Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Return to Base Camp 2...the Romans, the Picts, Sir William Wallace, and AC/DC.
Returning to Base Camp 2 (Scotland), from Vancouver Island, it's lovely to be back in Forfar. Once the centre of the Kingdom of the Picts, this little market town in the maritime council of Angus, has been described as "intriguing", and "almost as old as time itself". There have been folks here since Neolithic times. The warmth and charm of the people, the layers of history, the hillwalking paradise of the Angus Glens, and the dramatic opportunities for sea kayaking on the nearby North Sea make this place irresistible. And, we have some personal history here too.
Back, before the "day", the Romans invaded the area, four times, between 83 AD and 306 AD. In the Early Middle Ages, the Picts gained the upper hand, but only until the 9th century, when Kenneth MacAlpin, new King of the Scots was allegedly victorious. In the 13th Century, Edward 1 of England briefly took over the battle-weary castle but surrendered it to Sir William Wallace just a few years later. And there's a lot more.
And who would have thought that the lead singer of the Australian rock group, AC/DC, the late Bon Scott, would also be born here.
Newly arrived, and still jet-lagged, a modest walk this morning was in order.
There's a lovely ten kilometre loop just out the "back door", along the Forfar Path Network. The walk traverses fields along country roads and up to the top of Balmashanner Hill. Locally known as "Bummie", the walker finds a stone tower, built in 1921 to remember those who died in the Great War. It has a stately presence.
From the tower, there are fine views over the town, and towards the still snow-covered hills of the Angus Glens. The hills gently called out, and we called back..."Soon".
There's something about this place that evokes an ever-present smile...perhaps it's just the nature of where one calls "Base Camp", wherever it is. And even if there's more than one.