Sunday, 19 August 2012

Day 1 Scotland begins


Day 1 Scotland begins

The camp had indeed been a god send. I hadn't heard much traffic from the other side of the hedge, so had rested very well. The sun was just coming out so I made attempts to get as much of it as possible and removed the legs from my trousers. The bag felt reasonably light for a change, but then sleep can help with that and I had been rested longer than usual. The road was calling me to get on with things, so I set out and was soon coming into a village called Swinton. No insurance agents anywhere so that was refreshing.

I met a guy out washing a car and he had several up for sale so I guessed he was a small business. He quickly offered me a refreshing cup of tea so how could I refuse an offer like this. Scotland you are doing well, keep it up....!!
He was actually originally from Sheffield and had moved here after several attempt at change of location with his family. Stuart was also a builder and had built his own home and another close by which had been recently damaged by high winds and I had noticed that it was being repaired, so he explained all about that. He also did a bit of car sales and other handy jobs. He was keen to know why I was so smiley and why I was walking all over the United Kingdom and the reason I was called Peaceful Warrior and about my hopes to help peace on earth by my Imagine walk. He spoke of his own views about the chances for peace on this earth and Britain closer to home, as he was a Jehovahs Witness and trusted that God would step in and by divine intervention we would all be given the chance to live in a world free from crime and suffering after gods Holy war of Armageddon. Stuart was a hard working sort of a man, so knew that he would have to do something to help this along, and he was kind towards me. He made a very generous contribution to my welfare needs and I was almost in tears at this sudden and random act of kindness. Like the Goslings at Lincoln, Stuart was living in harmony with his religious beliefs, but I also felt that he was pushing the world in the right direction with regards helping people with needs in the present day. I am most grateful to this kind Christian man for his attending to the call to step up and support me with my walk. With people like this in the world, what is there to fear?
I had been discussing with Stuart where I would go next, and by my toss of a coin, Duns had won out over Kelso and Galashields.
Another mile or so, along a back lane heading towards Duns, I passed a few houses and a farm and then arrived at a huge acreage of chicken sheds. There was a lorry outside dropping off chicken feeds and the man who was there overseeing the operation invited me in to have yet another cup of tea. I couldn't believe my luck, 2 in two miles, and still quite early in the day. Graham the manager at the 'Vion FoodGroup's' chicken egg production plant was very kind and gave me a lot to think about with regards to both the Boarder Reivers of old Scotland and the current views being banded about by people of the area. Apparently the town of Duns was becoming used to the integration now of people who had opened the first Chinese take away and later Muslim families corner shop, but it had been tough. I spoke with a young man called Craig, another worker called Paul and finally David. David was finishing his shift and travelling back into Duns a few short miles away, so he offered me a lift which I happily accepted. Before I went, Graham had rang his wife Sharron who was keen to share all the interesting sites to see in her town, and said that she would keep an eye out for me in the town later. All these people stepping up to help a stranger was really impressing me about Scotland, so I hope it carries on.

On arriving at the small town I decided to get a hair cut as the thunder flies were beginning to bother me, and the heat was here to bring them out in force. I walked straight into Roosters the barbers that I had just been driven past, and met Shirley Macintosh and her trainee Rachel. Both lovely and keen to know all about my adventures and even helped me to raise some funds for the charity collection, so thank you Colin, customer and generous giver. Also whilst I was having my hair cut came a local school teacher called Mark. Mark was also a walker and offered some helpful packing tips for my heavily loaded bag. He was full of local knowledge and clued me up on a few things to see and do. I got mark to take a picture of me with the girls and my new haircut and then I made my way off to get a drink at the Boarders coffee shop.

It was like a Parisien street with all the tables and chairs out on the side walk in the square. I had some lunch and then noticed a banner hanging from a nearby building that sponsored a local radio station, Generate Radio. I called in and spoke with a young guy, Oscar MacAndrew, one of the producers of the radio shows, who was keen to support Imagine by posting some links to my Blog and website. They are also waiting for their F.M. licences so are a totally online radio show at present, but will be broadcasting live via the airwaves pretty soon he assured me.
Check them out at,

Another of the things I wanted to see was the trophy room of one of Britain's best loved and most successful racing drivers of all time and certainly his era, Jim Clark. Friends with Jackie Stewart and Sterling Moss and hero to the even more famous Ayrton Senna the Brazilian racing driver famously killed at high speed in 1994, Jim Clark had amassed a huge room full of accreditation and success. Jim died in 1968 but it seems his memory lives on still. Mike the man looking after the rooms was a nice and gentle person who told me all the history of the man that had been Jim Clark.

