Monday, June 18, 2012

630.3 kms: Milngavie-Craigallian-Dumgoyne-Upper Gartness-Easter Drumquhassle.

I am staying in a beehive tonight—a very cool beehive with padded red walls and sleeping benches. (see left) Its camping, but not as you know it. It's the Scandinavian thing (unfortunately at the Scandinavian price too—bloody single occupancy). I took it because it was available and had a roof. I was standing under the large sign announcing the start of the West Highland Way and a boy asked if I would please go and sign in to the visitor's book if. He and his boss then managed to agitate my already nervous disposition about my 'winging it' accommodation philosophy—aided in most part by the pages of people who had already signed in for today, and, 'that's just the one book, there is another one over there'. But ultimately, I really just liked the look of my hut. It is like having your own treehouse. Hope I still feel that way when I am trying to sleep. Two bad nights down (one due to discos and mysterious morning thumpings, one due to panicking over a weird charge to my credit card that is useless to try and do something about on a weekend in the middle of the night), I should be due a good sleep regardless.. 

Found out today what the go is with all this talk of midges. I stopped at an honesty box (I would probably stop at a shoebox—actually, yes I would). This one had flasks of tea and coffee, bottles of water and scones with jam and cream! Cup of tea and scone in hand and seated on a chopped tree I suddenly realised I was in a cloud. I stopped the next person walking past, asking 'are these midges?' Yep, that's them. He did say that he thought today's weren't so viscious—'not the vampire ones'. Do the vampire ones have little cloaks? These still managed to get my ears and the bits in between my bangles where I didn't get the deet. Maybe on my head too—I don't think hair is a barrier. I got sucked into a salesman's pitch for a net at the tourist office, but didn't have to resort to it today. Apparently midges are slow fliers and so one good way to stop them is to not stop. I managed some revenge by killing several thousand brushing them off my thermal leggings and by eating three with my scone and five in my tea. Yummy, nutritious protein bombs. There were also a few stuck in the stickiness of my deet. And the half a dozen or so that I inhaled. I can only think that it was worse for them than it was for me—drowing in green cold snot. Suffer midges. This is war.


If you are ever in the Scottish highlands, fighting the midges and wearing a bad set of painted fingernails with no remover, don't worry, deet melts nail polish. Should we put this stuff on our skin!!!


Despite the milllions of people (which really, at my late starting time and snail-like pace I don't really encounter as they are travelling in the same direction—they are just all here in the first night's destination's pubs), it is nice to be back on a long distance path. It has a particularly good path so far, some new intriguingly different ways of getting through fences and increasingly beautiful scenery. Saw my first genuine bull today. He was making the most noise I have ever heard a bovine make. Don't think he was happy and I was very glad I was not in the same field as he. You always see images of sheep and cows but they don't show you the rams and the bulls as a whole. It is because they are really ugly. I am sorry to be so superficial, but when you think cute lambies, cute sheepies, cute cowies, these dudes are not what you imagine seeing. They're butch, big-boned and grumpy. Hanging out to see highland cattle though—just not the bulls. Saw this great herd the other day. They were all like neopolitan ice cream—perfectly divided in three, black, white, black, with the white stripe around their middles. Every single one of them. It was odd and beside one single such marked cow, I haven't seen it anywhere else


Listening to my i-pod today I came across Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road, here's a bit of 'kowture' for my blog:


Oh public road, I say back,

I am not afraid to leave you,

yet I love you


You express me better than I can express myself

You should be more to me than in my poem


I think heroic deeds were all concieved in the open air

And all great poems also

I think I could stop here myself and do miracles

My judgments as thoughts I henceforth try by the open air,

the road


I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like

and whoever beholds me shall like me

I think whoever I see must be happy


From this our freedom.

From this hour I ordain myself

Loos'd of limits and imaginary lines

Going where I list

My own master, total and absolute.


Listening to others

and considering well what they say

Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,

gently, but with undeniable will,

divesting myself of the holds that would hold me


I inhale great drafts of space.

The east and west are mine,

and the north and south are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought


I did not know I held so much goodness

all seems beautiful to me.



Me again—there is something magical about the open road. I will miss this.


Good night to Easter Drumquhassle, good night to you.



1 comment:

  1. Was it nice, snug and warm in your Beehive?
    I reckon with your long distance walking you must experience some of the ultimate great meditation. The state of no mind, where the observer and the observed are one.