Schottland 1973, Teil 4 …Scotland, part 4

 Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 3, ich habe daraus wieder zwei Teile gemacht, weil ich den alten Text zu lang fand).

Part 4 : Rowardennon – Kinlochard – Aberfoyle

July 10, 1973

On Tuesday, the Dutch guys leave at five in the morning. Susi and I have decided to walk 12 kilometers to Kinlochard. Climb a little. Margaret McNeill and her two daughters Heather and Janet are coming with us. We became friends. Heather is a little Celtic beauty with black long hair, fair skin and huge dark blue eyes. Janet is the older one, has reddish hair, but is also pretty and at 10 years old already interested in boys, much to the sorrow of her mother.

So, then five molly-coddled tourists set off, two of them loaded with insane weights. When we get to the place where we were with Albert the day before, Susi and I have our tongues hanging out of our mouths already. After an hour the suggestion of a path stops and we are moving on a pebble slide. And it’s going up, up, up. Twice we encounter a blue mark that is supposed to show us the direction. Margaret had received the information the day before that at the so-called half-way-well, i.e. halfway to the summit of Ben Lomond, we should „turn right“. But there are so many small becks on the way up … When we get into the low-lying clouds, it gets wet. The children are freezing in their shorts and put on long trousers. A strap on Janet’s sandal is torn, and the white knee socks are already looking quite worn. Margaret walks on wooden slippers, only held in front by a strap. How does she do it with the prevailing upward direction?

We’re passing another mark. „Is it blue?“ Susi asks, „it seems more like pure rust to me!“ Well then, we march on and rest in the wettest place we can find. There is a typical Scottish signpost there: three signs and all broken off. [I am not kidding!!!] Only the first letter is left; that is basically enough. There is all kinds of stuff in the direction of Loch Ard, but no path. Mainly I see moss. I probe the terrain and find various rusty tin cans: „Somebody went up here!“ I exclaim happily. „The only question is when that was and whether the people survived!“ So Susi’s remark. A local who, according to Susi, ’happens to be passing by’ (on Ben Lomond, in the middle of a thick cloud, it is quite common that people are passing by by chance) confirms that we have to go in that direction. “You have to try to walk straight or you will come to the steep side, it is dangerous there. Then walk down past the new forest and the river. It will then lead you to Loch Ard. ” Crystal clear!

The red line shows, where we should have gone, the blue line, where we did go (I guess, roundabout …)

So we are on our way again. We might as well have waded through a stream, it’s that wet. The sheep that hobble around are bleating at us. We refresh ourselves at a spring. I have never drunk such wonderful water! We drag ourselves over two hills more, when we see the river. Deep down below us. We got to the steep side with determination. There is no coming down. It is so slippery that we lie on our butts after every second step. Heather starts crying; Margaret is losing her nerve; Janet is tough. And we? We just keep moving because we can’t stay here. We crawl along the top of the ridge until we come to a shallower point. We are only separated from the river by a two meter high wire fence and the new forest behind it.

So we climb over. First Margaret, then the children, Susi, the luggage and then me. Our path leads us directly through the newly planted trees. [Good that nobody saw us!!!] Well, there is no path, we are just moving towards the river. Our marching rhythm is: one step, one leap; one step, one leap; every jump goes over a drainage ditch. And all this with this insane backpack! In the end we no longer feel the them and only move forward mechanically, thoughts switched off. I don’t care at all anymore, I would love to drop myself into the swamp to sleep. We rest on a large rock. Margaret sighs: „We are lost, totally lost!“ At that moment, Susi’s eagle eyes see a wide path! We rush there as fast as we can and come across a true wonder of the world: a real signpost with all the signs still intact. Further down we also see real forest. We de-mud us in a mountain stream. I get in with my shoes on and actually can’t tell the difference to the outside.

We have already been on the road for eight hours and about three hours are still ahead of us, but Margaret’s friend Eddy comes towards us in a car. First he takes the children and the luggage, then he fetches the three of us. Gosh, we are grateful! Eddy drives like a madman saying, „It’s not my car!“

Photo: Wikipedia – Loch Ard

In Loch Ard our first act is a long hot shower, then a good dinner and finally a deep sleep.

