Sunday, August 31, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 8 - From Arran to Kyle of Lochalsh.

Once again we have been blessed by good weather - except for the latter part of the afternoon when rain obscured the wonderful highland vistas.

We drove over 23 miles to catch our ferry, Lochranza to Claonaig on the Mull Of Kintyre. On a car next to us in the ferry queue I saw my first 'Better Together' sticker. I commented on this to the driver who was from Edinburgh holidaying with a friend from Fife. OTOH Oban where we did some grocery shopping was awash with a sea of Yes notices. Many were on lampposts which also had No notices too. But Oban was overwhelmingly Yes. However I am sticking to my opinion that empty vessels make the most noise. The status quo is No and those in favour of the Union do not need to shout.

One such noise is the matter of the public display of Gaelic on road signs. Here we have a country with an estimated 70,000 or so speakers of Gaelic, none of whom are unable to read English. The total population of Scotland is around 5,000,000. It is IMO folly and hazardous to put Gaelic place names above the English equivalent on road signs. This is a recent nationalist innovation. It certainly does not help the major industry of these parts, tourism. Finally on this, I note the two most important signs are only in English, 'SLOW' painted on the road before a bend and the ubiquitous 'Passing Place' so essential on narrow, single track byroads.

We lunched by the roadside on the coast north of Oban then stopped again ay Spean Bridge for me to pay my respects at the Commando Memorial. This was the training area for the elite WW2 men. I will put photos on Facebook ASAP but unfortunately have mislaid my cable to upload the pics.

The memorial is so impressive, even more so as a lone piper was playing a lament."United we conquer" is inscribed around the top of the stone plinth, while the original plaque on the stone plinth reads: "In memory of the officers and men of the commandos who died in the Second World War 1939–1945. This country was their training ground." 1700 were killed. 8 won the Victoria Cross. There is a large plaque quoting Churchill, 'Their glory will never fade.'

Our day ended with dinner where we are staying, the home of the MacDonalds, minister and GP.

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