Scotland, Spain, England
April-May 2015

LAUNCHED: 20 December 2015.       LAST UPDATED: 14 February 2016

Accessed at least many times since 1 June 2015.

OVERVIEW: This was a busy month with various mostly unrelated activities. 1) The SouthPole-sium v.2 in Craobh Haven, Scotland, followed by several days on 2) the Isle of Mull; 3) a SIAFU reunion in Empuriabrava, Spain, for five days; 4) a visit to Bishop's Sutton, Hampshire, staying with the Hendersons; and several days in Warcop, Cumbria, with the Gowings; and then a final couple of nights with the Bonhams in London.

You can scroll through and have a look at my entire trip or just go to the section that interests you:
Go to the SouthPole-sium section

Go to the MULL section

Go to the SPAIN section

Go to the ENGLAND section

SCOTLAND & the SouthPole-sium

I was in Scotland from 28 April until 12 May. The first event on this trip was the second version of the SouthPole-sium, first held in Jaffrey in 2012. Scotland was chosen as its the home of Jane and Falcon Scott who offered to welcome those coming to Craobh Haven. I had travelled here to do a reconnoitre back in 2013 (see
trip report). A total of 63 registered. Here's the geographical breakdown: England: 32; USA: 16; Ireland/Northern Ireland: 6; Scotland: 3; Australia: 3; France: 2; Canada: 1. For more information on the event, go to

Monday 27 April 2015. Drove to Concord for the quarterly New Hampshire Historical Resources Council meeting at Division of Historical Resources, then headed for Nashua and the Park & Ride. Took the 1:30 bus to Logan and checked in with new overweight charges. Good flight with lots of empty seats. BA still offers complimentary drinks unlike Aer Lingus.

Tuesday 28 April 2015. Arrived at Heathrow and later took flight to Glasgow. Good weather turned to rain. Snow on the mountains of Cumbria. Got a nice bright green rental car with 8 miles on the clock at Enterprise. Headed out, missing Erskine Bridge on the first try. Stopped in Luss for a pint and a bowl of soup at the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel. On through the mountains with new snow on the tops and on to Inverary.

My rental car.

Snow on the mountains between Glasgow and Inverary.

Passing through Inverary.

Arrived at Craobh Haven about 4:30. Met by Falcon. He later went off for Spanish lessons. I stayed and later had Spaghetti Bolognese with Jane and then to bed at about 9:30. Pretty knackered. Right Achilles tendon hurting.

Jane and Falcon's house—Loch Shuna House—Craobh Haven. He built it himself.

The marina at Craobh Haven.

Wednesday 29 April 2015. Up at around 9am after a good sleep. Shower then breakfast. Falcon and I went up to see Jonathan about the screen and sound system. Then to Lunga House to meet with Meg. Everything seems all taken care of. Marj Spoerri showed up unexpectedly. Back to FalconÕs house.

Lunga House, our venue.

Thursday 30 April 2015. A lovely day. Up to Lunga. Ken Thomas and the Kerrs and a few others arrived. Ann Shirley, Ros Marsden. Worked on the penguins. Drove into Oban and picked up some gifts for the contests, for the Piper, etc. Back to Lunga. Those who had arrived went to The Lord of the Isles for dinner. I went back to the Scotts for the last night.

The Penguins at Lunga.

Friday 1 May 2015. Up early. Breakfast. Up to Lunga with my bag. Moved in. Whole day taken up with various tasks. At 1pm some of us went to Ardfern where we had lunch—either at the pub or the lunchroom across the street. With Regina and Marj on to the Temple Wood then to Crinan Canal. Back to Lunga. More people had arrived. At about 6pm we started the reception. The Piper piped in Antonia Lindsay-McDougall who opened the SouthPole-sium. I said a first few words, then Falcon in kilt introduced Antonia, who gave a very good capsule history of Lunga House. Lovely sunset. We had a marvelous barbecue in the Ballroom. Some stayed up to midnight led by the Irish Contingent.

