Most of my travels are in Central America; if that's the blog you're looking for, here it is: Hopefulist in Latin America.

This is the blog for photos and reflections of my visits to other places, beginning in 2013. Previous blogs are linked on the main pages of my photo collections on flickr.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


On Saturday, July 13th, we said goodbye to Lottie and Tom at Claveron House and to Arran and took the ferry to Ardrossan and trains to Glasgow Central, an underground to Partick (which we didn't realize at 1st was an underground train on a different level and which we had to RUN to catch), and on to Balloch. Our wonderful little Bed & Breakfast stop, Valhalla, was directly across from the rail station; we checked in, dropped our bags, and walked the few blocks to the Highland Games. We spent more than 5 hours taking in bagpipe competitions, Scottish dance contests (no photos allowed), Scottish back hold wrestling, running and cycle races, and the World Highland Games Championship Heavies competition. The Heavies events include tossing hammers and weights (up to 56 pounds) for distance and height and running with a caber - an 18', 150 pound log - balancing it and attempting to throw it end over end. Several of the competitors were able to accomplish that, but for most the caber failed to topple forward which the announcer proclaimed each time as "unlucky".

We enjoyed some traditional Scottish food, 1st haggis, neeps, and tatties (national dish of Scotland, turnips, and potatoes) and a haggis hog dog at the games, then fish and chips for dinner in the park, and finally a Scottish fry up for breakfast at our B & B before heading to the train again, south to the Glasgow airport.

Last view of Arran

Inside the ferry

Rail journey to Balloch

Let the games begin!




Piper judge



Photo op with a big owl - we paid about $4 so Isaac could choose a bird of prey to hold for a photo.





The sprinters were staggered at the start based on previous races; runners in various events were aged 5 to 70s or 80s.



The tug o' wars were fascinating - the participants could hardly walk they were so tired at the end.



We enjoyed watching the Scottish back hold wrestling - littles to bigs.

That's the head of the games with the cane - also in the middle tug photo, above, and near the end presenting trophies.





I especially enjoyed the traditional heavies events.





When a caber tumbled backwards and the rear judge had to dance out of the way, the announcer said they have to be nimble and preferably sober to get that job.

That's a 56 pound weight with a starting bar height of 13 feet.

Just your basic state fair food. Not.

All the pipe bands together for the grand finale playing traditional tunes - gorgeous!

Presentation of awards

Parade through Balloch

Meanwhile, back at the B & B....


Sunday morning we walked down to the 'bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond" before a traditional Scottish breakfast was served; those are swimmers out there - brrrrr!



We took a train south to Glasgow and transferred to another heading a bit west to Paisley.

Street view while we waited for the bus to the Glasgow airport

Final Scottish picnic

It took me about 20 tries to get more than my nose in a photo - Isaac asked if I was doing a time lapse feature.

Mike had to prove his carryon would fit in the frame or the EasyJet people would have charged us about $70 to check it - more than the cost of the flight. Then he had to prove it could be removed which required a sturdy bag, strong arms, tipping the display over, and several other passengers pushing and pulling. Our last Scottish adventure!

Bye for now!


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