Jim Clark

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Jim Clark
Jim Clark.jpg
Clark in 1966
Born 4 March 1936
Kilmany, Fife, Scotland, UK
Died 7 April 1968 (aged 32)
Hockenheimring, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, West Germany
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 1960 - 1968
Teams Lotus
Races 73 (72 starts)
Championships 2 (1963, 1965)
Wins 25
Podiums 32
Career points 255 (274)[1]
Pole positions 33
Fastest laps 28
First race 1960 Dutch Grand Prix
First win 1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Last win 1968 South African Grand Prix
Last race 1968 South African Grand Prix
James "Jim" (or "Jimmy") Clark, Jr OBE (4 March 1936 – 7 April 1968) was a British Formula One racing driver from Scotland, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965.
Clark was a versatile driver who competed in sports cars, touring cars and in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1965. He was particularly associated with the Lotus marque.
He was killed in a Formula Two motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany in 1968. At the time of his death, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest Formula One

I had arrived late and he was about to close up so I made my way off to the Black Bull local public house as they have internet and a place for me to spend some quiet time catching up with my blog again. 
I was welcomed by Brenda, who looked after my bag whilst I went shopping for supplies for my dinner later, and subsequently we chatted to great extent about many things. She brought up the subject of being judgemental and making snap judgements about people based solely upon what she had heard rather than what was later her discovery to be true. She said that she had chastised herself for this foray into a type of behaviour that she hated. But like I said in reply, the whole world is teaching us to do this, and be like this and rather than get to know the real truth, invent one instead. She agreed that things needed to be done for this type of negative habit to be overcome, and I have to say, I agree totally.
Many customers were pouring in and out of the pub, most of them making the best of the beer gardens and the sunshine out the back of the public house. As I was talking with one gentleman, in came a face I recognised and yet couldn't place immediately, but he recognised me from the stone circles yesterday. Brendan was the guy I said was a creator of something. It turns out he is an artist, a painter. We spoke for a few brief minutes and I passed him a card with my website details, hoping to regain the connection with yesterday. He was out in the beer garden with friends, so returned with his drinks.
I wondered after the young woman who had brought strong energies to the circle, but hadn't asked and the conversation had been only brief.
I got on with writing and chatting with Brenda and the new lady who came to take over, Julie. Brenda was finishing and I asked if she wanted to have her picture taken for the blog, but she declined. Some people prefer not to be pictured and that is why I always ask first, out of respect, but she is happy for me to tell you all about her participation in helping me with my studies and fact finding project.
With my head tucked down at the computer I never saw the young woman enter but I noticed her standing by the bar. I said hello and how glad I was to see them again and what a surprise it was to see them here so soon after the stone circles of Duddo, but that it wasn't actually a coincidence. I'm never sure exactly how people will interpret my forthcoming nature to say what I see or feel intuitively, so I am a tad cautious sometimes with revealing what I have thought or felt. Rowan seemed to have an understanding of this dilemma, so I was pleased when she invited me to join them in the garden and carry on with the connection of yesterday.
Rowan is the director of the Scottish National Mining Museum at Newtongrange, the old site of the Lady Victoria colliery. She invited me to go and take a look if I would be passing, and as it is close to the Rosslyn Chapel I can't see any reason why I shouldn't. Mining has been a huge part of the history and heritage of our lands after all, and for over two centuries we have been extracting coal and minerals and oil from beneath the earths crust.
Brendan told me all about his project to rebuild a studio at his home and also shared many stories about his world adventures. He was a landscape and portrait painter by choice, but more recently a decorator too, to fill his time productively. I asked him who his favourite portrait was of. One that he had captured on canvas and what he had seen when commissioned to create a likeness for the subject. I was trying to determine if it was the same for artists as for a poet. Not that I am officially ranked as a poet, by sources other than myself, but I have written a lot of things and like the creative side of word play and descriptiveness in visual form.
Rowan was clearly a clever person and had a lot of things to tell me and share with the project Imagine. I would look forward to meeting again and seeing the history of Scottish mining at the Midlothian museum, and finding out more about the people that had carried so much positive energy to the stone circles of Duddo.
After some time chatting they had to leave, chores at home to attend to, so we said our farewells and I set off to find a home for the night. 

I chose the well trodden paths out onto the grounds of the Duns Castle. I met another young man who was out walking two dogs. Ross who wore a body warmer sponsoring something to do with the Olympic team was involved in a sport to do with vaulting. I don't think that was bank vaulting either, but must confess the conversation was a little hurried as the light was fading. He was off home and I had to find a place to erect my tent. I headed out for the Covenant stone and he set of in his car for a life in California in the coming months. He was a carpenter by trade, and said that there was work for him out in the land of constant sunshine. Oh and the beach life might suit him too.....!! He was a really chatty guy, and I wished him well, and he wished me every success with the Imagine project.

I found my place for the night in the forest beneath trees and where the wolves and night creatures howled and cooed and shared long winded stories about visitors from the world of men with green one man tents invading their habitat.

And so day 1 of my Scottish adventure came to an end in the protection and darkness most profound.

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