January 2012

A Disheveled Traveling Savage Hiking the Hills Around Dunkeld

In over two years of writing on Traveling Savage, I have yet to “miss” a post. By that I mean I’ve stuck to my schedule of writing and haven’t taken a post – or a week of posts – off since the founding of this site in December 2009. I use an editorial calendar these days instead of devising a topic in the moment, and I moved from my original two posts per week to three posts per week after I left my old job.

So what, you say? Consistency is a hallmark of blogging. Well, that’s all about to change. I’m taking a vacation. A small one. Like for the rest of this week while I’m at Disney World.

Look, I’m not just going to leave you hanging in the wind like that, staring at Traveling Savage wishing there was new and juicy information about Scotland… Read more...

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Thick beams of spring sun saturate the lawn around crumbling Dunkeld Cathedral. Moss inches up the trunks of towering oaks, and a herd of precious yellow-capped flowers climb up the moss. I lay belly down upon the earth and bring in the scene through my camera while dark age warriors and monks mirror me beneath the ground. The aroma of the fecund turf and the whispering of the River Tay as it sidles past hold me immobile. The warmth of the sun is a hug from the unblemished March sky. Down river, a man in hip waders outlines the flicking of his wrist with a filament of fly-fishing line. The fly careens onto the river’s surface where the movements of fish leave geometric whorls. There is space between the sounds and smells and sensations that elevates them all from footnotes to constellations. Read more...

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Whiskies Resting at Aberlour Distillery

Welcome to the final installment of the beginner’s guide to single malt whisky. The first part of this guide introduced the concept of whisky and touched on the members of the whisky family tree before narrowing our focus to single malt Scotch whisky. The second part pulled back the curtain on the process of making single malt Scotch whisky and discussed the various parts of the process that impart flavor to the finished product. Part three rolled open the map and surveyed Scotland’s whisky regions before changing gears and providing a cheat sheet for reading the often-complicated whisky labels.

This last chapter covers the process – or should I say a process – for enjoying single malt whisky. Let’s get this caveat out of the way now: There is no single, correct way to enjoy… Read more...

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The Red Kite House on the Rosehaugh Estate Outside Avoch, Black Isle, Scotland

A travel around Scotland lends itself well to a circular route that has Edinburgh and Glasgow at its southernmost points and Inverness at its northernmost point. It was a route I adhered to (barring the occasional visit to Orkney) on my first five trips to Scotland, so when I planned my sixth trip last spring I wanted (and needed) to step off that well-worn path.

I decided to skip Inverness and head for Black Isle instead. Black Isle is full of charming, small coastal towns as if it were the northern cousin of Fife’s East Neuk. After much perusal of our accommodation options, Sarah and I decided to stay just outside Avoch (pronounced Och, rhymes with loch) on the Rosehaugh Estate, thanks to our friends at HomeAway. Read more...

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Eight figures guard the corners of Glasgow’s Kelvin Way Bridge. I pass by Navigation and Shipbuilding, and look across the street to Commerce and Industry and Philosophy and Inspiration, before gazing up at Peace and War. The young autumn’s sunlight clangs off the weathered bronze of a woman with spinning wheel and sleeping babe. The arresting image of a bandaged man, mouth agape, staring into the distance figures to be War. His arms were blown off into the river below when a German bomb fell here in 1941. For years the haunting statue peered armless into the Glaswegian mists.

It took only 15 years for these trophies of WWI to be hammered in WWII. What will remain of them, of Glasgow, in 1,000 years?

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