Tag: Scotland

So who is Sam?

You loved Sam Grant’s photos of Casper and Scotland. Learn more about her.

Last Sunday my Picture Parade was primarily a recent item that appeared on the BBC website.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

By Ewan Murrie, BBC Scotland news website, 3rd June 2017

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

I went on to republish a wonderful set of photographs that had been taken by Sam. You all loved them and that led me to ask Sam if I could republish her About Me page on her blog. Sam very kindly said that would be fine.

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Scotland with the Wee White Dug

A Scottish travel blog showcasing the best of Scotland. Scotland with the Wee White Dug is a comprehensive and informative guide to Scotland, covering history, outdoor activities, events, visitor attractions, accommodation, eating out and more.

About Me

A little bit about me

Hello and welcome to my Scottish travel blog which I hope you’ll find informative and interesting, but most of all fun.

I’m Samantha but am generally known as Sam, Mrs G or Mum.  I’m married to Alex (Mr G) and we live in Edinburgh with a well travelled wee white dug called Casper.  We also share our home with the The Teen, Casper’s sloth like and gadget obsessed big sister.

All of my free time is spent road-tripping around Scotland.  I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country and never tire of its jawdropping and diverse beauty.

I have a vast knowledge of where to stay, eat and what to do in Scotland. Whether it be an afternoon out, a day trip or an extended tour. I also know all of the best places to go with your four legged friend.

I’m a Visit Scotland Ambassador and I helped launch their online Community in the spring of 2016.  The Community is a Scottish travel forum for sharing insider hints and tips about visiting Scotland.  Visit Scotland’s Ambassadors were selected for their expert knowledge of the country.

In January 2017 I took up the role of resident blogger for East Lothian Council on their Visit East Lothian website.  I write a fortnightly post for their blog, highlighting the delights of East Lothian.

I’m passionate about the history, language, literature, customs and myths of Scotland. I read History at the University of Edinburgh and during my time there I studied Scottish History, Literature and Politics which gave me an excellent understanding of how Scotland became the country that it is today.

I absolutely adore the great outdoors – it’s my happy place.  I love hiking, have been known to summit a Munro or two and am happiest when surrounded by lochs, moors and mountains.

My photography

I’ve been an avid hobby photographer since joining Instagram several years ago.  I’m part of a diverse group of Scottish Instagrammers with a passion for sharing Scotland with the World.

My feed @bean_nighe has appeared on Instagram’s prestigious Suggested User list.  You’ll find the Wee White Dug on Instagram too @theweewhitedug.  His feed is also dedicated to sharing our Scottish travels.

I’ve featured in articles recommending the best Scottish Instagram accounts to follow by The ScotsmanMatador Network and the award winning travel blog Stories my suitcase could tell.

My photos appear regularly on various social media channels including those of Canon UK, BBC, Skyscanners, Scottish Memories Magazine, Scotrail, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland and The Guardian.

I share my Scottish travels on Facebook and Twitter too so if you’re on those sites stop by and say hello.

I’m passionate about promoting Scotland as a wonderful place to visit.  It’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog to join me on my travels.  I hope ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ inspires you to visit Scotland, helps you to plan for a forthcoming trip or makes you reminisce fondly about a past visit.

If you’re interested in working with me you can find out more here.

Sam

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Just glorious!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ten

Pictures of Casper.

(All will become clear shortly!)

Dear friend of this place, Margaret K. from Tasmania (MargfromTassie), recently sent me an email with a link to a story that had appeared on the BBC website.

I thought the photographs would make a fabulous Picture Parade.

But first sufficient of the news story for the photographs to be seen in proper context.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

“Casper is my unique selling point,” says Sam Grant, an Edinburgh-based VisitScotland ambassador who spends her spare time travelling the country with her pet.

She adds: “There are lots of travel bloggers out there who are very good writers, but they don’t have the wee white dug.”

Here are almost all of those photographs that the BBC presented.

You will love them.

Please note that all of the photographs were taken by Sam Grant who, I am sure, retains copyright ownership of them. Sam’s blogsite is Scotland With The Wee White Dug and well worth a visit.

The village of Crianlarich is located in Glen Strathfillan to the north of the Trossachs, around eight miles north of the head of Loch Lomond

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The village of Carrbridge, in the Scottish Highlands is famous for its 18th Century packhorse bridge.

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Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran, offers views across to Holy Isle.

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Culzean Castle is perched on the Ayrshire cliffs.

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Culloden Moor in the Highlands is where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746.

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Iona, Inner Hebrides, is often described as a “tiny island paradise”.

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The Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney, is thought to be more than 5,000 years old.

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North Berwick, East Lothian, boasts many great beaches and coastal scenery.

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“Dolphin Spirit” is a boat to take tourists onto the waters of the inner Moray Firth to see the dolphin pods.

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Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch near Portknockie on the north-eastern coast of Scotland.

