So lucky to have essential business to take me out of the very small world at home, I’d like to share with you my current trip to Scotland with words (not too many, hopefully) and pictures, which latter I hope may tell their own story.

Dudleston Heath, Shropshire February 12 2021. A date that not only reads the same back to front but also has vertical symmetry if the correct font is used.

…..and now it’s a fortnight later .,,, something happened to the blog I wrote on my journey and it seems that, at home in Shropshire, the image above has been replaced by images such as this:

…although I must admit this was taken in Bristol .

Frankly I was fearful of the journey north – roads were impassable, gale force winds predicted, and I was due to make the journey alone, COVID precluding K coming with me. Motorway as far as Glasgow the journey soon peters out to an A road, renowned for its fearsome accidents in the best of weather.

K had helpfully found me some webcams in the journey – intending to encourage me I imagine.

They were frequently a white out ot showed a grainy picture of lorries grinding along, struggling to get through a narrow channel of snow and slush. …

So. Having delayed the trip by two days (cancelled ferries) I arranged a stopover in Stirling.

A city! Since when had I been to a city?

Something magical about night time empty streets…..
Typical Travelodge room. Basic but very clean

Delighting in my ’grownupedness’ I investigated the town, identified somewhere to order dinner, ordered on-line (yes, a first) only to find that the ‘bistro’,chosen for its proximity to the hotel, had, when I went to collect said meal, moved.

Yes. Too nervous to have it delivered, I got lost on the way..,,,and lost again on the way back! Dinner and special treat of flat white coffee all cold.

I should have simply had my emergency pot noodle.

But morning revealed a lovely town- delightful walk by the river at the site of s ancient battle and bridge …..

A scandinoir type scene. The action explained by this plaque, which pulls no punches:
There you go. Seems a fair summary.
There are consequences to our actions as shown by this relic on a lookout/beauty spot.
Oh oh….deal went wrong?

Actually that one’s more atmospheric in black and white too:

And one person’s view on life:

Probably good advice.
But who was this young man? And how did he die? In my heart I hug my two even harder.

And so to Aberdeen. Roads themselves clear but thick snow drifts piled up alongside. And, in case there had been any doubt about the conditions, there was a coach on its roof alongside the carriageway at one point.

Truly the gales that had deferred the ‘boats’ (ferries to you and me, but to Shetlanders ferries are the ‘Peerie’ or little boats which run between the islands) had saved me from some v tough driving.

This Northlink employee warms my heart, if not his legs, omnipresent with his kilt, he later reappears in various roles through the night. Rough tough accent and lovely smile.

And so the routine goes: find cabin and spread things on every surface, dinner at the ‘feast restaurant’ (where they always always always call me sir) – macaroni cheese in my case. I decline the chips. Then back to the cabin and assume the horizontal position in order to cope with the seas in the Pentland Gap. It’s 12.5 hours to Lerwick, 14.5 if via Orkney.

Next: Bixter and beyond.

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