Schottland 1973, Teil 5 … Scotland 1973, part 5

Die Deutsche Version findet ihr HIER (zusammen mit Teil 6, ich habe daraus wieder zwei Teile gemacht).

PART 5, Kinlochard-Aberfoyle-Trossachs-Loch Achrey- Loch Venachar-Callander-Fort William

July 12, 1973 (Thursday)

The next day everything develops very quickly. A Scot takes us to Aberfoyle. On the way we overtake the two young Scots from the youth hostel (the shy ones) who had left earlier than us [walking].

The road that leads from there to the Trossachs, a national park and our next destination, is once again very steep, of course upwards. The sign telling us that we are entering the Queen’s private property gives us no relief. Just as we finally get to the top of the hill, an English couple stops to take us with them. Various rearrangements are necessary. Puppy sits on the lap and off we go. The man had been stationed in the Orkney Islands for six years during the war. He had vowed never to return to Scotland. Now he’s here after all and regrets not having returned sooner.

Trossachs National Park, photo: Pixabay

They drop us off at 9.30 a.m. at the Trossachs Youth Hostel. There we meet two Englishmen from Loch Ard who are just amazed at how quickly we got over from there. „You broke the record!“ says one. Since we are so well on time, we decide to walk to Loch Katrine [pronounced: Katreen with stress on the second syllable]. I have romantic expectations, think of ’The Lady of the Lake’ and the like. But strange things await us there: First a huge parking lot, littered with cars; Susi and I look at each other: What’s going on here? Folk festival? But then we understand: a tourist attraction. Loch Kathrine is now the water supply for Glasgow, so the whole once beautiful Lake has been neatly fenced in and surrounded by an asphalt road.* On it, the tourist hords amble to the stone that announces that Princess Margaret has done something meritorious, remain in holy silence for a moment and then go back to either eat in the restaurant or to buy souvenirs.

[This is the stone that people pilgrimaged to …]

I’m completely upset, and then there are so many Germans here. We didn’t come to Scotland to meet Germans!
[*This is actually not true, we were just so unlucky to get to this tourist arrangement, which is only a tiny, tiny part of Loch Katrine. Look here for more about that beautiful lake.]

[Here a photo of Ben Aan and beautiful Loch Katrine. I certainly did not know what I was talking about. We had just been unlucky, I guess, that we came to that particular parking place, and we left quite hurriedly again without investigating any further.]
Photo: Pixabay

Susi and I flee from the scene and walk to one lake further on, Loch Achray, the name is difficult to pronounce, but it’s beautiful here. It is only a very small Loch, and of course there is no tourist to be seen far and wide apart from us. We sit on a bench in front of an old church and enjoy the surroundings.

[The Scottish Highlands are so beautiful and wild … here Loch Achray.]
Photo: Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0 (Wikipedia)

 After a while we continue along the lake and finally end up in a place called Brig o’Turk. There we sit down in the tearoom because it is starting to rain. First we modestly order tea and sandwiches. But after writing five postcards, it is still raining. So we also order a high tea and indulge in victuals: first something warm with eggs and french fries and then cakes and more sandwiches, the little triangular ones. All in all a nice, peaceful day. You can’t say that about tomorrow, but tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth.

[It looks like the tearoom is still the same building, they have just given it some new paint and made it look nicer.]

July 13, 1973 (Friday)

The next morning we walk on the country road, singing along. Loch Venachar is beautiful and so is the weather. A Frenchman takes us to Callander, not very far, but better than walking. After all, we have to walk for a while until we discover an ideal new hitch-hiking spot, a parking lot. Strangely enough, there are two Scots dressed in kilts and with bagpipes, playing ’Amazing Grace’ all alone in the landscape. We say „good morning“ politely and stand a few meters away from them. But oh shock in the morning hour: three buses are approaching, stopping across from the parking lot, and three busloads of excited Englishmen pour their way onto the street with their cameras drawn and block the traffic, which doesn’t seem to bother them. We are surrounded in no time. But of course the real interest is in the two Scots. We grab our luggage and flee to the other corner of the parking lot. When the horde turns back to the buses, Susi and I get some curious looks: Two real hitchhikers in the wild! Then the spook, which only lasted about three minutes, is over.

