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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Maalie in Patagonia

Maalie is on his way to Patagonia, as a member of a group with The Travelling Naturalist. The itinerary includes all the places indicated on the map below, including some time boating in Beagle Channel, on the trail of Charles Darwin. He looks forward to catching up with you all about 11th November.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Black Isle

"Attention all shipping, especially in sea areas Viking, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne..."

Who has not heard words like these on countless shipping forecasts? Unlike many sea areas, Cromarty is actually a place, a village at the Eastern tip of the Black Isle, which is a peninsula of land sandwiched between the Cromarty Firth to the north and the Moray Firth to South (see map below).

One of the objectives of my camping trip to Scotland was to catch up with Graeme, an old university colleague and Maalie Courtier, and his partner Marianne who live in their converted cow shed near Cromarty.

My route to the Black Isle took me past Loch Ness, but I saw no monster this time

Haute cuisine en route...

The Black Isle (actually a peninsula) is reached by crossing the Moray Firth north of Inverness

Reunion with Graeme and Marianne


Looking across the mouth of the Cromarty Firth

Perhaps the most famous son of Cromarty is Hugh Miller (1802-1856) who name is honoured in the village's welcome sign (see photo above). His fossil collection of over 6,000 specimens became the founding core of what is today's Scottish national collection in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. His work stimulated ideas of evolution long before Darwin published his Origin of Species. Hugh Miller was an evangelical Christian. Some attribute his suicide to an inability to reconcile the growing evidence for evolution with his belief in the Book of Genesis.

The Black Isle: looking down towards Eathie Haven where Hugh Miller found many important fossils including Pterichthys milleri - a weird and wonderful ancient species of 'winged' fish.

Cromarty village at dusk

My route south passed through Arbroath where I spent the night camping near the harbour. I have already written a post about Arbroath.

Map of the Black Isle

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Maalie in Scotland

After a rather hectic first year of retirement, Maalie feels he needs a break. Accordingly, he is escaping to go camping in Scotland for a few days. See you all next week.