Glasgow Gallivanting: August 2018

The Hebrides: Image credit: Kelisi via Wikimedia

We have gallivanted away this month, island hopping. We toured the Outer Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, which are shown in orange on the map above. Starting with a ferry from Ullapool to the northernmost island, Lewis, we worked our way down to Castlebay on Barra from where, three weeks later, we got a ferry back to the mainland at Oban. Look out for a series of posts on our Hebridean Hop coming soon! We last visited these islands between 1989 and 1993, so there might be some “then and now” comparisons too.

Lochleven Castle

The weekend after we got home, we took a trip to Loch Leven to visit the castle. It’s a 14th century tower house in the middle of the loch which has been visited by both Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. Mary had previously been welcomed as a guest, but in 1567-8 she was a prisoner and it was here that she was forced to abdicate in favour of her infant son. In May 1568 she escaped, dressed as a servant, and made her way to England. She never saw Scotland again.

Boats leave from the pier at Kinross – ours was booked for 2pm, good planning on my part to allow time for a delicious lunch beforehand at the picturesque Muirs Inn.

The last bit

I met another blogger! I’ve followed Jenny at Random Scottish History for a while now, but didn’t know till last week that she lived within a stone’s throw of Glasgow Women’s Library where I volunteer. Within a day or two we had met up there, I showed her round and we spent a good hour gabbing about history and politics. I’m pleased to say she arrived a non-member and left with a library card so I must have done something right. Come back soon, Jenny! Anyone interested in Scottish history should head over to her blog right now.

In my Amsterdam posts, I mentioned a couple of times the blue and white miniature houses, containing genever or Dutch gin, given away by KLM. We have a good collection and a few people expressed interest (especially the fact that most of them still contain gin) so I said I’d post them. Here they are! All 56, and only two duplicate pairs. The ones without a wax seal are empty – if you get the house on the way out, you have to drink the gin before you can bring it back if you are travelling hand-luggage. This is very disappointing for airline security staff who might be hoping to confiscate it …

My Scottish word of the month is something I found out on my Hebridean trip on which we had a smashing time. I had no idea smashing, in this sense, comes from a Gaelic phrase is math sin which means that’s good. You live and learn!

I hope you all had a great August, and happy September when it comes.

77 thoughts on “Glasgow Gallivanting: August 2018

  1. Dr Sock October 4, 2018 / 19:28

    Thanks for posting the map image. You have whet my appetite to read about your Outer Hebrides trip.

    Jude

    Like

      • Steve Schwartzman September 3, 2018 / 23:08

        Speaking of music, do you know whether people in the Hebrides listen to Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture” more often than people elsewhere?

        Like

        • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter September 3, 2018 / 23:16

          Good question, I have no idea! Though being written about Fingal’s Cave that would be more appropriate to Inner rather than Outer Hebrideans 😉

          Like

  2. BeckyB September 1, 2018 / 07:37

    Just look at all those maps and guides, you must have a special shelf like me!! And loving the gin houses as well as the history behind ‘smashing’, I had presumed it was northern but never would have thought Gaelic.

    Like

  3. Ann Coleman August 29, 2018 / 03:43

    I want to read about your travels to the islands. And I love your house collection!

    Like

  4. Su Leslie August 28, 2018 / 21:12

    I’m looking forward to reading about your Hebridean travels!! Lovely to spend your month — and recruiting another library member. Well done.

    Like

  5. maristravels August 28, 2018 / 17:05

    One of these days I’ve promised myself that I’ll do the Scottish Islands. I keep looking for a river cruise that would do it but so far I haven’t found one. Maybe I should subscribe to some Scottish newspapers and find one that originates from there. Loved the KLM houses – especially filled with Oude Genever. I have one of the original stone bottles from way back, still unopened. I don’t know why I’m keeping it – nostalgia I suppose. And I swear Dutch gin is still better than all these new ‘artisan’ gins at astronomical prices, mixed with, of course, tonics at equally high prices.

    Like

  6. Andrew Petcher August 28, 2018 / 16:31

    And August isn’t even finished yet! Last week I was in the Scottish Borders playing golf. A wonderful part of the UK!

    Like

    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter August 28, 2018 / 18:29

      Well, I didn’t expect to be doing anything noteworthy in the last few days of August and so far my expectation has been met! Glad you enjoyed the golf.

      Like

  7. Marcia Strykowski August 28, 2018 / 15:09

    What a fun island hop, there’s just something about islands that I love (providing the ferry ride over is calm enough for me). Interesting to learn about the cute little houses, too!

    Liked by 1 person

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