July 11, 1973

The next day, Susi and I take the heroic decision to have a good rest. We have breakfast with Margaret and her daughters, and we also study types. [I visited Margaret and her family and Eddy on my second trip to Glasgow. After that we still corresponded for a while, but that also ebbed out.] Two South Europeans have coffee and cigarettes for breakfast. Two Scots are sitting at the next table, apparently nice but incredibly shy. A boy is standing in front of the window making sandwiches. He belongs to two English people, but his pronunciation is German. Obviously he wants to be taken for an Englishman and yells around in his terrible accent. The volume is probably supposed to compensate for the quality. But the most wonderful thing is the extended family from the backwoods: dad, mommy, son and daughter, who looks like son no. 2, and grandpa. Grandpa is polishing all day, first the table, then the dishes, then the table again. Later you can see him swinging the duster and polishing the banister. He whistles and sings all the time; so I find him extremely likeable. The children are bursting with energy and release it in the form of volume. Dad reminds of  a Canadian lumberjack. Mommy creates an impenetrable mist in the shower room with the comment: „This is my first shower in ten years!“ [They lived somewhere in the mountains without running hot water.]

Susi and I decide to hike to Aberfoyle (5.2 miles, one way) [didn’t we want to rest ???]. As far as I remember, Rob Roy [an outlaw to the English, a hero to the Scottish, who seems to have fought in all the Jacobite risings there were] was „active“ there among other places. We also have to go shopping, we have almost nothing to eat. So we are on our way. The road is bordered with a stone wall on the lake side. There is a wonderful view of Loch Ard and the opposite bank. In Aberfoyle, civilization invades us in the form of souvenir shops and English coffee grannies [Coffee? Not tea?]. We go into a shop and ask for tea towels. „An ordinary tea towel?“ we are asked.
– „Yes, please!“ I say. We get astonished looks, because most tourists buy those with a bagpiper on it or ’Bonny old Scotland’. They then cost four times as much.

Photo: – Aberfoyle

We feast on coffee and sandwiches in the town’s huge cafeteria. Warm food is only available from noon. We tuck the box with the groceries we bought under our arms and take a look at Aberfoyle. But there isn’t much to see, so we sit down on the municipal playground. I decide to sleep and lie down on the grass. We get plenty of amused looks. An hour later we are headed towards the cafeteria again to have lunch.

Then we think it is the correct thing to do, to hike back to be at the youth hostel in time for afternoon coffee. I photograph a beautiful old country house. The various construction workers whom we are now meeting for the third time have a disruptive effect. They make quite a noise and express the urgent wish to be photographed for posterity. My comment that I would like to take pictures of the house and not the gentlemen triggers a real cacophony of remarks. Fortunately, we don’t understand anything because they’re all roaring at the same time. We prefer to remove ourselves. The rest of the way back is quite harmonious. We come to the deep insight that cardboard boxes are very impractical for transporting food, especially over long distances.

Back at Loch Ard we meet a couple of hobby painters. We talk to the woman for a while. Her daughter has a German pen pal. She tells us that anyone can paint, you just have to try.

Some new overnight guests have arrived at the youth hostel. There is a German with a daughter, who lives in England, and a strange woman who tiptoes through the shower room and looks through open doors. She tells us a lengthy story about a hanky that she didn’t have in an emergency situation, but that’s the only thing we understand of the whole story. Finally, Susi asks: „I beg your pardon?“ And we get the whole thing served again. Not that we understand more the second time around.

I found this old photo of Loch Ard Youth Hostel, taken in the seventies, on this website:–scotland

Veröffentlicht von

Stella, oh, Stella

Ich bin gebürtige Deutsche, mit einem Dänen nunmehr seit 1993 verheiratet und in Dänemark lebend. Meine Beiträge erscheinen daher in deutscher Sprache (und nicht in dänischer) und seit 2018 auch in englischer Sprache. … I was born in Germany, have been married with a Dane since 1993 and are living in Denmark. Therefore, my posts are published in German (and not in Danish) and since 2018 in English as well.

30 Gedanken zu „Schottland 1973, Teil 4 …Scotland, part 4“

  1. That walk on the slippery mountain trail (it wasn’t even a trail) must have been scary, from which I conclude that you are very lucky to get out of that wilderness alive. The foolish things we did when we were young could fill many books< Birgit.

