Monday, March 31, 2008


I’ve been a Captain, and a Chairman, and a President, and a host of those other titles briefly bestowed by teams and organizations in small towns on those who fail to attend the nominating meeting. But I’ve never before been a Master. This isn’t a term in common use at schools over here. It is a title of mystical power, implying adulation, deep respect, even awe. Master of the Universe. Zen Master. Master Plumber. Mixmaster. Yes, tomorrow evening I stride to the podium, bow politely to the crowded hall, modestly accept the waves of applause, and take up my index cards as “Bee Master” of the annual Middle School spelling bee. My job is to enunciate clearly, in pure New Englandish, each word at issue, then offer a given short sentence using that word, all while conveying a calming, friendly, yet neutral, attitude. The kids and the judges will take it from there.

I will report Wednesday on the event. I think being Bee Master perfectly suits my talents. I can read, I can talk, and I’m always eager to gain distinction while avoiding responsibility. Masterful.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Semi-naked shuffling

A little run this morning, and despite a bit of rain and some wind, it was warm enough (about 40°F/4°C) to strip down to these cheery items. The first bare-legged shuffling since, probably, early November, and to me as sure a sign of Spring on the way as pitchers and catchers. There’s an old hikers’ saw that a pound on your feet is the equivalent of five pounds on your back. I’ve never been too sure of that, but I'll tell you this: five ounces on your legs has precisely that effect on a runner. So I’m free at last, if only intermittently until the trees bud and the grass turns green. (The fact that local drivers and walkers seem to feel they need to shelter their eyes and distract their children’s attention as I wobble fluorescently on by, groaning and scratching myself, with my knobbly knees clicking arrhythmically, is their problem.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Onward and upward

Well ... not quite this upward, but onward for sure.

Roger has given me great feedback on my original route plan, so although it is essentially the same, pretty common route, there are some smart changes and clarifications. It’s a really good walk, I think, taking in some of the highlights of the Scottish hills, but one of the things I’m most looking forward to is meeting and getting to know new and interesting people. (In a way, this blog has already begun that process...I feel as if I’ve already developed a small network of wonderfully generous new friends among those of you who stop by to have a look, comment, or send an email.)

The modified route plan is an even more social one than my original, adding Saturday night at Braemar. I’m a much happier walker when I’m chatting along with someone than I am when I’m slogging away on my own, and I’m a happier camper, as it were, when the conversation can continue over supper and a nip of something warming.

Have a look, and if it looks as if we might cross paths or walk a few miles together, let me know. (The links are primarily for family and other American readers who aren’t steeped in the features of the way.)

Day 1: Inverie to camp near Sourlies Bothy, after a drink or two at The Old Forge.

Day 2: Sourlies Bothy to camp near Kinbreak Bothy, through Glen Dessary and up the path near Glendessary Lodge, along the Alt Na Faine burn. I’m really looking forward to this foray into Knoydart. I hope the weather is good. My one concern about the Challenge is navigating in open country in low visibility, something I’ve simply had little experience with.

Day 3: Kinbreak Bothy to Tomdoun Hotel. I’m shooting for a hotel this early in the walk because Day 3 is always the toughest for me, and I’ll need a comfortable tub in which to bathe in self pity. “Luxury in Wild Splendour” was irresistible.

Day 4: Tomdoun to commercial campground at Fort Augustus by way of the paths through the forest south of Loch Garry, then at Invergarry up the Great Glen Cycle Path to the Caledonian Canal/Great Glen Way. I’m actually looking forward to what others have called an unpleasant slog up the canal. I’ve never seen it, I like looking at locks...and I’ll have a loaded iPod to consult if things get desperate.

Day 5: Fort Augustus to camp at Garva Bridge over the Corrieyairack Pass. A classic crossing, and I’m interested in the history and modern reality of Wade’s road and bridges.

Day 6: Garva Bridge to hotel or commercial campsite at Kingussie by way of a stop for drinks at the Monadhliath Hotel in Laggan, then Phones, the Luibleathann Bothy, and the Milehouse of Nuide (what sort of prig could resist the Milehouse of Nuide?). This is a long-mileage day and sounds to me like partly grind and partly attractive moor walk, with a few cheery pints thrown in at brunch.

