Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sharron in Tarbert and with Sheep...oh and Robert the Bruce!

After Kilmartin, I felt a bit sleepy but since I was in the front seat of the car I felt that it was my responsiblity to stay awake with I fell asleep...of course......Ma woke me saying, “Sharron, look!” I turned and there in the middle of green, GREEN, ( I use two greens because... it was really green) field and a bunch of white and black sheep was a circle of about 12 standing mouth just dropped open and I stared....I mean, they were in the middle of someones’ cow one but me really giving them a second look.
I got very excited.
What is it with people and the stones and witchery and heeland magic?
We sooo want it to be true.
Don’t we?
So, here we are in Tarbert at a pink hotel......when two ‘bear’ type males walked into the dining room during dinner and winked at me...I knew it was a gay friendly hotel....PINK...ah! It is very nice and homey and overlooks the bay....
Whenever we get somewhere I always think that I can’t like a place better than the last but I am always proven wrong.
I love this little town.

It also contains Tarbert Castle, home of....ready for it?....Robert the all can pretend you know that from a history lesson or a fancy book....but I know it is because most of you watched Braveheart...with that anti-semetic Mel Gibson....I still love that movie though he is an ass....Mel not Bruce....remember Robert the Bruce was portrayed by that dishy Angus Macfayden....I don’t know why his career never took off...he did the Braveheart movie and then then next thing I saw him in was the ‘Ya Ya Sisterhood’ movie with Sandra Bullock...who I love...judge me as you will.....I wonder if Angus thinks that Gerrard Bulter got his career........maybe there was only room for one scottish dude....Gerrard is scottish, right?....or is he Irish?
Did you know that the Scottish descended from the Irish in about 300AD???
Oh ya...Tarbert Castle...very stands over the town like a sentinel....a bit of a ruin but it has a proud flag of Scotland flying over it...and I COULD not wait to get up there to it!
Castles and Standing Stones....
Now, I haven’t mentioned that my hubby George has been sick since we arrived...he got the plerusy from the hacking dude who sat beside me on the plane.....we sat down and the dude started to cough and I turned to George with a pursed mouth.
But I haven’t got sick yet.....just poor Georgie....he seemed to be getting better but this morn he woke in our pink hotel with a look of sick.
I was so sad for him....I want him to feel better....I also want to climb around the hills....George was hacking and saying “No...I am fine...really...hack ...hack...cough... cough!”
I thought that since we don’t have to drive anywhere today it was the perfect day to have him lay in and sleep .... so I collected my morning duties from he and the ladies at breakfast....the sausage was square and flat....yum.....I was to go to the chemist...the chemist....and get cold stuff for Georgie and kleenex for Auntie Pat.... she’s not sick...just always prepared!....and the Cut n’ Crew to see if I could get Auntie Pat an appointment for a wash and style...many jobs....but I happily did them all!
And while I walked through the town with my paper sack of stuff I stared at the castle up on the hill....the city is surrounded by hills....mountains....the Scottish call them bens.....I wanted to see that damned castle....I asked George if he minded if I he lay in bed looking like death....handsome...but still death warmed.....he said I should I put on my new hiking shoes...that I am convinced I got too big.... my fleecy and my hat, shoved my ipod and my camera in my pockets....oh and I always take my passport just in case I need to be indentified.....somber but practical....that is me....and I walked to the info centre to find
The lady with the spiky hair.....burgandy....she was very nice....not like the chemist.....anyhow....I asked her how to get to the castle and she directed me to the staircase just past the dental surgeon’s office. And I use the word stairs loosely. The were rocks arranged together that ascend....but it has that old-timey should have been my first clue as to the journey that would follow.
I made it up to the ruins of the castle....

....whether it is a ruin or is always impressive.....the historians think that it was built by Alexander I or II during the 300’s.....the effing 300’s...and then The Bruce put on extentions...he renovated...I just laughed outloud... I am pathetic....but I wandered around the castle, which is really just the tower that is left over of the castle keep, to take a pic from every angle as I wanted to really show George my adventures he calls them.... I just think it....I found myself down the hill in the braken...which I discovered today are really just like thick brown ferns....I always pictured braken as a thorny plant.....and as I put up my camera to take this picture.
....I heard a rumble behind me...I turned very see a freakin’ dear run stopped and looked at me...and I tried very slowly to raise my camera but it mistook my camera for a gun or some such thing and took off.
So.... I decided that I wanted to hike the bens...I was on my own and I was gonna do it anyway... the spiky haired lady told me at the shop the only thing that I had to fear in the woods was the sheep.....alrightie!
So, I looked at the flyer she gave me and I planned a short 45 minute walk.....but the adventurer in me....said “Come oh Sharron!!! Go for the 2 hours......”. I wish that was true... I really just didn’t read the flyer well enough and took a wrong let me mention right here.... I didn’t see another living soul on the whole hike.... and I hike it was... right till the bitter end... and I was out for about 2 1/2 hours....REALLY!!!
First of was all uphill at the beginning...

