The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 16

….or, the Scamp Glamps with other Scamps

That’s right, I went Glamping!

glamping
ˈɡlampɪŋ/
noun

BRITISHinformal
  1. a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.
    “glamping is likely to satisfy any city slicker seeking a little refuge in nature—without foregoing any of life’s luxuries”

This trip came about because two of the other Flamingos went glamping and it was awful. While on that trip they booked a spot for us at Ecocamp Glenshee. For those of you not familiar with Scotland beyond the city (which is really just me saying I had to do some research to figure out where exactly we were), here is what Wikipedia has to say about Glenshee:

Glen Shee (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Sith) is a glen in eastern Perthshire, Scotland.[1][2] Shee Water flows through the glen. The head of the glen, where Gleann Taitneach and Glen Lochsie meet, is approximately 2 km north-west of the Spittal of Glenshee; it then runs south-east to Bridge of Cally where it merges with Strathardle to form Glen Ericht. Once known as the glen of the fairies it takes its name from the Gaelic “sith” meaning fairy and the old meeting place at the standing stone behind the present day church is called Dun Shith or Hill of the Fairies.

It is known to the locals for the chair lifts and sky centre, as well as the Devil’s Elbow, a crazy scary road full of twists and turns. It has been featured in adverts, on Top Gear, and has claimed the lives of many a driver who was not careful. It is also home to some of the best views in Scotland.

It was cold, and snowed a tiny bit while we were at the top of the chair lift, but it didn’t rain, and we had a nice wood burning stove in our Wagon to keep us warm. We all needed a bit of a break from the city. We needed to be away from laptops, cellphones, and people. Ecocamp Glenshee was the perfect place to be because it was less than two hours from home, and was easily located using GPS.

The camp is stunning.

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*photo courtesy of Ecocamp Glenshee

The four Flamingos stayed in the wagon that overlooked the llamas. It was a very cozy car with nice beds and a stove to keep us warm.

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The owners of the farm and the keepers of the Llamas were incredible. They were very welcoming, made sure that we had everything that we needed, and gave us a tour of the grounds. We met chickens, goats, the Llamas and the donkeys. We named the goat Gary, the Llamas Harry, Larry, Barry and Carry, and one of the chickens Cecil.

*Llama photo courtesy of Ecocamp Glenshee

We had snacks and food for a BBQ, a bothy ( a small hut or cottage usually for farm workers that is open and free of charge to use) where we could charge our phones and do dishes, and enough booze to keep us well happy for the weekend. Everything at the camp was recycled or reused, even table scraps were used to feed Gary the goat and the chickens. Sustainable and organic towels, soaps, and teas, and very little electricity.  We spent a lot of time chatting about life, playing Zombie Dice, and playing the best game of Cards Against Humanity ever. I have the American edition, and I am the only American, so I was about pissing myself with laughter when they were asking me who Rush Limbaugh was, or what the 3/5 compromise meant. I also got to explain a rather graphic sex act, which also had me laughing. Being that they did not understand the humour in some of my answers, I got my butt kicked big time.

I would not have changed a thing.

We were surrounded by the smell of campfire, bundled into bunkbeds and discovered the joys of walking to a toilet at 3:30 in the morning.  We saw stars, a tiny bit of the Northern Lights, and all came home in a good mood. Scotland is also small enough that I ran into one of the programme leaders who helped me with my research last year!

The couple of days away was exactly what I needed to recharge a little before a busy couple of weeks. On a happy note, I finally got the green light to submit my feedback paper for publication! Almost two years of work and 14 drafts later, I am ready to see if I can get something published.

Hopefully, fingers crossed, the academic world will like what I have to say.

For anyone who would like to visit Ecocamp Glenshee, you can find all the info you need here: http://www.ecocampglenshee.co.uk/

Peace, love and llamas

 

A Scamp in the Chapel

I know, I know, the thought of me in a chapel is a funny site to see. Trust me, I would have felt out of place if the chapel wasn’t such a tourist attraction. Rosslyn Chapel is by no means a large place, but thanks to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code the chapel is now a hot spot for conspiracy theorists, religious scholars, and loves of popular culture. According to my favorite site Wikipedia, Rosslyn Chapel is described as:

Rosslyn Chapel, properly named the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church (with between four and six ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. Rosslyn Chapel and the nearby Roslin Castle are located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland.

The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness (also spelled “Sainteclaire/Saintclair/Sinclair/St. Clair”) of the Sinclair family, a noble family descended in part fromNorman knights from the commune of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in northern France, using the standard designs the medieval architects made available to him. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin, the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery.[1]

The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Holy Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. During this period the rich heritage of plainsong (a single melodic line) or polyphony (vocal harmony) would be used to enrich the singing of the liturgy. An endowment was made that would pay for the upkeep of the priests and choristers in perpetuity and they also had parochial responsibilities.

After the Scottish Reformation (1560) Roman Catholic worship in the chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the chapel was closed to public worship until 1861 when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

In later years the chapel has featured in speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.

The tour guide of sorts at the chapel told us some funny stories about what people think is buried in the vaults under the chapel. People think Mary Magdalene is buried there, the embalmed head of John the Baptist, of Jesus, and one woman from Tennessee thinks that the body of Elvis is there. It has been said that there is a space ship and a hundred little green men there, untold riches, and quite possibly, the Holy Grail. While I don’t believe any of that, it was fun to hear the tour guide share the crazy ideas tourists bring on their visit. There is no photography allowed in the chapel, but I was able to take some really good pictures of the day. The chapel, castle ruins, and small glen in the area provided some much needed fresh air and a great day with my friends. It was a nice way to spend my last weekend in Scotland…even with the little bit of rain.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

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My own hidey hole in the castle ruins

My own hidey hole in the castle ruins

Crossing the bridge into the glen

Crossing the bridge into the glen

Tomorrow my journey through the best of Scotland will continue. The BFF is taking me home to the lovely metropolis known as Dundee to meet his mama. We have a whole day to ourselves for bonding and good banter. I’m looking forward to meeting his friends (they are excited to meet a “real” American), see where he grew up, and meet his grandma. I’m hear she makes a mean cup of tea…..