Day 7: Kingussie to camp just past the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, by way of Inshriach Forest, Feshiebridge, and Rothiemurchus Forest. A flat, easy day (if I don’t get lost in the woods), heading for tomorrow’s appointment with the Grey Man.

Day 8: Cairngorm Club Footbridge to camp just past Derry Lodge, by way of the Lairig Ghru. Hoping for a good weather forecast from Kingussie on so I don’t need to implement the Foul Weather Alternative through Glen Feshie and miss this classic Scottish walk.

Day 9: A short day from Derry Lodge to the Braemar Youth Hostel, by way of Mar Lodge, Victoria Bridge (“probably the most photographed and most often painted bridge in Scotland”), and the Tomintoul viewpoint overlooking the town. I was going to spend only a few hours in Braemar, then head up the hill to Lochhallater Lodge, but Roger suggests I wouldn’t want to miss the fun on Saturday night, and, of course, he’s right.

(Days 7-9 FWA: From Kingussie through Glen Feshie, to camp past Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy to White Bridge to Braemar if the weather makes the Lairig Ghru iffy.)

Day 10: An even shorter day than yesterday: Braemar to camp near Lochcallater Lodge, a spot and a scene I don’t want to miss.

Day 11: Lochcallater Lodge to bunkhouse at Clova, over Jock’s Road. Hoping I don’t need to implement a second FWA plan.

Day 12: Clova to camp on the sports field at Tarfside. I’m very much looking forward to the “rolling home” social aspect of these last three days.

(Days 11-12 FWA: If the weather makes Jock’s Road too daunting, Lochcallater to Shielin of Mark, by way of Glas Allt Shiel and Spittal of Glenmuick, and on to Tarfside.)

Day 13: Tarfside to Edzell, then on to camp at North Water Bridge. I’m really looking forward to wandering easily down the pretty paths and lanes over the last few days, in company with the many others who will be doing the same thing. As I wrote to Roger, for family nickname reasons, I’m interested in several locations near Edzell: “Tillydovie” (NO 557 695), “Tillytoghills” (626 719), and “Tillyarblet” (521 672). Roger, who clearly knows everything without being a know-it-all, tells me that “Tilly” is an anglicized form of the Gaelic “tulach,” meaning a small hill. So it’s likely these are simply farms or very small clusters that may not even have a sign or nameboard. But if I can figure out a way to borrow a bike at Edzell, I’m hoping to do a quick tour. Or maybe I’ll take a taxi back out from Montrose.

Day 14: North Water Bridge to St. Cyrus (celebratory Nuide dip in the North Sea?), and bus to party and camp at Montrose.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ansel Adams

Thursday evening we watched an American Experience film on PBS about Ansel Adams. Adams started hiking in the Sierra in the 1920s, and now has both a federally-designated Wilderness and a Sierra peak named after him [the linked site includes the typo “Admas.”] He is, undoubtedly, America’s most famous photographer, and he was also one of our most important environmentalists. Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film is more great work by Ric Burns, brother of the more famous but no more gifted Ken. It includes some fascinating talk about this eccentric man’s approach to photography and printing, about what photography meant to him, what he was trying to convey in his pictures, and why he and contemporaries like Edward Weston were ridiculed by the documentary photographers who came to prominence in the ’30s. Lots of biographical data, of course, lots of beautiful natural scenes, and plenty of photos to admire or criticize depending on your taste.

For many years, I was not a great fan of what by the late ’60s had become the ubiquitous Ansel Adams photos of Yosemite and other areas of great beauty. I was more interested in and impressed by those war, political, and sidewalk shooters who got up close with their 35 mm Leicas and Nikons. I gradually changed as I learned more about the art and the craft of large format photography and especially the importance and effect of printing. I began looking more closely, and it began to dawn on me that Adams wasn’t simply making pretty pictures, but was expressing something simultaneously deeply personal and overwhelmingly universal. And in doing so, he was, perhaps against his own will, performing as political an act as, say, Robert Capa ever did. Much of this, hardly original to me, is reflected in the film.

In 1985, the three of us went to Yosemite for the first time. The valley is the most stunningly impressive place I have ever seen. We eventually drove up toward Tuolumne Meadows, and camped at Tenaya Lake for a couple of wonderful days and nights near a Mennonite family who swam fully clothed in their sober 19th century-style garb. I only later discovered Adams’s 1946 photo “Lake Tenaya,” which he had obviously taken from within feet of where we’d pitched our tent. A print now hangs in our bedroom. (A Weston pepper—not the famous one—is in our kitchen.)

