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 TRAVELERWarren Rovetch 570 Highland Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80302
303-440-0057 Fax: 303-440-9416
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
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"