Trekking to the Wallace Statue on Bemersyde Hill

February 10, 2016 by Keith Savage
The Wallace Statue on Bemersyde Hill

The Scottish Borders are rife with so many antiquarian treasures that even H.P. Lovecraft would struggle to believe it’s true. But the heart of the Borders is no fiction, for among the bends of the River Tweed you’ll find ruined abbeys, stout tower houses, a wondrous manse, and a singular view. You may also find a peculiar monument tucked away in a strip of woods along Bemersyde Hill: The William Wallace Statue.

The era of Romanticism led to many interesting works across Scotland, from the follies atop Calton Hill in Edinburgh to Ossian’s Hall in the Hermitage outside Dunkeld, to this very statue overlooking the Tweed and the Eildon Hills. Read more...

Eating Around Appin

February 3, 2016 by Keith Savage
The view across Loch Linnhe from Port Appin

Last spring I spent a week in Appin along the shores of Loch Linnhe at the Ecopods. This beautiful part of the west highlands lies wedged between Fort William and Oban, straddling Argyll and Lochaber, and makes an excellent base from which to hike, explore, and relax. One of the great things about this trip was that I had companions! Sarah joined me, as did our friends from Melbourne, Michael and Katherine, and this was particularly nice because this part of Scotland can feel pretty out there. Whenever I travel with others, inevitably I wind up eating out at restaurants more often. Since there aren’t that many options in this region I thought it would be useful to provide an overview so you know what to expect when you visit Appin. Because you should — it’s gorgeous and a little off the tourist path. Read more...

State of the Savage: January 2016

January 27, 2016 by Keith Savage
Weapons of Scottish Wars

Last month marked six years of Traveling Savage. Six years! I wrote my first post here on December 13, 2009, almost a year from the date I intended to leave my corporate job. It was a cringe-worthy, rambling manifesto that began a year of philosophical writings on travel intended more to keep me motivated than to satisfy my readers — I had no readers! I wrote in the evenings after work as a test to see if I could stick with a blog, and if I couldn’t then perhaps I didn’t believe enough in the idea. But I did stick with it, and as my departure date approached my pragmatic and soul-blasted selves tangled in an exhausting cage match of fear, anxiety, hope, and excitement. I was leaping into…into what? Read more...

Trackpacking: All Them Witches

January 20, 2016 by Keith Savage
All Them Witches

In the 1968 horror film Rosemary’s Baby, Mia Farrow is destined to give birth to the Antichrist. A coterie of creepy players prepare her to carry the spawn of Satan, though the knowledge is kept from her, and only through the help of her friend Hutch does she begin to suspect her kindly old neighbors might be sinister witches. The key that unleashes Rosemary’s tide of isolated paranoia and fear? A book on witchcraft titled All of Them Witches.

The name conjures shadowy rituals, gothic mysticism, and the suggestion of deeper, forgotten powers. It’s a fantastic name for a book but it might be an even better band name. Read more...

A Brief Stop at Ben Nevis Distillery

January 13, 2016 by Keith Savage
Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William, Scotland

Given the number of streams pouring off the bens and munros of Scotland’s west highlands, it’s shocking to encounter such a dearth of distilleries here. In fact, you will find only one between Talisker on the Isle of Skye and Oban distillery in the town of the same name. It’s in that wide swath of the western highlands called Lochaber one will find unassuming Ben Nevis Distillery. The distillery sits at the foot of — you guessed it — Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest point, and provides a decent reason to visit Fort William.

I would venture that Ben Nevis distillery is not on many radars these days… Read more...