.....I know... no surprise.. but what we term as a hike uphill in Hamilton Ontario and what the Scottish folk term as a hike uphill....two very different things... let me tell you, now.
But I was brave....I was a warrior.
I had to keep pretending to look at crap from my pocket so that I could stop and take a breath the first 15 minutes....maybe, Sharron, a look at the map may have been a help....but I kept taking pictures of the view...that would only really appeal to me, I think.
The path in the beginning was all grass and.....bogs.... in my new too big shoes... though comfy....
But I was jumping over puddles and feeling all forest-ie.
Very soon I felt a little closed in...

...... the big view stopped and I was into the thick of the forest....I looked at the clock on my ipod after about 25 am pretty good with directions....north, west and all that .....that makes me all cocky with maps....I would have known if the path had turned itself back in the direction of the castle and pull out the map.....hmm.....I see a marker and it has a white top....I see that means I am on the two hour walk path.....probably.... it go a bit sketchy.....hmmm....TWO Hours... into the highlands... alone......sounds very brave... and warrior like....
I will do it....of course, according to the ampe I might be on a 5 hour walk....but I will figure that out after the first hour....right?
So, as I continue further and further into the mountains all the inner scary movie voice start having a dialogue....
‘SSSHHHAAARRROOONNNN.....maybe you are going the wrong way.... and you haven’t seen anyone since you began......’ is October.....not too many people on vacation.
‘SHHHAARRROONNN....what if someone is following you on this path..’
Shut it!!!
‘SSSSHHHHAAARRROOONNNN.....what if you fall and break one of your weak ankles?...’

Why did you have to bring that up??? Not only are you the scary voice but you are bad for my self confidence.
‘ afraid...’
I am a grown woman who has gone on MANY hikes and been away from home....I have my puffer.... I have money and my passport in case, again, my body need to be identified .....SHUT UP........I am strong...and I have no water or food.....THERE ARE 100 STREAMS TO DRINK FROM cell phone...not that you would get a signal.....PLEASE......HEY I HAVE MY IPOD......that is good as a physical instrument to defend yourself with....what are you gonna do ..... make them listen to Avril Lavigne?
That voice is so witty.
I pulled out my ipod...charged, thank god.
And I put in an ear phone....just one the right one in case I am going to be attacked.......and push play......Girlicious’ hit ‘Like Me’ starts blaring....suck it scary voice....and my scary voice is lulled by the slutty girls singing.
I find myself happy again....and I have been walking for 40 minutes....and it seems that the path is turning slowly back... that makes me feel better....but it is soon as I start going down....I feel happy and sad....because I know it is going back up.
Somewhere in this time period I step in a bog.....a real bog....the path has been wet and my shoes are waterproof to a point....the point is a bog.
I am not wet up to both of my knees.....but perversely this makes me feel very woodsy and adventurous....and wet.
By the time I reach an hour and fifteen minutes....I start to worry....I don’t know where I am....I feel that the path should have really turned....the sky is stormy and I pull the map and in the bottome corner it comments on how the weather turns fast in the take the appropriate supplies....and read the map, ass.
I see where I might be if I am on the 2 hour walk.....and where I would be if I am on the five hour walk.
I try to picture the phone call to George.....”Can you come pick me up in Clacken....”
Isn’t that a great name.....just about that time I come out at a place where it is clear to me that I am on the right walk....thank god....and I see it turn into a hard dirt path...eff you bogs...and there is a very old foundation for a house of some kind....

there is nothing about it on the map....but it is very cool....I use the word cool because there are no exact words for how it really is... I feel excited and like I discovered something.....and like it was worth it to be a bit I track off the path and walk through the braken into the building....

and the sun comes shit.
I feel very satisfied.
I start to walk up the path as ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ begins to play.
The ipod has been a lovely companion....and I have also been talking to my dearly departed dog Otto who would have LOVED this walk.... to keep my spirits up.
It is all uphill but I am so thrilled that I know where I am and that I am on the right walk....and I have been very brave...and discovered and ancient foundation.....I still haven’t seen another person....AT ALL.....what if I travelled back in Brigadoon?!!
That would be awesome and scary.
So, I continue back uphill for 20 minuted till I come to an unclear fork in the road ....and it is still so hilly that I can’t see the town either way.....I make a judgement call .... and as I walk for 15 minutes till I come to a rise.....inside I am chanting in rythmn with every step...... “Please be Tarbert....please be Tarbert....”
I am a bit filled with the worry because the sky has gotten black again.....what if it rains and I have to go under a tree?? What if George thinks I am dead??
Oh here is a thing....what if I think good thoughts???!!!
As I come to a rise I peer over I see.......

.....and I yell so loud, I scare myself and trip over a rock and almost break my right weak ankle.
I am bounding down the side of the mountain with such a feeling of self satisfaction!!!
I am super awesome......
When I get near the castle the first human I see is this effing huge black and white dog....he sees me and starts to bound for me..... and someone screams...... “SHEAS!”....which I have since found out mens sit...or gaelic....and I think a monster scottich dude is coming over the it turns out being the tinest wizened man I have ever seen....on a cellphone....and he hooks up his dog and turns a suspicious eye my way as he passes....but eff him....even he can’t spoil my high!!!!
I made it.....
Who cares if I got chased off the grounds by some over friendly black sheep....


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