Archives for History

Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers [Munro 4 & 5]

Earlier today I walked up Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers with my brother and son. On the new count Beinn Ghlas was number 4 and Ben Lawers the fifth Munro. Only another 278 to go! It was a two hour drive from our house, but we had an early start and got there just before 10. The car park had a £3 parking fee, although free for members of the National Trust for Scotland. We started off at 10:05. You can see the detail of our route on OS Maps - I plotted this one using the aerial photos of Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers because the footpath was suspiciously straight and it suggested three hours was enough to do two munros! Beinn Ghlas Translated from Gaelic this is Grey Mountain. It's in a nature reserve, although we didn't see…
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Driesh and then Mayar

Driesh is the closest munro to our new house in Scotland, and Mayar is only a couple of miles on the same ridge from it. So on Saturday 22nd July Alex and I went for a walk to bag two more munros by doing Driesh, and then Mayar. We did them in that order because of the proximity, even though most of the guides have the walk in the opposite direction. Our route was up the Kilbo path on the  side of the Shank of Drumfollow to a saddle between Driesh and Mayar. We then detoured East for a mile to the summit of Driesh, and then back to the same point to approach the summit of Mayar from the East. We then turned North and walked to the source of the Fee Burn and then descended into Corrie Fee…
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garden

Moving North

I haven't written for a while, and there are good reasons behind that, we're moving North! Until February all my spare time was spent online looking at houses in Scotland that we could move to. Moving North Finding a New Home in the North The February half term week was spent with a massive driving expedition across Scotland. We stayed at Blackridge, between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Over the course of the week we saw several houses on both coasts of Scotland and both south and north of the central belt. In the end we chose a fab house outside the area we'd been expecting, in NE Scotland between Dundee and Aberdeen. Preparing to Move The living room in the old house being packed ready for moving north. (Photo: James Kemp) Since then it's been a mix of packing books, of…
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Ancient

The Charioteer: A Roman Adventure Story by Jemahl Evans [Book Review]

The Charioteer: A Roman Adventure Story by Jemahl Evans My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Charioteer by Jemahl Evans is the first in a new series. It is set in time of the emperor Justinian when the Roman Empire becomes the Byzantine Empire. Based on a marginal note in Procopius’s history about the first recorded industrial espionage. The Charioteer uses real characters from history that Jehmal Evans has skilfully woven together into a story as fine as the silk his characters are stealing the secret of making. The Charioteer There are three main characters, including the Charioteer, and a small cast of important supporting characters. We find them thrust into a quest to redeem themselves, or their family, by Narses, the Emperor’s treasurer. This quest sends them off along the silk road to meet a contact with silkworm eggs…
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dark ages

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker [Book Review]

The Half-Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker My rating: 5 of 5 stars It took me a very long time to read The Half-Drowned King, mostly because it's a long story, although it never felt that long when I was reading it. Based on a couple of sagas the Half-Drowned King starts the story of Ragnvald and his sister Svanhild that continue in two more volumes. The Half-Drowned King is historical fiction done well, rather than fantasy. The characters are credulous enough that there's an element of the latter there, with visions and a fight with a draugr. The Half-Drowned King Ragnvald is a descendant of a King, in a time where there were many Kings. His stepfather tries to have him murdered, and the story is a combination of how Ragnvald gets his inheritance and gets involved in the rise…
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