Travels with Papillon




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A view that will warm the cockles of the heart of any old Atlantic fleet Boomer Boat sub mariner.

From the River Clyde we are looking at Loch Long (to the right) and Holy Loch (to the left).  From the early 60's to the mid 90's US Navy Polaris and Poseidon ballistic missile submarines were forward deployed to the Holy Loch anchorage for resupply and crew changeover every 60 days.  A part time Florida neighbor spends the majority of their time here.  He arrived as a young sailor in the early 60's and met a Bonnie Wee Lass.  Jerry and Linda raised a family here and will celebrate 46 years of wedded bliss.  Thanks for the Hospitality folks.


They took us to a small Ceilidh in town where the piper piped, the lassies danced and the MC sang and joked.

Sword Dance

Irish Jig



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We saw Nessie, the Loch Ness "monster".

We really did.  No we are not kidding.

Honest.  We saw her.

Well we didn't actually.  

But our friend Jim Beam did.  And we believe Him.

In this most mystical of places we "saw" the critter many times.  With the light, and the wave action we saw a flash of her head,  the flick of her tail, the rise of her back many times as she frolicked about before us in the great Loch. 

May she Live long and Prosper!



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We must confess that as we were just from Norway and the magnificent scenery there was still fresh in our minds, thus our first impressions of Scotland were a bit dimmed by that comparison.  We were soon overcome however with the grandeur that was Scotland and it began in the somewhat windswept and treeless countryside of the northeast coast.  An area and a landscape that those in Montana would call "Big Sky" country.





Duncansby Head Lighthouse


John O'Groats, Scotland

Standing 200 feet above the water level guarding the junction of the North Sea and the Pentland Firth, one of Scotland's most treacherous sections of coastal water.

Storm seas so violent that crashing waves have propelled rocks from the shore high enough to break windows on the lighthouse.


The cliffs at Duncansby Head host numerous nesting seabird colonies due to the impossible terrain for predators.  They hatch their young here in the summer, but most had departed prior to our arrival.

In the distance are a couple of the Orkney Islands.

Making a wake is a tour operator's boat who takes tourists close to the cliff bottoms for a better look at the birds.








A closer look at a section of cliff (above) shows a couple of white feather balls safely sitting amongst the green foliage in their nests waiting to grow up enough to fly away.


In fact, the cliffs and sea stacks of the area are protected nesting sites.


Heading west


We are off across northern Scotland to a special venue - but first we must deal with the main (only) road.

It is here that you must travel on the exciting "Single Track Road".  And not just a little bit, but a lot.  For 20 miles on each side of the village of Durness it is a Single Track Road.

Thus traffic must alternate between "Passing Places".

(It actually went quite smoothly - everyone "played well with others".)



But what adventure could lie ahead that would compel a couple of old geezers to risk life and limb, and an expensive motorhome, to venture forth into the wilds of northwest Scotland???

Sometimes we are drawn to places based solely on the strength of it's name.

And such was the case with


C A P E      W R A T H


Just the sound of the name sends quivers down the spine:  Cape WRATH


Jutting defiantly out into the North Atlantic Ocean is the prow of Cape Wrath - the most northwestern point on the coast of Scotland.


And the journey to there is not without significant danger.


Obstacles and complications not normally associated with leisure travel.


The journey begins and ends with a perilous "ferry" crossing of the ever unpredictable and treacherous 

Kyle of Durness 

(Here the Love of My Life is seated with strangers of dubious character on the first of two crossings that are required to assemble the crew for the trek into the unknown.)


Steely eyed deck hands watch your every move to insure STRICT compliance of the Captain's every utterance!


Next you are packed as sardines into a "minibus" and transported along cliff edge "farm tracks" on the edge of Oblivion.


Down into canyons deep and across bridges of questionable repute.


Your every movement is impeded by restless natives hoping to lure you to your Doom.


But the rewards are great for those who persevere.




For on this day Cape Wrath was as tame as a pussy cat.

Actually, the name derives from the Viking word hvarf, which means "turning place", for it was here the Vikings had to change heading from due north to east in order to get back to  Scandinavia.


At the end of the journey we once more waited for the arrival of the Good Ship Lollipop.

For safe transport homeward across the Kyle of Durness.


Next - Scotland two

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