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Helen Clark - From the Peak District to Loch Fyne and Back Again (Part One of Two)

Blog Posted on 05 May 2011

Right, before I start, I need you to think about those adverts for Visit Scotland – you know the ones with all the whiteyness and the lovely beautiful blonde people rolling round in snow and the roaring fires and the crumbling castles ? (that advert  always makes me want to have a big glass of whiskey -I hate also makes me want to wear a lovely patterned pullover – now THAT’S good marketing) – well think about that advert and the lovely tinkly music and carry on reading.

We left behind the green peaks of Castleton, the fast flowing river of Bakewell and the reservoirs at Ladybower to go to Scotland for our Easter break. We wanted to see their peaks and reservoirs – mountains, tarns, cairns, fells, rivers and lochs. Everytime we’ve been , and we’ve been a few, the weather has been somewhat inclement?   Basically, it’s rained. It’s either been bleak, foggy, windy or snowy but we return at least once a year, usually in Autumn, because we can’t get enough of the scenery , the seafood and the wildlife(we just wanted to escape this country to be honest  and get away from all that wedding malarkey that some famous people were having).


It was Easter Saturday and the temperature was 18 degrees and rising. We drove out of England and as soon as we got over the Scottish border - no joke – it got cloudier and cloudier and started raining! The temperature gauge dipped to 12 degrees.  How we laughed.


It didn’t matter at all (well maybe a bit) but we knew it would be wet and probably cold as we don’t know any better, but we didn’t care. We had jumpers and cagooles (much to my son’s disgust) and thick woolley socks (the latter being big enough to put on our heads if we got too cold). We had our walking boots and a boot full of goodies and 9 hours later (we got awful lost in Glasgow as the motorway seemed to have broken and we were diverted into a rather seedy looking part of the town. I locked the car doors as we drove round in circles and I kept saying “There’s been a  Murrr - der”, which didn’t help the Hubster’s mood, but he couldn’t blame me for our lostness cos I was driving and he was the navigator ......nuff said).


We made it out alive – no need for Taggart – drove past Loch Lomond (we stopped for a sandwich and watched all the gentile old people get off their coaches and stand dithering looking out to the loch for 3 seconds,  and then they all got back on again – it took about 3 hours bless ‘em ), drove round a roundabout where I got parped by one said lovely gentile elderly gentleman. He was quite shocked to see the red faced gesticulating lady, who was silently, exploding expletives, remarking on his ability to actually drive correctly due to his age (the windows were closed on both cars) which were coming forth out of this dainty English Rose. I know - I am suitably ashamed. 


(my son had his DVD player on in the car with his headphones on, watching Red Dwarf so he didn’t hear or see his mother swearing, thank goodness) 


When we got through the traffic and traumas to the most fantastic scenery you could ever wish to see, we arrived at a place called “Rest and Be Thankful “– honest that’s what it was called. There was a shop called that too just for good measure if you want to Googlie.

The sun came out as we sat and sipped some restorative tea – yes, really, the sun-  and we carried on until we reached our destination - a cottage on the shores of Loch Fyne.(I bet you said that last bit in your head, in a high voiced  lady Scottish accent –the bit about the shores and all that  - like HazleMacWitch in Rentaghost didn’t you?  No?  Obviously just me then....) 

We were shattered after all that driving – we had set off at 5am - and then had to put up with a soon to be teenager (my son – NOT the Hubster - although sometimes I can’t tell the difference) complaining loudly that – der der derrrrrrrr – we -  didn’t  - have -  satellite  - telly.


Mmmmmm better brush onwards with that little interlude....... not one of the better memories of our holiday ( Our cottage was situated in a little harbour which had pubs and seafood restaurants- much better than telly we said – that didn’t wash with him - would you believe it? We then promised him endless diet cokes – to match every one of our pints of beer and lager – I’m a lady I’ll have you know – mine’s the lager – not the Beer yuk -  so the teenager to be, was temporarily happy. Bribery and corruption I know but sssssh – don’t judge, we were ALL on holiday).


Me and the Hubster sat outside til the wee small hours (occasionally startled as “Smeg Head” was shouted randomly , from the lounge situated above our heads, breaking the glorious silence) and watched the boats coming in and out of the harbour and listened to the Kleep Kleeps of the Oystercatchers (I looked it up in a book in the cottage and that’s the noise as said by the RSPB, so it’s officially correct so don’t laugh at my phrasing please!)

The next day dawned with the most amazingly fantastic Dawn light over the Loch, as I got up well before everyone else – even Bog Dog wasn’t awake yet - she was asleep on her young master’s bed
(I’d be obliged if you don’t tell the holiday cottage owners thankyou – of course we kept her OUT of the bedrooms and she NEVER NOT NEVER went upstairs at any time....) and I sat there sipping my tea in my dressing gown, watching the sun come up over the horizon.
I was Sick. As. A. Pig (no I hadn’t got a hangover)
Why oh why oh why hadn’t I brought my tools with me?  It’s alright being fed up at home and wanting to leave everything behind, I’d been sooooo good and left the laptop and the Blackberry behind – it was hard but I did it - no mobile phone for me –  nothin but rest and relaxation- the Hubster’s orders as I do tend to burn out and I was a tad frazzled after all the new Gallery make over excitement and in danger of becoming a basket case – but I could have cried as I wanted so badly to paint the view from our window. It was the most amazing Scottish movie I had ever seen ( apart from Highlander and Braveheart  of course -  they  both have very dishy men in them – in kilts no less. What is it about a man in a kilt ladies – NOT to mixed up with a man in a skirt cos that’s wrongdiddlywrong - stuff your Beckham’s in a Sarong thankyou very muchly  - ooooh kilts – scrummy yummy – er hemmmm - gosh better move on quickly) .


Anyway I’d brought my pencil and sketch pad but I have to confess it stayed in the bag all week. I got over the “no tool tantrum” (no paints) and contented myself with just looking out of the picture window – it was better than a widescreen telly any day of the week.  We had our own soap opera to watch - 2 herons who visited the loch every day and occasionally fought and then stood in harmony, a swan who was sat on her nest on a little island in the middle of the harbour and I tssssked as her male just ‘swanned’ (sorry) around whenever he felt like it, seals who came into chase the fishing boats, countless sea birds we didn’t recognise.

I tried and tried to take some photographs myself, but in the end I thought it would be better to leave it to my man – he’s rather good as you can see -  oh yes and every time I picked his precious camera up, he made a little girlie wincing sound and made me feel like I was going to break it?  (Actually I took loads of pics without actually turning it on-  well I didn’t know did I? I can’t be good at EVERYTHING ?

I am starting to sounding like a courier for a Scottish tourist board (ooooh I wonder if they’d let me roll around in the snow with that nice Scottish young blonde gentleman) I’ll sign off for now, but sorry, Part 2 will arrive shortly, as I haven’t finished my Scottish tale.
Once I’ve got Scotland out of my system, I promise to get back to the Peak District talk you lovely people at Peak District Online.  Don’t sack me as Peak District representative Artist Blogger will you or I’ll have to send round Mel Gibson in a kilt shouting “Freedom” and waving his sword around his head (if he does come, can you send him round to see me for a cuppa afterwards? Thanks)

(This is a Ringed Plover – had to look that up in the trusty RSPB book too!)

Type Of Art: Painting
Location: Rowsley
Contact Number: 01629 732 638

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