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Kilchurn Castle is a ruined castle on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute.

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Snow capped Ben More in Glen More, Isle of Mull, Western Isles.

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Balnakeil Bay is near Durness, Scottish Highlands.

I can’t resist including the rest of the text that the BBC published for the photographs are strengthened enormously by Sam’s words.

Her eccentric website details places of interest in areas including Orkney, Loch Lomond and the Scottish Borders.

It was launched in 2015 after an Instagram account written from Casper’s perspective proved popular with followers.

The social media profile has nearly 4,000 followers, who Sam says “can’t get enough” of the wee white dug’s quirky anecdotes about his travels.

Sam says travelling with Casper has given her lots of insight into Scotland’s best pet-friendly tourist attractions and holiday accommodation.

She says: “There are loads of good places that you can visit nowadays where you can bring along your four-legged friends.”

Sam hopes the blog could encourage more Scots to look around their own country, as well as attracting other visitors.

She says: “If you visit the beaches in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll see there’s really no need to go to the Caribbean – unless you’re a sun worshipper.

“Scotland’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.”

Sam says most traffic to her website comes from the UK and US but she has had visitors from more than 100 countries – including China.

“When I see that I’ve had visitors from far-flung countries, I imagine them on the other side of the world reading about Scotland and the wee white dug,” the writer adds.

Asked if she thinks some people could say her pictures are a bit twee, Sam replied: “I did worry about that at first, so I try to make a joke of it.

“But if people like my pictures and they bring a bit of happiness to someone’s day, then why not?”

I guarantee that all of you dear people who view these photographs will have much happiness brought to you. As was brought to Jeannie and me.

Solace.

The stranger the times the more we need to ‘ground’ ourselves.

Without doubt these are incredibly strange and unsettling times. For the United Kingdom, for the USA, for the British Commonwealth, for Scotland, for Gibraltar; and for many other places.

When we are faced with unsettling periods then it is essential to ‘ground’ ourselves, and there are many effective ways of doing this.

One way that always works for me is to gaze into a clear, night sky. The night sky over one’s head is captivating beyond words. Perhaps I should have written that it is captivating beyond my words.

Not so for Sue Dreamwalker. Just read this most beautiful poem that Sue published a little over two weeks ago. Republished here with Sue’s kind permission.

(And to demonstrate how your’s truly is becoming a forgetful old fart when I read this out to Jeannie last night she reminded me that I had already published it! It’s worthy of another showing!)

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Mother Gaia ~ The Blue Dot.

11 Jun 2016

Three Sisters Glen Coe Scotland
Three Sisters Glen Coe Scotland

How many times have you gazed at the stars?

To ask the question of whom we are

This Blue Dot in the vastness of space

Have you questioned the existence of the Human Race?

~~

Did we really evolve from Neanderthal Man?

From Ape to Human imagine if you can

Woolly Mammoths along with Sabre Tooth Tigers

Ice Ages and Floods, Volcanoes and Fires

~~

Mountains crashing, rising from ocean floors

Fossils created into stony forms

Petrified wood in glaciers saved

While Crystals grow beneath deep dark cave

~~

How many times have you asked ‘Who am I?’

As you gaze longingly at the starlit sky

So many treasures now upon this Blue Dot

So sad that we’ve evolved, but we also forgot

~~

That we Humans just like the Dinosaur race

Could soon disappear without a trace

As our superior brains seemed to have lost the plot

Of our coexistence within this amazing Blue Dot

~~

As we pollute our Mother who brings such life

While we rage in greed creating more strife

We poison our land modifying crops

Caring less and less until the last Bee drops

~~

Long after we’re gone as the planets realign

A new dawn will break over the memory of mankind

His legacy I’m sure one day will be discovered

As some future traveller his fossils will uncover.

~~

But it’s never too late to alter our future

When we live in harmony and learn to nurture

Holding onto LOVE and Letting go of Hate

We can all help our Blue Planet Regenerate.

Copyright Sue Dreamwalker 2016.

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Just meditate on those thoughts for a while without doing anything else.

Treasures Within and Without.

We must never let go of admiring beauty.

It’s Sunday lunchtime and I have come in from outside to check my emails and to put together the post for today. For reasons I can’t exactly put my finger on I’m feeling a little distracted. I sense a yearning for being transported away from the ‘outside world’ and turning inwards: Even giving blogging a rest for a couple of weeks (but I won’t).

So thank goodness for the blogging contacts we make all around the world. Just last Saturday Sue, of Sue Dreamwalker’s blog, published an exquisitely beautiful poem. Sue very promptly gave me permission to republish it in full. Sue’s poem speaks to me just now; speaks to me in this rather introspective place. I hope her wonderful words speak to you as well.

Here it is.

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Mother Gaia ~ The Blue Dot.

11 Jun 2016 .

dsc02478
Three Sisters Glen Coe Scotland.

How many times have you gazed at the stars?