Amercan readers can check with their PBS station to see when Ansel Adams will be shown. I hope others might be able to make some sort of internet connection. Terrific stuff.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Boot soul

Grokking the aura of two pairs of good boots is tough. I’m still wandering around multi-shod, but today I’m leaning toward the Merrills. (Figuratively, of course. If I were physically canting over, the choice would probably be obvious.) A decision will be announced after the weekend.

Clothes horse

On our trip to Minnesota, I got a lot of wear out of a Patagonia Capilene 4 top. I bought it (on sale, and after helpful consultation with a knowledgeable Patagonia phone rep) to replace an ancient, superb, now sadly raffish (okay, ratty) Activist Fleece, the only picture of which I’ve got is from this memorable winter stroll up Mt. Willard (the easiest walk for the biggest scenic payoff in the Whites) with H in early 1999. (I’ve just noticed she’s wearing an even older Stretch Synchilla...which she’s still got, still wears, and which still looks good.)

What I liked about both these pieces is that they were great in the mountains, and also really fine day-to-day sweaters. The rep warned that Patagonia no longer makes anything that covers both of these bases as I like them covered, and the Cap 4 actually doesn’t do quite what I’d hoped. It’s lighter than the Activist, blocks less of the wind, and, as I’d feared, isn’t cut and doesn’t stretch to go over street clothes. But it works wonderfully well on its own terms as a layering piece or as an outer layer over light inners. It’s even got a cool little Napoleon pocket that my glasses fit into—a major attribute. I’m thinking of adding it to my already extensive Challenge hotel child wardrobe.

Scotland is making calls on my naturally elegant sense of style that neither France nor Italy ever has.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Those boots weren’t made for walkin’

A day or two after I wrote the post about settling on the Montrail Cirrus boots, I began to feel some pain in my feet. I realized immediately that despite all my sock-experimentation and precision lacing, these boots were not going to work for nine hours a day for two weeks. I’ll spare you a description of the ensuing rant. I’ve been buying specialty shoes for decades, mostly training flats, but hiking boots, too, and I know deep in my bones (which is where it hurts) that you never, never, never buy a new model without trying it on and using it as much as possible before purchase. Never.


A foolish consistency is certainly the hobgoblin of little minds, but the key word in Emerson’s epigram is “foolish.” And there is nothing foolish about never buying a running shoe or hiking boot you haven’t worn enough to be sure of. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.

All right. As you can tell, I’ve put all that behind me. And I did spare you the description of the ensuing rant.

Now I need a new pair of boots—boots to accommodate a high arch, the resulting high volume foot, and my orthotics. Off I went Monday to the new REI in West Hartford, and tried on a few pairs, none of which suited. But I had liked the general feel of a weird-looking pair of Keen Targhees that were a half-size too small. They didn’t have in stock the next size up, but they were able to order it for me and have it delivered (the next day!) to my house. The deal was the usual: that I could return the boots if they didn’t work out, as long as I only walked indoors with them. Fair enough.

On my way home, covering all bases, I stopped at the EMS back down I-84, and found a pair of Merrill Radius Mids I liked. I took them home on the same basis. Yesterday and today I’ve been wearing both pairs around the house. (As I write, I’ve got a Merrill on my left foot and a Keen on my right.)

They both feel good, and I think either would be okay. They are both priced at $120, but I can get the Keens for 20% off as part of a seasonal REI membership sale. The Keens are also lighter (about a pound each, as opposed to about a pound and a half). They use eVent rather than GoreTex. The Merrills are more traditional looking (don’t care), and give the impression of being sturdier, no small consideration. Right now, I’m leaning Keenward, but I haven’t decided for sure.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring: just stinging hands, mud, and bugs

Gloom and rain outside today. A wet morning walk. Official Spring is imminent, which is nice, but in New England, it doesn’t always mean much. When I was a kid, high school baseball season began around this time of year, and we always had to start our practices in the gym, hitting tennis balls, because snow lingered. Once the snow melted, we still couldn’t play outside, because the ground was muddy. Games started in April, often still cold and windy, and I have painful memories of sitting huddled on the bench wrapped in jacket and gloves, waiting for my turn to bat, or shivering in the field wearing a heavy turtleneck under what in those days was a woolen uniform shirt. (In very cold weather, when you hit a baseball any way but perfectly, a wooden bat vibrates in such a way as to give your hands a nasty stinging sensation. We say the bat has bees in its handle, and we used to make the scrubs sit on them to try to keep them warm. Does this happen in cricket? Or is Britain too balmy?)

