We have been in Sxotland for 5 days now Where do I begin?
Flascow will fool you. The downtown area appears elegant, classy, and expensive. There are brownstone buildings with shoe stores, clothing stores, expensive bistros, etc. The architecture is quite striking – you will also find high steepled churches and catherdrals, statues of many people, a statue of a unicorn, etc. The number of street musicians and run down looking people sitting on stairs drinking cpffee will give you another hit. Glascow was a fairly uncrowded city until the mid 1800s, when Irish people came looking for relief from the Potato Famine and people who had lost their land during the enclosure movements came, seeking work and homes. Tenements were working class communities, often overcrowded and unhealthy. There is still much poverty here, but the city is working to revive neighbords and create programs that will prevent crime. The city is turning around, and people are quite friendly. Visit, but be aware of the history.
Isle of Aran can be reached by an hour long ferry ride from the mainland. This is a quiet, lovely place, with high mountains. We took a lovely hike through a forested canyon and reached a waterfall. The trail then passed through a paleolithic burial site, and we had great ocean views. We also met with a group called COAST, which has established a no= fishing and no trawling zone on part of the coast and wants to extend it. An algae that grows here has a tough structure, and it supports many species, the same way a coral reef does. Trawling operations for scallops have led to massive loss of this ecosystem, but COAST is working with other groups to preserve it. I have much more information, and will be doing more research on this project.
We took a bus from Glascow to the Isle of Skye yesterday. We traveled through the Highlands – the most spectacular bus ride either of us has taken. There are high hills, many oif them volcanic, some with snow near their crests. There has been huge deforestation here, but some forests are coming back. People are working on reqilding these areas, which means allowing natural ecosystems to grow back here.
Skye has experienced deforestation, most recently after WW1 when the British were short on lumber. Forests are coming back in places… I would like to see this place in 50 years! It is excruciatingly beautiful… again, high volcanic hills, wild rock formations, fabulous rugged coasts. We hiked to a spot called the Faerie Pools, ponds where it is said the Faerie world connects with the human world. The Faeries were in a playful mood, it poured on us, but the hike was still incredibly spectacular.
We will be in Scotland for almost two more weeks. I will post when I can. The pads we have are hard to work with, but I will write when I can get to an actual computer.