Scottish piper, photo: Pixabay

Then two Scots pick us up. At first they seem a little suspicious to us, but they turn out to be very nice. We tell them about the incident with the buses. Their comment: „They’re crazy, the English!“ And they inform us in a contemptuous tone that the bagpipers were beggars. They take us to Strathyre, from where we can drive with an old camper to the Killin-Crianlarich intersection. He’s trying hard to get us to come to Killin where it is so beautiful! But we have a schedule and we cannot afford too many detours or delays. From the intersection we come with two more Scots to Crianlarich and from there again with a Scot all the way to the Oban-Fort William intersection. After a long wait, an English photographer finally takes us to Fort William. There we are immediately surrounded by the wild throng of civilization. But first of all we need sandwiches! We then have to walk almost two miles to the youth hostel. That is a piece of cake for us now, but it’s raining pretty disgustingly. The youth hostel is located in the middle of a gorge, surrounded by impressive mountains. The clouds are almost hanging on the ground and it is accordingly extra humid. It’s nice there, but unusually noisy. It’s a big hostel. The crowd is getting on my nerves a bit after a week of country life.

[Fort William, which I remember with a lot more people on the streets.]

The clientele is very international, Switzerland, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Denmark and a very strong German delegation. The rain forces some campers into the youth hostel. We meet two guys from Hamburg, who suddenly found themselves with their tent in the middle of a mountain creek. The water rose so quickly that not even everyone could save their tents. While we are having dinner we hear a helicopter. We also meet old acquaintances again. On the one hand the German Englishman from Loch Ard, the one with the terrible accent, and a couple we already met in the Trossachs. She is Scottish and he is Danish. The two met in Vienna and speak Austrian German with their respective accents. That sounds very charming. The Dane tries to flirt up with us. He seems tired of his Scottish girlfriend. It’s a shame, because she’s really nice, and, of course, we don’t respond to it. Stupid guy. The two from Hamburg also notice it and look surprised.

July 14, 1973 (Saturday)

The next morning we hear that an accident has happened in Glen Nevis, hence the helicopter. Someone didn’t get off as lightly as the two guys from Hamburg.

We spend the day in Fort William and the surrounding area. Fort William itself is very touristy. Souvenir shops, tartan shops and tearooms alternate. Of course, everyone wants to look into the shop windows, which annoys some locals, because here is left hand traffic, obviously also for pedestrians (a lady to her husband: did we switch to right?). I don’t remember what we actually did there. We probably ate sandwiches 😉 … In any case, we didn’t go to the mountains, the highest peak of which is Ben Nevis, the highest not only in Scotland but also in Great Britain. I guess the experience on Ben Lomond was enough for years to come. [We also got some snarky remarks about our footwear everywhwere we went. Real mountaineers have real hiking boots, blah, blah, blah … 😉 😀 … „I would leave everything else at home, but bring my boots“ nyanyanyanyanya … „The Scottish hills are treacherous“, you get the picture.]

The most beautiful photo of Ben Nevis with Fort William at the bank of Loch Eil, I found on the website of a Spanish travel agent:
I wonder why the Scots call them „hills“, I mean Ben Nevis is over 3900 feet high. In Denmark we call something that is 50 feet high a mountain … 😉 😀
Will I ever be able to show all this beauty to my husband?

Maybe just a short word explanation:
Loch = Lake, but also a fiord (Loch Linnhe) or even a bay (Campbelltown Loch) can be named „Loch“
Ben = mountain/summit of a mountain
Glen = Valley or gorge
Aber and Inver = water mouth (e.g. Aberdeen, where the river Dee flows into the North Sea; Inverness, where the river Ness flows into the Beauly Firth. I don’t know how it is with Aberfoyle (Aberfoil in old times), I have not discovered a river Foyle or Foil flowing into the river Forth.)

Ganz zum Schluss noch zwei Karten, damit ihr sehen könnt, wo das Ganze vor sich ging:

[Above in the middle is Loch Katrine. The arrows show, where Susi and I might have been. I am not sure.]
[We „made“ over 90 miles that day, not bad for hitchhikers in the „Scottish Hielands“.]