dr. Clayton will probably kill me for not taking notes, but they went way too fast! All I know is that castle was left to ruin after its inhabitants tried to explode the place; they didn’t want the Jacobites to have it! At any rate, it was an amazing place, and people from as far back as the 6th century have claimed that something lives in those waters…Nessie! After a long boat ride in search of her, I determined that she just wasn’t ready to reveal herself that day. I thought Friday the 13th would be a perfect day, but she just wasn’t ready. So, we left for Inverness, a beautiful city at the mouth of the river. When I finally got to Andrew’s apartment after such a long day in the mountains, The Ramsey funds treated him and his lovely girlfriend to dinner. He sends his regards to all of you. I’ll end my experience in Scotland with a Scottish quote – it’s only appropriate! “What is the only good thing that comes out of England?” (long pause while everyone ponders) “The rrrroad to Scotland.” You must roll the ‘r’ for dramatic effect.