Went to England but not London
Went to Scotland but not Edinburgh
Didn’t do Manchester, Liverpool or Leeds
Touring a motorbike is on a different path
With strange admirers along the way
Started in Stoke
Made it to the top
Coast to coast
From Newcastle in the east
To Skye in the west
Past castles grand
And those that bare the scars of Britain’s violent history.
In search of monsters real or legend
In the highlands
And in the low
Went to England and didn’t do London
In Scotland missed Edinburgh
But saw a bit.
Inverness ancient trading city of the north
All have influenced this city
Inverness castle looms over the city
Destroyed and rebuilt a number of times
The Hanoverian garrison during the bloody Battle of Culloden that ended the Scottish uprising.
But I thing I was touched the by the Celtic Ray
At Hootananny where the beer and good craic flower
Inverness is the gateway to the very north of Scotland
The start and finish of the touring route the North Coast 500
It takes you the top of the British mainland
And the beautiful villages and dramatic coastline and history of North Scotland
Inverness’ Calladonian Canal opened a trading route into the northern highlands
So my rediscovery of the Celtic Ray stated in the old streets of Inverness.
Back in Glasgow
The buildings have a new feel
I’ve been touched by the Celtic Ray (the Awen)
‘Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales
I can hear the mothers’ voices calling
“Children, children, children”
Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
I’ve been away from the Ray too long
I’ve been away from the Ray too long’ – words by Van Morrison
My heritage is Irish, my great grand parents migrating to Kalgoorlie in the 1890s
Part of the Irish diaspora.
But spending time in the north of Scotland has put me on the Celtic Ray
Touched by the Celtic Ray
Glasgow has a new light.
I found the Glasgow Enlightenment
And the fact the the world’s first Afro-American doctor was trained in Glasgow by slavery abolitionists. He was James Mcune-Smith.
I have been away from the Ray too long
Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing
Onward the sailors cry
Carry the lad that was born to be king
O’er the see to Skye.
So goes the first verse of the Skye boat song and Skye is inextricably linked to the Bonnie Prince Charlie legend.
Skye is an island of deep fojds and sounds, rugged mountains and quaint villages.
When leaving Stirling I met a Spanish couple on a BMW. Who had said the beauty of Skye bought a tear to their eye.
And it is hard to disagree.
The vistas on each turn of the road surpassing the previous.
And the Scottish weather continued to smile.
The Wallace monument stands tall looking across the Forth River at Stirling Castle.
The Scots watching the English, the English watching the Scots as it has been for centuries.
Back at Berwick upon Tweed tale had told how that city had changed from Scottish to English and then English to Scottish 13 times in 30 years.
Not that either could see much on the damp misty Stirling day.
In the highlands past Dalwhinnie the cloud lifted revealing the green rolling hills and small villages.
Gatehouses that mark the entrance to stately homes.
Still the homes of the clan chieftains.
The lochs opening up bigger and broader as the west coast of Scotland came closer and closer.
With grand castles standing on islets.
Across from Skye is the township of Kyle of Lochalsh.
A working port
End of the train line from Inverness and just o’er the sea from Skye.
In the middle of the working port
On the station at the end of the line.
There is a most beautiful seafood restaurant.
With a choice from delights such as langoustines, monkfish, sea bass
Beautiful sunset over the Loch at 11pm
And Skye still to be explored.