Monday, June 18, 2012
630.3 kms: Milngavie-Craigallian-Dumgoyne-Upper Gartness-Easter Drumquhassle.
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,
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.