My Thoughts Are on Scotland…

Phot of Scottish cattle taken by Curtis Mekemson.

Scottish cattle line up and eagerly await the news on Scotland’s bid for independence.

Scots are going to the polls today to decide their future. The decision is a tough one: do they remain part of the United Kingdom, or do they break free and create their own nation-state?

I wish the good people of Scotland and their beautiful country well, regardless of the outcome. As I wish the English well. Our nation owes both countries a deep debt of gratitude for who we are. So do I.

But my heart is with the Scots. My father went to a family reunion in the late 1960s and came back with a family chart that showed a long connection with Scotland going all the way back to the 1600s and John Brown the Martyr. Brown was killed in front of his wife and children in 1685 because he refused to renounce his Presbyterian beliefs in favor of the English king.

I’ve been to Scotland twice. The first time I was wandering by myself. I rented a car in Glasgow and explored much of northern Scotland. The beauty of the country and the warmth of the Scots impressed me deeply, even though Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, refused to pose for a photograph.

Three years ago Peggy and I returned to do genealogical research in the southwestern region of the country where John Brown had died and my great-grandmother had been born. Once again, I was impressed— as was Peggy. When looking for John Brown’s grave, we stayed at the excellent Old Church B&B in Muirkirk and had the opportunity to become friends with the owners David and Lesley Martin. We have maintained that friendship since over Facebook. Lesley, BTW, is an excellent chef and runs a baking school. David is a Scottish patriot. Over the past year, he has posted on Scottish independence a thousand times, at least. (Grin)

Following are some photos from our trip to Scotland that reflect the beauty of the country. (Next blog I will return to Burning Man.)

A Scottish Castle in Edinburg.

A Scottish Castle in Edinburg.

Scottish sheep photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Furry fellow. We were happily lost on a remote road when this guy greeted us and wanted to know where we thought we were going.

Photo of Kirkcolm, Scotland by Curtis Mekemson.

The small town of Kirkcolm where my great-grandmother was born.

Photo of ancient fence in Scotland and Scottish Broom taken by Curtis Mekemson.

A view of the Scottish countryside featuring an ancient rock fence and Scottish Broom.

View of Scottish countryside taken by Curtis Mekemson.

Another view of the beautiful countryside of Scotland.

My wife Peggy and the Scottish patriot David Martin in front of the Old Church B&B in Muirkirk, Scotland.

My wife Peggy and the Scottish patriot David Martin in front of the Old Church B&B in Muirkirk, Scotland.

Mother sheep and lamb in southwestern Scotland. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Mom and baby.

Ancient Celtic Cross in Scotland. Photo taken by Curtis Mekemson.

Celtic Cross.

Cat man. I liked the way the flowers found a crack next to this gargoyle-like figure.

Cat man? I liked the way the flowers found a crack to grow in next to the gargoyle-like figure.

Scottish tombstone photo with Peggy Mekemson.

Genealogical work involves spending a lot of time in graveyards. I was amazed by the size of Scottish tombstones. Peggy provides perspective by standing next to a grave of a person who may have been a distant cousin of hers— and mine.

Photo of Scottish pony taken by Curtis Mekemson.

I’ll close with my favorite photo from Scotland. This pony came running up to see us when we visiting Kirkcolm. I suspect he was saying vote yes.

45 thoughts on “My Thoughts Are on Scotland…

  1. Wonderful photos. My vote would be for a ‘yes’. They are such independent people. Believe it or no, Australia’s head of state is still a foreign queen. So far we haven’t been brave enough to be independent.
    That Scottish pony would definately vote for a yes. You can tell.

    • Pretty surprising, I’ve always considered Aussies to be an independent bunch. 🙂 The pony came galloping toward me and screeched to a halt. Linda at Shoreacres thinks maybe he was thinking ‘apple.’ –Curt

  2. I was intrigued by the person-sized tombstone, and delighted to see the Celtic cross — but that pony! Oh, my goodness! Honestly, though? I think he’s asking, “You have an apple for me?”

    It’s an interesting experience to listen live to the BBC and Skye News broadcasts. What amazes — and yet really doesn’t — is the high turnout. In some polling districts, I’ve heard as high as 89%.

    • You are probably right on the horse, Linda. He came dashing up at a run. I was lucky to get my camera up.

      The turnout is incredible, but given how it impacts everyone in Scotland, maybe not too surprising.


  3. As always, I enjoy so much reading of your travels and the wonderful photos that accompany it. I have been following the events in Scotland with great interest, and I liked reading the thoughts of someone who has a connection with it.

  4. Nice pictures Curt, especially the cute “Dobbin” looking very excited. Yes, I agree with you Scotland is a nice place to visit, as a matter of fact my husband and I got married in Scotland… And the landscape are gorgeous as well as the animal… did you see the very hairy Scottish cow? they are so cute.

  5. Beautiful photos of Scotland, Curt. So nice to know that you have that wonderful connection. When we lived in the UK I worked with the fabulous museum directors in Scotland who educated me in so many ways – history, art, social responsibility, and the appreciation of a fine whisky. I send them love and wish them well. Thanks for this great post. ~Terri

  6. Curt – fantastic photos and how funny that your family and Peggy’s both may share the past. Always good stuff here on the Wandering site. Tell us, did the round ram let you wander past him or did he insist on a detour?

  7. I am English born, but think of myself as British, or even European. I would have been devastated if the Scots had separated. We are all mixed up together, the Scots, Irish, Welsh and English. I have relatives on both side of the border. Also, I am not happy about the nationalism sweeping parts of the world. I understand the Scots wish for better government, I want that too, but if they had become independent, we would have been landed with a perpetual Conservative government – not good for democracy.

    • Good comments, Hilary, and appreciated. I am glad you put in a British perspective. One question I always have is how do you achieve balance between individual dreams/needs/ambitions and the good of the whole. I, for one, believe that some type of world government is critical for the future and probably for our survival. But how do we get there without massive force or catastrophe? How do we assure people and nations that who they are will be protected— that they will be stakeholders, to use the modern phrase? Curt

      • I wish I had even the beginnings of an answer. I think we will need many more generations of stirring of the genetic pot, so that the racial differences lose importance. However, if inequality of wealth continues to grow, rather than diminish, I fear your disaster scenario will precede any universal government.

  8. I was in Scotland recently. Beautiful landscape, funny accents, warm people. There are many unanswered questions regarding Scotland’s ‘independence’. Well, the people have spoken now. As usual, your photos are lovely.

    • There is a lot to photograph in Scotland, Lynne. I am thinking about going back there next year. I also want to visit Northern Ireland. Peggy is going to London with her sister. I may tag along, rent a car and head out on another genealogical tour. Do you know what part of Scotland your family came from? –Curt

    • Thanks so much Slingshot. It is incredibly beautiful. I am seriously thinking about revisiting next year, along with northern Ireland. I should have detected the Scotswoman in your blood. 🙂 –Curt

  9. I agree heartily that it is a very special place. If the weather were better, I’d still be there as I can’t think of a more beautiful country. As a scot (though born in Zambia) I am deeply relieved they didn’t decide to break away from the union. Lovely in theory but should the going get tough, things could turn out a lot like Greece 😦

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