In northern New England, there’s still plenty of snow in the mountains, but by Challenge time, when Spring is reliably lovely in Connecticut, most of it will be gone, and the White and Green Mountains will have entered their worst time of the year—mud season. The Green Mountain Club does its best to keep walkers off the Long Trail during this period because of the damage boots can do to the soft and mucky treadway and nearby areas. Mud season overlaps with black fly season, which, to me, is essentially unendurable. Because of the combo of mud and bugs, it’s good to stay out of the New Hampshire mountains from snowmelt until late June. No problem this year, since I’ll be in Arizona in early June, after spending most of May enjoying the Edenic splendor of Spring in Scotland.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Long Trail again

I mentioned a while back that I want someday to walk Vermont’s Long Trail from Canada south to the Massachusetts line, beginning in late September and following the autumn colors south. I’ve just stumbled across the website of someone who did just that last fall. Great site, great pix, and I think a great representation of the trail. Except for the rain, it’s quite different from anything in the UK. It has something of the “green tunnel” nature of the Appalachian Trail, but parts of it are beautifully bucolic, and its northern half is steep, tough, relatively untraveled, roughly maintained, and frequently pops above treeline. Most people walk it northbound, and so are fit by the time they hit the big mountains. Of course, we walked the TMB backwards, too.

On the Northern New England theme, we once hosted a Danish exchange student, and took her north one weekend to walk into Carter Notch Hut in New Hampshire. Somewhere in southern Vermont, she said from the backseat, “if we were in Denmark, we’d be out of the country by now.” (We miss you, Weezie!) On the other hand, a workmate newly in from California once decided that an inn in southern Vermont might be a nice spot to take his wife for a romantic anniversary (or was it a birthday?) weekend. I gave him general driving directions, and off they went. They crossed the line from Connecticut into Massachusetts, then about an hour later, came to the “Entering Vermont” sign. He turned to his wife and said, “Look. Some wiseguy moved the state line sign way down here.”

New England: Huge to a Dane, tiny to a boy from Long Beach.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

I’m a little freaked out.

If I don’t make it to Scotland in May, it won’t be an equipment problem or, I’m pretty sure, a physical problem. It will be a money problem. Things are looking very shaky on this side of the pond.

The dollar is tanking, prices (even independent of the value of the dollar) are rising, the market is trending down, vast numbers of people are losing their houses, unemployment is up, and now the chickens are really coming home to roost. A few days ago, the Federal Reserve greased, with a $30 billion loan, the purchase of the giant, aggressive, (can I say criminal?) investment banking firm Bear Stearns by JP Morgan for $2 a share (worth $170 in January of last year). Bear Stearns has been, according to the New York Times, “a leader in packaging mortgage-backed securities” (yes, I think I can say criminal). Sunday night (Sunday night! Think they’re panicked?) the Fed lowered sub-prime interest rates by a quarter of a percent. All this, “[h]oping to avoid a systemic meltdown in financial markets.” (Today I see that the Bank of England has joined the party, covering financial firms to the tune of the equivalent of $10 billion in three-day loans.)

The Secretary of the Treasury (whom I knew very slightly in player, nice guy) essentially endorses the Herbert Hoover approach to financial disaster, and the President— increasingly stirring a kind of crazed manic energy in with his usual aggressive mendacity—tells him “You’ve shown the country and the world that the United States is on top of the situation.” In other words, “You’re doing a heckuva job, Brownie.” Or maybe “Mission Accomplished.”

The very best outcome we can reasonably expect is a massively expensive taxpayer bailout of the investment banks that have caused all the chaos in the first place. Given the ideological and unapologetic Ayn Rand acolytes in charge, “the very best outcome” is exceedingly unlikely.

