Sunday, April 5, 2015

Day Two: The Trossachs/Oban

Our plans changed on the second day.  Up early to get Starbucks and money from the ATM before heading out in the van with Chris, our driver.  So the below is NOT what we did.  In order to get the real feeling for what we did, scroll down until you see:  start here

Head west after Breakfast, stopping for a warm-up hike in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park--Scotland's first national park, established in 2002.  Our trail takes us up to the pointed summit of Ben A'an to photograph sweeping views of Loch Katrine.

Rob Roy was born on the other end of Lake Katrine in Glen Gyle:

The following information is found in the introduction to a book by Rennie McOwan called Walks in the Trossachs and the Rob Roy Country:

This is the area made famous by Sir Walter Scott's poem, The Lady of the Lake.

These Hills and Glens were the haven for Scotland's most famous king, Robert the Bruce.  It is in this area that he conducted guerrilla warfare during the 14th C Scottish Wars of Independence which successfully maintained Scotland's status as an independent nation.

From here, too MacGregors, MacLarens, Campbells, Stewarts, Fergusons, and Grahams travelled to take part in the seventeenth-century Scottish Wars of the Covenant (the Scottish-end of what is popularly known in England as the Roundheads and Cavaliers war) and in the 1715 and 1745 Jacobite Risings, and in other power clashes.

The word blackmail came from this area.  Mail is an old Scots word for rent or payment and black described the color of the old Scots cattle.  The large highland cattle drives would pass through this area on their way to the big fairs at Falkirk and Crieff.  In effect the MacGregors and others said to the Lowland lairds ---pay us cash and we won't steal your cattle and we won't let anyone else do it either.  This is not as bad as it sounds as it was a kind of primitite policing and evolved into bodies of law-and-order government sponsored militia called Watches.

....the Gaelic people took their herds to this area in the spring and summer.

This is definitely Rob Roy McGregor "country".  Rob Roy lived from 1671to 1734.  Why is he well known?  Probably because Sir Walter Scott found him to be a romantic character who represented the end of the Gaelic Clan system in Scotland.  Wikipedia says that the clan system was dismantled in the decade following Rob Roy's death.

The year 1723 saw the publication of a fictionalised account of his life, The Highland Rogue.[7] Rob Roy became a legend in his own lifetime, and George I was moved to issue a pardon for his crimes just as he was about to be transported to the colonies. The publication of Rob Roy, by Sir Walter Scott in 1817, further added to his fame and fleshed out his biography. Hector Berlioz was inspired by the book to compose an overtureWilliam Wordsworth wrote a poem called "Rob Roy's Grave" during a visit to Scotland. (The 1803 tour was documented by his sister Dorothy in Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland. The editor of the book changed the place of burial to the present location.) Adaptations of his story have also been told in film including the 1922 silent film Rob Roy, a 1953 film from Walt Disney Productions Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue and the 1995 Rob Roy directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Liam Neeson.

The below is taken from Wikipedia about the Gaelic language:

The 2011 census of Scotland showed that a total of 57,375 people (1.1% of the Scottish population aged over three years old) in Scotland could speak Gaelic at that time, with the Outer Hebrides being the main stronghold of the language. One sees the Outer Hebrides in the Very dark navy blue in the below.  The royal blue area that stick out pointing toward the Out Hebrides is Skye and is part of the Inner Hebrides along with the Isle of Mull.  Seen in the map below the Gaelic Language map.

In the book that I am reading (Historical Fiction:  The Queen Hereafter) the author indicates that King Malcolm did not really manage to rule over the northern part that remained speaking the Gaelic language.  The widow of McBeth held the loyalty of the people of that area.  And it would seem that Malcolm was content to wage his war south into Northumbria rather than to wage war for submission on the north.

Start HERE:

Our first stop on our way from Edinburg to Oban was in Glasgow.

We viewed the Glasgow Cathedral from afar.  The cathedral is Presbyterian as would be expected since John Knox is buried directly across from the Cathedral.

Most of our time was spent in the Necropolis which was beginning to show signs of spring.

I particularly liked the fact that the day was grey and the trees were without leaves.  The below may be my favorite photo of the first two days so far....I like the spookiness of the gnarled trees!

The circular building in the below used to be a chapel that was used both for funerals and also for prayer. This chapel sat on the top of the hill.  We didn't get all the way up the hill.  The necropolis was built into the hill.  It was a very interesting site.  I liked it a lot!

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