Thursday, 25 May 2017

Bonspeil And The Lake Of Monteith.

        Managed out on the bike on Wednesday, not quite the weather they promised, but nice never the less. Not much wind, so that was good for an old wrinkly like me, quite warm but humid with clouds. Visited another spot I hadn't visited for a number of years, the Lake of Menteith. I have fond memories of the bitter cold winter of 1962-63, as that year the Lake of Menteith froze over, and we went ice skating on the lake, it was a wonderful expanse of ice on which to skate freely. There is an island in the lake, Inchmahome, on which there is an ancient ruined priory. Normally you have to pay somebody to take you to the island on a boat, but here we were skating out and exploring the island. The Lake was also home to the Bonspeil, (Grand Match), a curling tournament between the north and the south, held every 5 years on a frozen loch, though there hasn't been many frozen lochs of late.
       It was a pleasant run out the Aberfoyle road to the Roy Roy Hotel, then instead of turning left to Aberfoyle, I turned right and started up the Braes of Greenock, then turned off to the Port of Menteith and stopped at the hotel which is beautifully situated on the lake side, there sipped on green tea and sampled their scones with butter and jam, while looking out at the Lake. All very idyllic.
 Outside the Port of Menteith Hotel.

      Set off towards Arnprior, my timing was all wrong, as I turned into the Stirling-Erskine Bridge road, a main commuter route, it was peak travel time, so that stretch of road I was accompanied by an endless cavalcade of vehicles screaming past at 60-70mph, all eager, I imagine, to get home to dinner and tele. Despite, the modern madness of commuting, it was a wonderful run down memory lane. 
Lakeside, you can see two guys in their boat drifting with their fishing lines. 

      Just as a matter of interest, Stirling is where Andrew Hardie and John Baird were hanged then beheaded, (just to make sure) then buried in an unmarked grave outside the walls of Stirling Castle, for their part in the 1820 Insurrection. Their bodies were eventually recovered and give a burial and monument in Sighthill Cemetery, in the north of Glasgow.   
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  1. Contemplated through your eyes, how not to love Scotland?
    Thank you for those refreshing views that you give us, here we have exceeded 30ºC.

    1. Our "heat waves" tend to last a few days, today and over the weekend it is forecast to be in the low to mid twenties, but for how long?

  2. To the martyrs of 1820

    Riots for food,
    Child labour
    Soaring prices
    Workers trying to live
    On a shilling a week

    Open and secret meetings
    Reform pamphlets
    United Scotsmen and Glasgow green drills

    Hardie and Baird led the fight
    For reform
    With a march organised on the
    great Carron Ironworks

    But soldiers from Stirling
    Cut off the reformers
    And a great bloody battle
    Then did ensue

    In the square off Broad street
    Under the walls of the Castle
    Hardie and Baird paid with their lives

    Hung drawn and quartered by the authorities
    On ‘evidence’ submitted by government spies
    But not before defiantly demanding
    their countrymen’s’ rights.

    Thrown in a shallow grave near Stirling
    Lying there for a long twenty seven years
    disinterred by Glasgow radicals after
    they found you
    then buried in Sighthill with the respect
    you deserved

    Peter Burton