Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Greetings from Scotland

Our guide,Hugh Allison (you can google him; he's an author; he's written 3 books and is very smart and knowledgable) tells me there was a Scottish Enlightenment roughly 1760s thru 1820s. Huge thinkers like Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Carlisle, Sir Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scoptt, moralists, chemists, all asking questions about humanity.
There was something called the Declaration of Arbroath, which our Declaration of Independence was modelled after. Who knew? I felt an incredible energy in Edinburgh.

The Scottish Highlands should probably be on everyone's bucket list. And Hugh can trace his ancestry back so far it is inimaginable. One of the many magical things we've seen is a 5,000 year old Yew tree in a tiny place called Fortingall. It is said that Pontius Pilate was born there.
It is also said it is the oldest living thing on the planet.

Another truly mystical site was the Clava Cairns, a Bronze age burial site. Cairns is gallic for a pile of stones. The Clava Cairns date from 2000 bc and are 4,000 years old.

Some gaellic prefixes for place names are:
kin__ at the head of a loch (lake) or valley
Kil__holy place or church
inver__at the mouth of - therefore Inverness means at the mouth of the RiverNess.

Stirling Castle in Stirling was a bit disappointing, as the Royal Apartments were closed, But afterwards, we met Hamish, a Highland cow called a hairy cow. We stayed at a lovely B&B in INverness. The Loch Ness beast was first spotted in the River Ness, which runs from the North Sea. Loch Ness (the lake) is 24 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide and 850 ft in depth. It is easy to believe the myth of the beast, but alas, we didn't see him.

We spent two days on the Isle of Skye, also known as the island of the mists. There are two main mountain ranges, the Red Cullens and the Black Cullens, both distinctly different. The capital of the island is Portree, which means the King's port, because Bonnie Prince Charles came in there. It is also the land of Skathach, a Celtic Goddess of War. We also so a Fairie mound, and legend says if you open yourself you can hear the fairies dancing. It is called Aantsidhe.

We drove on the road to the isles, past the largest mountain in Britain, 4418 feet, called Ben Nevis, which means the terrible one.

The HIghlands are mystical, magical, historical, and quite beautiful. The story of the clans and how the clan system disappeared is quite interesting, but I won't go into it here.

When we left the HIghlands today after spending 3 days there and drove into Glasgow, my heart ached. I wasn't ready to re-enter civilization. Tomorrow we tour the old parts of the city, then on Saturday we leave for Ireland.

I truly know how blessed I am to be able to do a trip such as this and I don't blame those of you who are jealous. I would be, too. Wait till you see the photos when I get home.

Blessings to all of you,


Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Yep, I'm jealous! And I celebrate with you! Be sure and post some of those photos on your blog for us.

Tabitha Bird said...

Scottish highlands are on my bucket list! So is iceland, Finland, Norway, Alaska and oh about a million other places. One just once I would like to go live in France...

Enjoy that trip Karen :)

Gayle Vance said...

All sounds magnificent, Sweetie. I'm looking forward to the photos! Abq has cooled down a bit in the last few days and it's nice. Love, g.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

Sounds divine, Karen. Even if I never get to Scotland, it is wonderful to be able to live it vicariously through you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The coolest thing is how much *older* everything is there. And there's this sense of mystery and magic. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Your descriptive posts bring back some wonderful memories for me. I'm glad you're enjoying your trip.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Scotland is wonderful. I can't wait to read your thoughts about Ireland; land of my ancestors. My family is from the area around Galway. I've never been, although it is in my distant plans.


Jody Hedlund said...

Wow, Sounds like you're having a wonderful visit!! Thanks for sharing it!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I want to be there!!! Can't wait to see your pictures, Karen.