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    1. Yes, that was a very foolish thing to do actually, especially with children, but looking back it was great! At that time there weren’t any mobile phones … I guess they would have searched for us, as Eddy was waiting for us at Kinlochard, but Susi and I didn’t know that at that point, Margaret hadn’t told us …

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    1. I think up there it is still possible to drink the water from the well. To go there with the girls and no compass was complete madness, but Margaret sounded so knowledgeable, so we just followed … haha … what an adventure!

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          1. The one with colours is Holi and it comes in the month of March. This is Deepawali. Lord Ram came back to his city Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. So people celebrate his welcome with lighting the lamps at night and bursting crackers. Though this year because of Corona in many cities crackers are banned.

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            1. Yes, Holi, you told me before … I am getting old … sorry!
              Is Deepawali the same as Diwali? I checked on the Internet, both are on 14th November, so I guess it is the same festival?


              1. Yes it is the same. Main festival is on 14th. My father in law passed away few months back so we will not be celebrating grandly. Anyways, due to pandemic all festivals are indoors only. But before Deepawali we have a cleaning marathon. Every nook and corner of the house is cleaned. At my parent’s house we used to do whitewash the whole house also. Uff, my mother used to make us do so much work. But at the end of the day with all her homemade sweets and savoury things and one new dress for the festival we used to forget everything 😂😂

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                  1. Actually I guess with the connection of festival religious sentiments make people work. Deepawali comes after rainy season, so house is damp, wet and stuff kept in the lofts and store rooms have moisture and smell. So a thorough cleaning with a touch of white wash(which is rare nowadays) makes the house ready for winter. And in a year we realize that how much unnecessary stuff we keep collecting whole year and never use😀😀

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                    1. Yes, most of these festivals also have a practical purpose, and it is good to get rid of the moisture in the house before winter. I also definitely agree on your last sentence. I have started to go through things and throw out. My handicraft table urgently needs cleaning up, so that I can start the season; now it is just cluttered. Any clothes that are still decent enough, I give to charity. There are more and more poor people in Denmark, although our government denies it, and many more will have been created with the lockdown.

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                    2. This pandemic has changed so many things in the world. I will forward you a wonderful poem by a fellow blogger on this topic. whenever you are free, please do read…

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                    3. The poem says it exactly how it is, very well written …

                      Our Minister of State now faces a vote on no confidence because of her action regarding the mink mass killings and the weird Corona rules that change every day. I hope it goes through, and they have an election. That woman disregards everything, the constitution, democracy, the laws. But now some of the other politicians are finally waking up.

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                    4. Deeksha, I need your help. My neighbour has discovered a shop with Asian food products, so I get now asafoetida, tamarind paste, mango pulp, ghee, you name it.

                      They also have mango powder, but it seems to be a spice mixture; it says Anbah powder on the package. Is there mango in it??? Is that the mango powder that you use? They have it in hot and sweet. I wonder, if that has anything to do with mango at all???
                      They also have all kinds of pickles and curry pastes ot the company Patak’s, just not for Bhaaji … 😉

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                    5. That’s wonderful Stella!!
                      I heard first time ‚Anbah‘ word so googled it😂😂it is Iraqi spice mix. Dry mango powder is just mango powder, nothing else is mixed in it. Probably if you will ask them to bring Pav Bhaji masala, Chat masala (for savoury snacks and fruit salad) and dry mango powder, in a month or two they will provide. This used to happen with us in Jamaica. One Indian couple had started a shop for Indian groceries and used to ask us about what we need and for which brand. In India for spices MDH and Quality brand is very popular.

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                    6. Ok, thank you, then I will not order that anbah powder. I saw MDH and Quality in their product range and Patak’s for the pastes. Then they have Kicik, which I presume is Turkish. Otherwise I placed a big order … 😀 😀 😀

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                    7. Tamarind paste is used a lot in South Indian food, their curries, vegetables and chutney. Tamarind rice is very popular here. In North India we use tamarind only to prepare sweet chutney for chats. For sour taste we use tomatoes specially green ones.

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                    8. I do like the taste of tamarind paste. In my book is a recipe with potatoes and tamarind. I prepared it once, since then I could not get tamarind … the first time I got it from an Indian colleague at work. Thanks again for investigating the Anbah! ❤

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