Longing for Caledonia

It was only a short time spent in Bonnie Scotland, but each time I go there I find the draw to return stronger and stronger.  It’s always been part of my life long plan to return to my patriarchal ancestral home of Scotland.  While the big cities aren’t dissimilar to the big cities anywhere else in the world, it’s the smaller towns and villages out in the county side that are the real draw for me.

I wouldn’t have too much desire to live in places such as Edinburgh or Glasgow, no disrespect those cities, but they are too large for me.  Deep down I’m a small town/village sort of fellow.  I never realized that until moving to the UK and having spent the last few years in Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, this has shown me how quiet life can be in a smallish village.

My own regret after my most recent week in Scotland was that I wasn’t able to get out into the countryside and do more walking around, but what I did manage was superb and gave me a real boost mentally and “spiritually” (in a non-religious way).  One of these days I’ll go and just never come back. 

With some spectacular views like these it’s easy to see why [click to see full sized images]

I think in just a very short time of being there I’ve fallen in love with Ceann Rois (Kinross), it’s just about the perfect size and the views of the surrounding area are, well, spectacular.  From the shores of Loch Lìobhann (Loch Leven), or looking east to Bishop Hill or Benarty Hill to the south, the views are simply awesome. 

A line from a song sung by Celtic Woman, Caledonia (click to see the video) (Sung by Lisa Kelly) really does describe how I feel about Scotland

Let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia, you’re calling me,

[The two photos above are from the Isle of Mull, click on them to see full size images]

Since the mid 90’s when I got my first taste of Gaelic I’ve had a fascination with the language.  Thought by many to be a dead or dying language, however it’s been shown to be gaining ground in parts of Scotland with more taking up the language all the time.  Back in the 90’s I’d heard about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (meaning, the great barn at Ostaig, owing to it’s 1973 start up location),on the Isle of Skye. This was, and still is today, the only college specializing in higher education taught solely in Gaelic.  Anyhow, back in the 90’s I’d ordered some CD’s and Video tapes from the school to try and learn Gaelic at home.  This worked a little, but without any support network and anyone to speak with it all sort of went by the wayside.  When I went to the Isle of Mull back in 2008 my love for the ancient language came back having not only heard some of the locals speaking it, but really but the fact that I could actually remember and understand some of it (very little, but hey better then none at all). 

I’ve recently been looking into taking a distance learning course from SMO.  I’m just waiting to find out when the term will actually start and see about getting signed up for it.  I still have a problem with finding local people to converse with, however I don’t think it will be nearly as hard these days as it was back in the 90’s, especially being this close to the source of the language. 

What will it give me to be able to speak Gaelic?  Likely not that much to be fair, but it will give me another ticked box on my list of things I want to do in my life, not really my “bucket list” as such, but I suppose if it needs a label then that can be used.   Maybe one day I’ll formally write my list of things I want to do and start physically checking stuff off… hmm good idea.   I suppose another thing that learning Gaelic might be give me is a bit of an advantage should I actually manage to pull off move to Scotland and ending up in an area where the language is commonly used.

While up in Scotland I’d attended by first Céilidh and even dressed the part with a hired kilt.  While I didn’t actually muster enough courage to go and try dancing it was still great fun watching it all.

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While the tartan wasn’t that of the Clan MacKenzie I think it looked alright, the tartan is that of the Clan Douglas, the kilt hire shop wasn’t able to get my own tartan on the short notice I’d given them.  Oh well, next time.

I’ve been blithering on for too long and it’s bed time.


4 Responses to Longing for Caledonia

  1. Ooooh and there’s far too few beers on the table fo it to be really in Scotland!

    • Sadly I was driving so consuming too much wasn’t a good idea, even with the high tolerance to such things in Scotland 😉

      Actually, the venue really screwed up, while shifting the food down from the kitchens they put the beer flow on hold due to the small space in the lift. A pretty piss poor showing really, but the food really was awesome. Comments from some of the local Scots were that the Haggis was one of the best they’d had.

  2. Erm, you didn’t dance? Why not? it’s brilliant fun – even if you don’t know the moves”

  3. Avatar Nana - Shirley
    Nana - Shirley says:

    well Scotland certainly brought out the poet in you! Well done!