Take away my right to choose

by davebarclay1954

In honour of the death and bells tolling the end of British and American democracy, today’s post has music from the Fun Boy Three. Apologies if this doesn’t play where you are but the video is courtesy of YouTube and they have different rules for different countries.

With BoJo the clown forcing his hand and closing down Parliament for an extra 3 weeks in order to force through his disastrous No Deal Brexit and continue Selling England By The Pound I thought the music was appropriate, again.

I am not going to get into a discussion on the disaster facing England and Wales from this action because that would be going through the same old same old again. If you want to know how I feel about this read some of my older posts. Instead I want to tell you about my excursion to the Scottish Highlands last weekend. Arriving in Fort William was really strange because one minute you’re in the middle of nowhere and then you turn a corner and you find yourself in Fort William.

This was the most amazing trip I have ever undertaken, a nostalgic trip on a steam train (the one used in the Harry Potter films no less) across the viaduct made famous in those same movies what a head f**k that was. Especially when the end of the line was not Hogwarts but Mallaig. Wonderful town to be sure but not enough to keep someone occupied for 2 hours before the train heads back to Fort William. The smell of the sea water loch, the sounds of boats heading into Mallaig with their catch or tourists and the noise of those from the train looking for souvenirs or watching the boats, amazing.

Unfortunately I did not manage to get any shots of the viaduct because it was on the other side of the train and the same people jumped up to take pictures out of the open window in both directions. The highlight though was the afternoon tea provided at an additional cost when booking. The food was amazing and the staff were very helpful and every question was answered, no matter how stupid others may have thought them.

Fort William is a town with a history steeped in Jacobite lore (for those unfamiliar with British History and the Union between England and Scotland under James Stewart I won’t go into that just now but will below). Bonnie Prince Charlie and the clans loyal to the Scottish claim to rule their own country without interference from the English started their campaign in the Highlands at Fort William. There is still a lot of references around the area to Scottish Gaelic, Jacobites and the Rebellion and most road signs are in both Gaelic and English. The area also sees a lot of foreign tourists who come for the scenery, and there is a lot of beauty in the Scottish mountains around Ben Nevis. Without dwelling too much on the disadvantages of this scenery and the trees suffice to say that there are forests and then there are Scottish forests. The vegetation is so dense in places that you can only see the road ahead and nothing to either side apart from bushes and trees. Hence not knowing how close you are to Fort William until the sign comes up ahead of the houses and B&B’s which are almost everywhere. When you come into the centre there are hotels (with names like The Garrison and Alexandria Hotel) offering visitors opulence and cells (I won’t tell you which is which).

The scenery in Scotland’s Highlands, of mountains, forests, rivers, lochs and coast line has to be seen to be believed. I met a couple on honeymoon from Norway and they said it is similar to Norway but with much more green! If they were impressed then it has to be among the best places around on this planet. After all, Norway has beautiful fjords and stunning mountains.

Once again I fell in love with the country which adopted me at the ripe old age of 4, leaving me in awe at the splendour all around from the mountains in the Highlands to the meadows of the Border country and everything in between. I wish I had taken more pictures while I was there so I could share them with you here but, alas, I didn’t stop on the way up due to the amount of cars parked everywhere in every layby and wide space. I am still in love with my home town of Newcastle upon Tyne but there will always be room in my heart for the country of my clan, Scotland.