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The Creaky Traveler in the North West Highlands of Scotland
by
Warren Rovetch


The Creaky Traveler in the North West Highlands of ScotlandOn a journey of discovery, Warren and Gerda Rovetch, both "creaky" themselves, explore the hidden places of Great Britain's last wilderness, the rugged and startling coast of Scotland's North West Highlands. They bring fresh perspectives to the environmental, cultural, and spiritual dimensions of their experience as their journey moves at an easy pace from village pubs and croft houses to places of untouched natural beauty and solitude. Celtic history and tradition comes alive as our hosts meander their way along. Part travelogue, part guidebook, but all charm and wit, this book transports us to another culture where we have much to learn.

While this is a book of interest to all readers, it offers something special for the Creaky Traveler who is "mobile but not agile." With over 25 trips to Europe behind them, the Rovetches have mastered essential planning and navigation skills for successful and affordable independent travel. They detail web, print, and human information sources; the "character study" method they have devised for choosing routes, stopping points, and places to stay; the art of dealing with airlines in matters ranging from age-related seating to surviving treks to and from planes; the best rental car models; and, above all, pacing that serves body and soul.

Join them as they stay in charming, small guesthouses and hotels whose proprietor-chefs purvey fresh, clean, and lively dishes and equally lively dinner conversation. Participate in a three-day ceildh (kay-lee), a celebration of traditional music, song, poetry, and dance. Take a white-knuckle ride on the "wee mad road" past Badnaban Bay and into Lochinver. Learn the practical and imaginative approaches that make Creaky Traveling a manageable, adventurous, and rewarding occupation.

Excerpt from the book

We headed north past Cul Beag and Cul Mor on what the locals refer to affectionately as the “wee mad road.” The Rough Guide describes this single track adventure as “unremittingly spectacular, threading its way through a tumultuous landscape of secret valleys, moorland, and bare rock.” G says that description is a little high on the hyperbole but not far off the mark. I have to take her word for it because my eyes were fixed most carefully on the road. I was hugging the right edge around the curving base of a steep hill because a few feet over from the left side of the car there was an abrupt drop into the deep waters of Lochan Eisg-brachaidh. This sort of situation does so concentrate the mind. I found another disarming characteristic of  “wee mad road” was steep grades here and there that directed the car bonnet (hood) toward heaven, leaving me without a prayer of seeing ahead.

An article from the author

THE CREAKY TRAVELER
Warren Rovetch 570 Highland Avenue Boulder, Colorado 80302

303-440-0057 Fax: 303-440-9416 E-mail: warrenrovetch@msn.com

The Non-Madonna Highlands -- Reflections of The Creaky Traveler
by Warren Rovetch, author of "The Creaky Traveler in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland", use is restricted to the Electric Scotland website unless permission is requested and granted for other use by the author.

Some tourist authority or other had the brilliant idea of having a special tartan woven for Madonna for her contributions to tourism in the Highlands. Why not one for Guy Richie as well? After all if it hadn’t been for Guy, they never would have had their much-publicized wedding bash at Skibo Castle (L700 per night for two, meals extra) which has had couples (married or not) streaming there ever since seeking a romance. (Does the Guy and Madonna bedroom rent at a premium or has it become a museum? How about a Madonna Coat of Arms, crossed legs on a field of heather?)

Do Scots have such a low opinion of Americans (even though there are a lot more Scots in America than in the Highlands) that they think tartans and the whisky trail -- with haggis, the Loch Ness monster and a round of golf thrown in -- is what it takes to draw tourists from across the Atlantic? You guys need to start thinking about those of us who are travelers, not tourists. We savor experiences and give a by to fads and doodads.

The memories my wife and I share are of a Non-Madonna Highlands -- Loch Maree, Loch Gairloch and a slow four-week meander 65 miles (as the crow flies) up the undulating Atlantic coast to Loch Eriboll, all the time Scottish music playing on the car tape. Two years on we still regularly mine our rich memories with great pleasure.

  • Loch Maree, seeing it as Queen Victoria did, "grand, wild, savage, but most beautiful."

  • North Eradale, sitting in the garden of Little Lodge, a converted croft house, peaks of the Torridons to the south, the Atlantic to the west, after a light rain, a perfect double rainbow arching above us and touching down at both ends.

  • Loch Ewe, point, counterpoint, white new-borne lambs set against a green field running down to the blue-gray loch, waters once black with convoys readying for their World War II run to Murmansk, and just beyond the bucolic field of lambs, a simple stone memorial, "In Memory of Our Shipmates.

  • Calling The Ceilidh Place in Ullapool a hotel is rather like calling The Queen Elizabeth a boat. It was Feis Rois time and in every corner there was music -- flutes and fiddles and harps and pipes – traditional music, some in original form, much of it contemporary, and everyone having a grand time.

  • The Coigach Peninsula, five miles wide and twelve miles long, spread out over a rocky windswept slope of hills with the Summer Isles silhouetted against the Hebrides in the distance. The public library rolls in on Wednesdays and the bank on Fridays. Nothing matches the morning mist burning off the islands and the opalescent, shimmering evening light.

  • Just outside of Lochinver, twenty-nine children ages five to sixteen, members of the Assynt Toad Patrol, working fearlessly from sunset to dark many a spring night, saving the lives of thousands of newly awake toads crossing the B869 to spawn in lily covered Lochan Ordain.

  • Out from Scourie, Handa Island, its rocky ledges creating the perfect sea bird high rise. And bordering Loch Hope, following the swaying rear end of a shaggy Highland cow as she and her triplet calves wandered ever so slowly down the narrow single track road.

There were few discordant notes to jar our senses. No billboard, neon signs, or drive-ins. No slums, no junk cars. What we found in the northern communities along the Atlantic seaboard of the Highlands was a lower key, environmentally and culturally sympathetic lifestyle that captivated us. We recommend it to one and all.

Purchase "The Creaky Traveler in the North West Highlands of Scotland" here!


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