So, I think I’ll be there in May, but if I’m not, you can find me selling apples on a street corner. Excuse me now while I go batten down the hatches.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I’ve been missing something lately.

The whole thing started around 1970, when Paul and my father began having dinners together on Thursday nights when my mother had to work because her bank introduced extended evening hours. It migrated to Fridays when another friend, also coincidentally in a bank, complained because he had to work Thursdays, too, and was missing out on the fun. Somewhere along the early line, it changed from random dinner fare to spaghetti (more often vermicelli, actually, or even capellini—we like the thin stuff). And we plugged into it solidly when we got back to town for good in 1976.

So, for over 30 years, a core group, and a gradually shifting, changing, expanding, contracting set of friends and friends of friends have been gathering every Friday night (at my dad’s until his tick illness in the fall of 2006 and at our place since then) to drink cheap (often very cheap) wine, eat hefty servings of pasta, argue, laugh, insult, and support each other. We’ve had deaths and births, divorces and marriages, budding relationships and breakups. We’ve had great new people moving into town, and great old people sadly moving away. My dad used to delight in inviting the random passing signature-gatherer in for a bite, and I once brought a Congressman who shocked me by accepting the invitation but obviously had nothing better to do. Folks passing through always knew where to find us and a decent meal on Fridays.

At one time a normal weekly number at table was in the teens, counting kids, but not counting those not infrequent friends of friends who often added wonderfully to the mix. We’ve had Scots, we’ve had people from that country south of Scotland, we’ve had Ozzies, we’ve had Russians, and Danes, and even Californians. Now there are no kids, no regular foreign presences, only occasional friends of friends, and the usual number is six. Six crotchety old people retelling the same ancient stories, having the same arguments, and still drinking cheap wine. I figure we’ve done this almost 1,500 times, and it’s still quite fun, actually. Things have been sputtering a bit lately because some of us have had health issues, and some of us have just decided to hit the road more often and travel, and although I’ve had a great time out and about here and there, and intend to keep doing so, I’ve missed the regularity of our Friday evenings. I’m glad we’re revving up again tonight, even though two of the basic six will be absent (health and travel again).

(H, of course, grew up as part of this circus. She’s coming East in a month or so for some interviews, but she can’t be here on for once pasta will be on Sunday.)

Jasper the Wonder Dog

... and a little other news, too

We were in in Minnesota for a long weekend, visiting our daughter, son-in-law, and Jasper the Wonder Dog, a rescued Labradoodle who as a pup was mistreated by SOBs I confidently expect to spend eternity in Hell.* He’s a shy, timid, and understandably suspicious boy, but with lots of affection and gentle handling, he’s coming along well.

Jasper turns out to love the out-of-doors—even the very cold out-of-doors that has been Minnesota this winter—and H says she’s sure he’ll be a great mountain dog when they get back to New England in a little over a year. H and A take him out for a walk every evening on the wonderful lighted and plowed bike paths in Rochester, and in his huge shaggy winter coat, he loves to run, play, and roll around in the snow. He’s got “Sit” down pretty well, and stays in place while they take off his leash until he gets, “Okay,” then flies off on his romp, with A as his playmate. At the end, he’s reliable when one of them hollers, “Come.” (Photo courtesy of H and A.)

Both H and A are happy in Minnesota but really miss the mountains of northern New England. When they do come East for good next spring, though, it will not be as a couple with a dog, but as a family of three with a dog. H is due in early August—a next generation to wander the woods and hills with. We are just a little excited.

*A story that’s well known among American baseball fans: Two noted New York sportswriters, Pete Hamill and Jack Newfield, are sitting in a bar, and they start talking about people who would have to be in Hell if there is a Hell. They decide to rank their Top 3—the three people they’re absolutely certain would be there—and they each jot the names on a cocktail napkin. When they show their lists to each other, they are identical: Hitler, Stalin ... and Walter O’Malley, the man who moved the Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


We’ve been away in (very cold) Minnesota. Less utterly pedestrian posts to come, I hope. In the meantime, more final choices. I’d originally been planning on walking the Challenge in Montrail Hardrocks, pretty popular trailrunners over here, which have become my standard walking footwear. As I posted recently, I decided over the winter I might not really enjoy wandering across Scotland with permanently wet feet. I looked for another Montrail solution, and found a pair of Cirrus GTX boots in my size at a reasonable price.

