Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scotland 2014

First Stop - Irvine and 1942

I fly out of Toronto Tuesday PM and arrive in Glasgow the next morning. Within the hour, wearing sturdy shorts - and a light, reliable jacket with a camera in each pocket - I will be on a train heading 40 miles SW to Irvine and the Harbour Lights Hotel for a long, refreshing pint of bitters. I'll talk to the barman about the time my father sat in the same room in 1942, under a blanket, shivering from the cold.  

["A story of a cold night in Irvine's waters, 1942, is in Father's navy memoirs"]

He'll remember the story because we talked about it only two years ago via email. It was then I told him about my father's Navy memoirs and the time a barge ran aground on a sandbar just off Irvine's coast, three young men jumped overboard to rock the boat loose but only two got back aboard before the barge raced away to an important training exercise to be held under the watchful eyes of PM Churchill, Commander (of Combined Operations) L. Mountbatten, and King George. Surely the barman will remember our unique correspondence.

I told him the Skinner family helped my dad warm up after he arrived at the pub immediately following his rescue, soaked to the skin. The barman told me two years ago that he bought the place from the same family, that some of them still live in Irvine. 

["The public house changed its name. Because of the incident? I'll find out"]

My father's story (Exercise Schuyt 1: Marooned on a Submerged Sand Bar) has survived some 70 years or more, as have some of its main characters. So, the stage is set for my first full day in Scotland and there'll I'll be with cameras in my pockets and notebook and pen in hand. Methinks I'll have a right proper adventure, eh.

Link to Scotland 2014

Photos GH

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