To ask the question of whom we are

This Blue Dot in the vastness of space

Have you questioned the existence of the Human Race?

~~

Did we really evolve from Neanderthal Man?

From Ape to Human imagine if you can

Woolly Mammoths along with Sabre Tooth Tigers

Ice Ages and Floods, Volcanoes and Fires

~~

Mountains crashing, rising from ocean floors

Fossils created into stony forms

Petrified wood in glaciers saved

While Crystals grow beneath deep dark cave

~~

How many times have you asked ‘Who am I?’

As you gaze longingly at the starlit sky

So many treasures now upon this Blue Dot

So sad that we’ve evolved, but we also forgot

~~

That we Humans just like the Dinosaur race

Could soon disappear without a trace

As our superior brains seemed to have lost the plot

Of our coexistence within this amazing Blue Dot

~~

As we pollute our Mother who brings such life

While we rage in greed creating more strife

We poison our land modifying crops

Caring less and less until the last Bee drops

~~

Long after we’re gone as the planets realign

A new dawn will break over the memory of mankind

His legacy I’m sure one day will be discovered

As some future traveller his fossils will uncover.

~~

But it’s never too late to alter our future

When we live in harmony and learn to nurture

Holding onto LOVE and Letting go of Hate

We can all help our Blue Planet Regenerate.

Copyright Sue Dreamwalker 2016.

show
This is just one of the beautiful slides from Sue’s slide show. As she writes, “The above slide show are the photo’s I took that inspired the poem above. They were taken in Scotland where I visited a crystal and mineral centre near Fort William. It was a delightful find holding a wealth of Treasures of The Earth which can be found here. “

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 (Please view the full slide show here.)

Sue then completes her beautiful post; as follows:

There is so much more that lays hidden beneath our Earth Mother, as well as within ourselves.

If only we dig deep enough to find the Treasures Within.  

Love and Blessings

~Sue~

I am still digging Deep How about You?

Life is an endless dig to find treasures within.

Beautiful, Sue!

Lets try not to get stuck in a rut…

A fascinating look back at making tracks!

This came in from Suzann, Su to her friends, a few days ago.  Suzann is Dan Gomez’s sister and if Dan’s name is familiar it’s because he, too, sends in items for Learning from Dogs, the recent Tad too much cabin pressure being an example.  It was Su that invited me out to San Carlos, Mexico for Christmas 2007 which resulted in me meeting Jean, a long-time friend of Su, and, as they say, the rest is history!  OK, to the article from Su.

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Here’s a question?

Think about railroad (railways in ‘English’!) tracks.  The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.  That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used? Because that’s the way they built them in Scotland, and Scots expatriates designed the US railroads.

Why did the Scots build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why that gauge then?  Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?  Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long-distance roads in Scotland, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?  Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including Scotland) for their legions.  Those roads have been used ever since. [And rarely repaired! 😉 Ed. ]

And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts.  Which forever more everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels.

Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.  Therefore the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot.

Bureaucracies live forever….

So the next time you are handed a specification or a procedure or process and wonder ‘What horse’s ass came up with this?‘, you may be exactly right.  Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

Now, the twist to the story. When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.  The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel.

The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

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Just a fabulously interesting account of something we all take for granted, or had done until now! Thank you so much, Su, for sharing that with everyone.

The mystery of nature.

Spellbinding!

English starling

Ginger I. who works at the Payson branch of the Humane Society of Central Arizona recently sent me the following video on the magic of a flock of starlings.  It’s … well, you watch it and fill in the rest of the sentence; I ran out of words.

A short film that follows the journey of two girls in a canoe on the River Shannon and how they stumble across one of nature’s greatest phenomenons; a murmuration of starlings.

A murmuration is a…

/merr’meuh ray”sheuhn/, n.

1. an act or instance of murmuring.

2. a flock of starlings.

Ginger also included the following in her email,

A mystery of nature:

No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite.

Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. The starlings’ murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in different contexts is practised by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds’ quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.

Despite their tour de force in the dusky sky, starlings have declined significantly in the UK in recent years, perhaps because of a decline in suitable nesting sites. The birds still roost in several of Britain’s rural pastures, however, settling down to sleep (and chatter) after their evening ballet.

Two young ladies were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in the short video above. Watch the variation of colour and intensity of the patterns that the birds make in close proximity to one other.

I also quickly found a second video on YouTube that seemed worthy of including in this Post.

This astonishing sequence was filmed by wild life cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter who is currently sailing around the UK in an 18 foot boat. You can follow his journey and see more of his work at www.keepturningleft.co.uk.

Now I know that as I get older I seem to be turning into an emotional mess!  But a very happy mess!  I mention this because both films had me in tears.  Why?  Not really sure.  But I sense that when one looks at such beauty, such real pure magical beauty, and then reflects on the stupidity, greed and shortsightedness of mankind the contrast is almost too much to handle!