24 August 2020
by Walter Hampson
Having enjoyed our adventure on the Jacobite train on 31st July we made plans for another wee adventure for the following week-end, but as yet no idea what it would be. During the summer of 2005 I had a willing companion (aside from Susan) to join me on days out. My young cousin Debbie had not been too well that year and her daughter Caitlynn was always happy to accompany me on local outings. We invited Debbie and Caitlynn to join us, thus making them the first Honorary Intrepids Our day of adventure would be in two parts:
Part 1 – Kinross House & Garden
I had visited Kinross House and Gardens some time back and felt that it would be a good place to revisit with Susan. It was ideal for Debbie as it was wheelchair friendly.
From Wikipedia: Kinross House is a late 17th-century country house overlooking Loch Leven, near Kinross in Kinross-shire, Scotland. Construction of the house began in 1685, by the architect Sir William Bruce as his own home. It is regarded as one of his finest works, and was called by Daniel Defoe “the most beautiful and regular piece of architecture in Scotland”.
The house, which is undoubtedly the most important early classical mansion in Scotland, retains most of its original internal decoration. It was occupied for 200 years as the home of the Montgomery family, who purchased the property in the late 18th century. Kinross House is a Category A listed building, and its grounds are listed in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Unfortunately the House and grounds were sold and the new owners and there is no public access to gardens. I find that a pity as one feature was the fact that the gate at the end of the garden looked over Loch Leven to Loch Leven Castle – where “Mary – Queen of Scots was Held Prisoner until 2 May 1568. Mary escaped from Loch Leven Castle with the aid of George Douglas, brother of Sir William Douglas, the castle’s owner made to England and never returned to Scotland. Click here to view Photo album of visit
Part 2 – Deep Sea World
Deep Sea World is located at North Queensferry, Fife. It is host to a collection of large sand tiger sharks, also known as ragged toothed sharks or grey nurse sharks, and various other species of shark. One of the main attractions is a walk through glass tunnel where the sharks swim above you. This was the only visit we made to Deep Sea World. Whilst we enjoyed it at the time we felt no urge to return. However, we did pay other visits to Kinross House before public access ceased. (Click on Image on left to see album of visit)
23 August 2020
by Walter Hampson
I met my future partner/wife Susan Wales when I started working for West Lothian Council in 1997. I had recently complete my 22 year service in the Royal Air Force and found setting back to civilian life a bit irksome. I consider myself very lucky in gaining employment with the recently created West Lothian Council as a temporary maternity cover Assistant Licensing Clerk (which led to full employment until I took early retirement in 2011). Whilst we were colleagues we were not (at that time) involved socially. Between 1997-2005 we slowly got to know each other through Social events such as birthday’s, Christmas \Parties, and outings to the Theatre all part of the social activities with Administration and Legal Services. In fact I made some good friends working there and one very special person. Susan was in love with Scotland, and enjoyed hill walking, Bagging Munros ans scrambling up her favourite mountain “Buachaille Etive Mòr” in Glen Coe. I was more the stay at home and read – I’d had enough gallivanting and globe trotting in the RAF. I did have pride in my country and Scottish history. In 2005 I discovered Digital Photography and that lead to me being a bit more active and walking to work on nice days taking my camera. This led to lunchtime walks with Susan and our friendship began to develop. On 25 July 2005 Susan’s mum, Mabel passed away and she was feeling the loss badly. She had looked after her mum travelling down to Runcorn at weekends – eventually Mable moved up to Scotland and was well looked after by Susan. I never met Mabel by all account she was a lovely lady.
Our first outing took place on Sunday 31st July 2005 and started at the crack of dawn as a result of a spur of the moment decision to travel up to Fort William and take the steam hauled train to Mallaig. This trip was inspired by a conversation regarding “Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets” and how the film had shown the Hogwarts Express crossing the Glenfinnan viaduct, Susan mentioned she had never crossed that viaduct and so we made plans to set off on Sunday 31st to catch the train and enjoy the journey.
Black Mount, Loch Tulla Viewpoint A85
We set of a 7 a.m. on a lovely summer’s day and it got better as we headed north west from Livingston to Fort William, travelling through some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscape. Our route would take us through the village of Callander then taking the west highland route (A85) via Crianlarich then A85 to Fort William, stopping at Loch Tulla Viewpoint, then across Rannoch Moor to Fort William. We took a slow trip up, enjoying the views and the early morning sunshine. Surprisingly the traffic was light and good time made arriving in Fort William Station Car Park with plenty of time .
Link to Album – The Jacobite Adventure