I've been interested in Scotland's countryside and history since leaving school, and am delighted to have the opportunity to share a love and knowledge of Scotland with people all over the world via the internet. This blog will publish some of my ramblings, impressions, and poems about Scotland.
Cherry blossoms, Stirling riverside:
Cherry blossom season - one of my favourite times of year. And on the BBC website they had a cherry blossom special. I love the long avenues of it in Helensburgh, the colourful drifts of pink confetti in Edinburgh's The Meadows, the trees lining the Dollar Burn in Dollar, the stately trees at Scone Palace. The first picture in the article linked above was
Ten years ago Sandstone Press published my second book, The Weekend Fix. The Weekend Fix was a bunch of stories about hillwalking, focused on Alan Dawson's Relative Hills of Britain or Marilyns.
Ten years.What have I been doing with my time since?
Well this month I finished the first draft of my third book, provisionally titled The History of Scotland You Actually Want to Read, though it will
My morning workout was complete, but today I fancied more. And so I ran out from the gym, up to Holyrood Park, the dark bulk of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat looming above. My feet hit the steep path up the face of the hill and I slowed to walking pace. Approaching the top I broached the shadow, summit rocks reddened by a rising sun.
It was cold, a keen wind cutting through my shirt - is
I've never seen a New Year's Day with so little snow.
We climbed a Corbett in Ardgour, struggling out of the dark forestry into a world of light. After the heavy rain of Hogmanay, the golden sunshine on Carn na Nathrach was a welcome tonic.
Beinn Resipol from Carn na Nathrach:
It was not the winter wonderland we might have expected for the time of year. Compare this to a heavenly Rois
This blog has been neglected recently, posts becoming rarer. There's a good reason for that - I'm writing a book which is taking up most of my time - including my time travelling round Scotland and reporting it back to you!
The book is going to be awesome and I can't wait to share my news about it, but it will have to wait until it is actually done!
I've also been on a holiday of a lifetime
"She wound me up something chronic," I said to friends as we drove through Iceland,
"my mother. We'd be somewhere abroad - like South Africa - and we'd be driving past some fields or whatnot with a hill in the background, and every time she'd say,"
"It looks like Scotland."
"It's the veldt, mum, it's Africa! It looks nothing like Scotland!"
"Well, I don't know..."
My friends hooted and
Perusing a map of Edinburgh a few years ago I realised that Edinburgh is built on seven hills. The famous three in the centre: Castle Rock, Calton Hill, Arthur's Seat; then four more round the outskirts: Corstorphine Hill, Braid Hills, Blackford Hill, and the Craiglockhart Hills (of which there are two... so maybe there are eight hills of Edinburgh).
Idly I drew a route between them all - and
Four years ago we saw this mountain and that was it for my friend.
He dreamed of its stepped precipices and airy apex. It had to be climbed some day. This is Kirkjufell, church hill, shaped like a steeply pitched roof or old-fashioned tent. It is possibly the most-climbed hill in Iceland. It is certainly the most photographed. It isn’t particularly easy. But if like my friend you are lured
What's the roughest part of Scotland? I'm not talking people, but terrain.
It is surely Knoydart, or The Rough Bounds of Knoydart to give its full title. So the clue is in the name. And wouldn't a walk through the roughest country in Scotland make a good challenge?
On a pass in Knoydart:
Many years ago I walked this approximate route, between two freshwater lochs and three sealochs. The
"You are the most Scottish person I know," said a friend on the Glasgow indie music scene. That would be quite outstanding today, where it is de rigeur to have a beard and a cardi, be into world music and all things Scottish, and hate the Labour Party. But this was twenty years ago. In those days the socially acceptable thing for members of obscure Glasgow bands was to follow Celtic Football Club