Friday, July 20, 2012

The Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe in mid Summer. Sophy's tale

Prologue to Sophy's tale.
February 1955. Imagine a young chap, loves climbing in Scotland. Takes a motor bike to Glencoe from London to celebrate finishing National Service. A valve blows, bike caput. Ring the AA from the repair shop by the Ballyhoo hotel by the ferry for a spare in Birmingham. (Ferry then, no fancy bridge of steel) Nothing to do. Youth hostel in Glencoe, thinks "I'll pop up the Clachaig gully, and along the Ridge". No one to go with, so do it solo. Wet in the gully, thank goodness for clinker nails in the climbing boots - no vibrams in those days. Very very wet. Beautiful day on top, cloudless sky, 360 degrees of snow all around. This vision is seared into my memory until the day I die.
Epilogue to prologue. I came off the ridge as soon as I got frightened. The valve arrived the next day, having been transported from AA man to AA man for 400 miles. Those were the days.

Sophy's tale

Hi John,

Well that’s us back to reality, boo hoo.
What a week we had, it actually feels like we were off for two weeks because we did so much.
That’s the sign of a great holiday!
We had a lovely time so thank you both once again for letting us stay.
We loved the cottage, its very comfy and cosy and just what we needed.
The weather was great as well, we were very lucky.  The only heavy rain we had was when we were on the Aonach Eagach ridge, just when we wanted it to stay dry!
Ah well, we survived!   We also had a lovely walk up Bidean Nam Bian and sunbathed at the top, while watching a thunder storm roll in from the east.  It was spectacular.
I’ve loaded up some of our better photos from our walks – there aren’t many of the Aonach Eagach proper though as there was no way I was stopping to take photos on the really scary bits!

ps. I have to confess, I was quite glad of the cloud on top of the ridge a few times, as it meant that I couldn’t see the huge drops below me!

Appin is beautiful Bed and breakfast and hotels from Oban to Fort William Walks around our cottage Autumn short breaks in Glencoe Ben Nevis walking is a slog, but worth it Cottage holidays Scotland in the Autumn, Winter, Spring The highlands of Scotland Find holiday cottages anywhere Gorgeous photographs of Glencoe Hill walks in Glencoe Munroes in Glencoe Port Appin Barcaldine Accommodation in Lochaber Kentallen Ballachulish Onich How to find cottage owners self catering websites

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Scottish Earl was the principal Ancestor of William the Conqueror.

The statue of Rollo stands in his adopted City of Rouen

In the 9th century, Vikings ruled the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The fierce Rollo, born around 846, was expelled from Denmark, and took over the Earldom of Orkney rather brutally by all accounts.

A terrible and powerful ruler he totally dominated his territories. His raiding parties went down the English coast to Brittany. They sailed along the Seine and invaded Paris itself. Not once. Many years in succession.

The French king, Charles, was terrified. He offered the land of Normandy to Rollo in return for not invading Paris.

The story has it that as part of the agreement Rollo had to bend the knee to King Charles. Charles the Simple. He said no Viking could do that and ordered one of his men to do it in his place. The man lifted Charles' foot so high that the King fell over backwards. The King did nothing - not so simple as all that.

That is how Normandy began. Born 200 years later, his great, great, great, grandson was the Duke of Normandy, William, the Conqueror.

Mind you he was born outside the sheets, as it were. But you didn't say this in those days if you wanted to keep your manhood.


Scottish castles in the West Highlands The story they don't tell you about the Glencoe Massacre History around the cottage in Appin Did the Vikings stage a battle in Glencoe? The Pictish broch in Lismore West of Scotland millions of years ago Robert the Bruce and the Ardchattan parliament Robert the Bruce and the Knights Templar The story of the MacDonalds of Glencoe Ancient roads of the Highlands Glencoe, the 4th Wonder of Scotland Castles in the Glencoe area
Lochside cottage near Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland
  • Short Breaks Glencoe
  • Stories about Appin villages blog