Tuesday Travels. . . Inverness

I was reliving memories of my childhood visits to Inverness when we came across Inverness station.  My elder sister was in charge of me when we both traveled by train to our uncle’s croft at Boultach in Caithness.  Dad would drop us at Perth where we caught the train to Inverness.  We had to change trains at Inverness and a vivid memory of mine is that we couldn’t find our tickets for the ongoing journey.  A bit of a panic but we did find them thank goodness.

You can see from the announcement boards that there are four pages for the 17.54 journey from Inverness to Wick.  We would get off the train at Helmsdale and then on the bus to Latheronwheel.  Our uncle would be waiting with the tractor at the End of the Smerral Road and my sister and I would sit on the tractor wheel guards for the trip up the road to the croft at Boultach.

You can stay in the station building at Helmsdale as the property was completely refurbished after being out of use for 20 years.

Inverness is a beautiful city and my husband and I spent a couple of nights there before we were to continue on our journey south.  We spent some time exploring the city centre and visited the castle where there were some beautiful views of the river Ness.

We stopped at the Castle Tavern for lunch and the meal we had was absolutely delicious.

Neeps, potato, haggis and Drambuie cream sauce accompanied by oatcakes.  Yum!

Tuesday Travels. . .Whaligoe Steps, Caithness

On the map the Whaligoe Steps can be found at  “The Haven”.

When we returned to mainland Scotland after our trip to Shetland we stayed with my cousins at Burrigle, Forse.  We were fortunate to have our cousins show us around the lesser known parts of the countryside and the Whaligoe Steps were something I wanted to see.  I had not visited them when I used to go as a child on holiday to Burrigle so was happy to get the opportunity to visit them and learn a bit about their history.The steep steps down to the harbour are daunting at first sight but it is not too difficult a climb and well worth the effort. You can click on each photo to see more detail.

It is hard to believe that the women used to carry the baskets of herring back up the 300 steps to the top of the cliff.

The history of the Whaligoe Steps is fully described on this site at Undiscovered Scotland.

This is part of undiscovered Scotland that you definitely should see.

Fixing broken links in the DNA post

I was checking the blog posts that had been viewed recently and part of that is looking at what links had been clicked.  I discovered that there were a couple of broken links on a post that I did a few years ago so I have fixed the links and here is the repaired post. This post was first published in May 2013

The ScotsI loved the cover of this book as the genetic code is set to resemble the Forth Railway Bridge, very clever.  My reason for including this book is the fact that I have been reading about a particular project taking place to trace the genetic code of Scottish folk.

One of the columns on my Tweetdeck is for Caithness, so I catch up on the latest from there.  Yesterday there was a tweet asking for people to participate in Project DNA for Caithness and Sutherland.  I clicked on the link as my dad came from Caithness.
Project DNATo participate in the project you need to visit Family Tree DNA : History unearthed daily.  Of course I should have realised that nothing comes without a cost.  To be tested for this project it has to be a male member with the family surname and the cost can vary from $49 to $339!  I don’t think I would be that keen to find out links from the past but no doubt there are those who are.

The Sutherland DNA Surname Research Project provides further information on the surname and some interesting links to other sites and at no cost!  There, that’s my Scottish traits coming to the fore again!

To put it all into perspective you need to read this article.guardian articleAn excerpt from the article:

Perhaps it is harmless fun to speculate beyond the facts, armed with exciting new DNA technologies? Not really. It costs unwitting customers of the genetic ancestry industry a substantial amount of hard-earned cash, and it disillusions them about science and scientists when they learn the truth, which is almost always disappointing relative to the story they were told.

Exaggerated claims from the consumer ancestry industry can also undermine the results of serious research about human genetic history, which is cautiously and slowly building up a clearer picture of the human past for all of us.

All the links are now working again.

Memories jolted by desktop photo

The desktop on my home computer has a flow of photos which have been loaded onto the computer over the years.  Yesterday one of the photos that came on the screen was this one.

It is an aerial photo of the village where I grew up.  The village is Ladybank, Fife and the photo was probably taken sometime in the 1960s.  Seeing the photo on the desktop rekindled so many memories.

I am heading back to Scotland for a visit in August and we will be visiting the Hebrides and Shetland plus a trip down from Caithness to Glasgow.

Although I have lived in Australia since I was sixteen I have so many wonderful memories of my early years in Scotland.

I have also just discovered a website Robin A Crawford – writer.  It is a blog that has lots of interesting posts about the culture and natural heritage of Scotland.  Many of his posts are about peat and peat culture and that also rekindled memories of going peat cutting on my uncle’s croft in Boultach, Caithness.

So many happy memories

A while back I posted about a book I had borrowed from the library.  The book was Hebrides by Peter May you can find the post here.This is a photograph from the book.  The reason I show the photograph is that it rekindled so many happy childhood memories.

My dad was born at Boultach on a croft in the highlands of Scotland in the county of Caithness.  When we visited, the croft was farmed by my dad’s brother, my Uncle Donnie.  In the school holidays my brother and sisters and I used to go to Caithness to spend time with our cousins.  My dad’s other brother, my Uncle Johnie, had a croft at Burrigle, Forse.  We had such a wonderful time with our cousins who just happened to be about the same ages as we were.

My family lived in Fife in a village and the experiences we had when we were on holiday were exactly that – so different to our life at home.  We had a whale of a time and this photo brought back those memories.

When we first went to Boultach there was no electricity or piped water.  We enjoyed the novelty of getting water from the well and reading by the tilley lamps. The freedom we had to play where we wanted and the wonderful baking that our aunts produced was something else again.

To get to the photo . . . . This is a van that is used in Shetland to take foodstuffs to the outlying cottages which is exactly what used to happen at Boultach and Burrigle.  Our uncles used to give us spending money and as kids we would eagerly mount the steps of the van to spend the money on sweeties.

I have posted before about cousins and memories and you can find it on the link.  I have also posted previously about the van deliveries.

Amazing how one photo generates so many memories.

Great Tapestry of Scotland 93-123

The incredible Great Tapestry of Scotland. Kate Davies has blogged about all of the panels. I have reblogged 93-123 because it has Newhaven fisherfolk and a Caithness School. My mum’s family were fisherfolk and my dad went to a Caithness School.