Supposedly, the Cirrus GoreTex liner is handled in such a way as to reduce the sweat-pooling GTX boots are notorious for. So far so good there. The boots turned out to need a little working up to feel comfortable around my high volume foot and orthotics. Recent walks make me confident that a little experimentation has got the situation sorted. Longer laces helped, with what an old running friend laughingly used to call “precision lacing patterns,” which you might just be able to make out above; and, surprisingly, light polypro liner socks beneath my Thorlos. A little fussy, but still reasonably light, and now comfy. So I think I’ve got one more box ticked.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

That other Challenge

An unexpected article in the New York Times this morning about the Three Peaks Challenge and the conflict between raising money for a good cause and the effect doing so has on the mountains and mountain villages, specifically Scafell and Wasdale, an area I actually know slightly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fòn làimhe

These little matters are getting to be my field of play now. First the ticks, now the phone. I was a very late adopter of what Wikipedia tells me translates from the Gaelic as “hand phone.” This isn’t because I’m a Luddite. (If Great-Aunt Minerva left me a bundle, I’d head for the Apple store and buy one of everything.) It’s because I’ve worked from home for two decades and my town, due to its location, terrain, and geological oddities, didn’t have a remotely reliable signal for years. For a while now, I’ve been wandering around with a tiny old Samsung x427m, which I’ve appreciated for its simplicity and pocketable size. It is, though, utterly unusable in any other country in the world. So if I’m to have a mobile on the Challenge, it would have to be a different piece of hardware.

Yesterday, I went in and began an infuriatingly disjointed conversation with a young man at the AT&T store. In my ignorance of the technicalities of the situation I presented my needs inexactly. For his part, he insisted on answering my dumb questions with literal accuracy, mostly by saying, “No.” We then moved seamlessly but aggressively into a go-round on the difference between “can’t” and “won’t” on the issue of unlocking the phone so it could use another SIM abroad. Just as I was reaching the red-haze point of no return, I took a deep breath and said, “I’m going to Scotland in May. Tell me what you would sell me that will work there and tell me how it will work and how much calls will cost.” And I smiled. (Maturity is such a blessing. Such a rare blessing.)

The ultimate result was a pleasant and informative chat and the recommendation of a Sony-Ericsson w580i, “a stylish multimedia cell phone with good performance on all fronts,” a quadband GSM phone that also plays music (won’t use) and has an FM radio (might). It’s nice and small, and it even claims some rudimentary blogging capabilities (hmm). Then we circled back to the fact that since AT&T “can’t”—read “won’t,” the mendacious bastards—unlock it for me, I’d have to pay to have it unlocked to take a British SIM.

I realized, though, that I’m not going to chat on this phone, or make business calls, or do anything other than check in with Roger four times and call home every few evenings to let my family know I haven’t died of haggis poisoning. So my choice was more about functionality, up-front cost, and convenience, and less about charges per minute. Given the few calls I plan to make, at $1/minute it would probably be cheaper to pay the roaming rate, anyway. I may get the phone unlocked and buy a SIM just as a matter of principle, but I don’t need to.

I plunked down my $50, brought this “Street-style Walkman phone” home (stylin’ and walkin’—the same reasons I bought my Patagonia R1 Pants), and it will ride across Scotland, safely turned off and seldom used, in a ziplock tucked deep in my pack. Another decision made.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Scottish Bach

Scotland popped up twice in my reading this morning. First, as you in the UK probably know, a team of forensic experts at the University of Dundee has recreated the face of J.S. Bach from “a bronze cast of his skull and documents from the time.” Joerg Hansen, Director of the Bachhaus Eisenach, where the face will go on display, told the BBC “that some people had suggested the face looks Scottish….” This whole thing is pretty cool, but I must say that to me the face looks like the mugshot of just another indicted Republican congressman. The Lewisburg Concertos.

Second, when I opened this site, I was welcomed by an especially graceful lede: “Since there’s not much more to do in Scotland than golf, get rained on and listen to bagpipes, you might as well delve into the fine art of single-malt Scotch tasting while you’re there.” Great advice, but the writer left out the money hoarding and haggis eating. Sufficient info, though, to help me make the decision that I will take walking sticks on the Challenge, after all—mashie-niblicks, I think. And ear plugs, of course.