Antonia Lindsay-McDougall opens the SouthPole-sium on Friday night..

The Barbecue Friday night. Photo: Cathy Cooper.

Breakfast at Lunga.

Saturday 2 May 2015. SouthPole-sium. Up at 6:30. Another nice morning. Cold shower. Started to organize my stuff for the opening session at 9am. From here on through Monday, the SouthPole-sium carried on. It seemed to be a grand success. Everyone got a chance to talk. The facilities worked well. The lunches and breaks, the grand banquet, etc. The people at Lunga did a terrific job with barely a hitch. The numerous photos taken by me and others, particularly Cathy Cooper, tell the story. See SouthPole-sium v.2

Setting up for the Banquet.

The 'Tower of Haggis' at the Banquet.

NOTE: These and other photos from this trip are at:

SouthPole-sium v.2
Isle of Mull
Spain (SIAFU reunion)


I was on the Isle of Mull from 5 to 12 May. Our group consisted of: Duncan Lawie, Conrad Paulus, Falcon Scott, Lucy Scott, Judy Skelton, Rob Stephenson, David Wilson. And later in our stay: Jane and Charles Scott.
We were originally scheduled to spend a week in the Outer Hebrides aboard the Elizabeth G, but she blew one of her engines and the charter had to be cancelled. Falcon managed to arrange for self-catering accommodation on the Isle of Mull which worked out just fine.

Tuesday 5 May 2015. Left Lunga house after settling up with Christie. Drove with Judy Skelton to
Oban, shopped at Tesco, went to the station and picked up Conrad Paulus. Went to the ferry terminal, met up with Falcon and his crew and were soon on board the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Ariived at Craignure and drove north to Tobermory, where we did some shopping at the Co-op, then on to Calgary. Some very narrow single-track roads. Arrived at the Calgary Self-Catering Farmhouse and got organized. I cooked up spaghetti Bolognese for everyone.

The ferry that we took to the Isle of Mull coming into Oban.

Map of the Isle of Mull.

Calgary Self-Catering Farmhouse—Where we stayed in Calgary.

Calgary art centre.

Falcon and Lucy in the kitchen.

Dinners in Calgary.

In the lounge.

Wednesday 6 May 2015. Later in the morning we walked through the wood which had various sculptures dotted about. Down to the beach, rated one of the best in Britain. Conrad and I spent some time in the cemetery. Then back to the hotel. Took a nap at some point. Fiddled with the internet.

The walk to Calgary beach.

Calgary beach.

Calgary House.

Conrad at the cemetery in Calgary.

Thursday 7 May 2015. Somewhat gray. Conrad, Judy and I headed south from Calgary to visit Iona. Very narrow and twisty road with cliffs on the right. Slow going. Eventually got to the Iona ferry. Had a coffee and soon were on board for the very short trip across. Walked through the ruins of the nunnery, then to the information center, then to the Abbey. Quite interesting. Had soup and a glass of wine and a coffee at the Argyl Inn before crossing back to Mull. Drove north and eventually got back to Calgary around 7pm. Good dinner of chicken, roasted potatoes, beans, stuffing, etc.

Along the coast headed for Iona.

Gourse everywhere.

Highland cattle along the road.

The ferry to Iona, visible above.

Landing at Iona.

Map of Iona.

Victorian postbox on Iona.

The Iona Heritage Centre.

The Nunnery.

The church on Iona.

The Abbey.


The Cloisters.

Passing marker.

Rainbow on the way back to Calgary.

Friday 8 May 2015. Lovely morning. Spent most of the day on a tour boat (Turus Mara) going from Ulva Ferry to FingalÕs Cave on Staffa and to Lunga where we climbed up to see Puffins.

Fingal's Cave.

Fingal's Cave.

Puffins on Lunga.

Saturday 9 May 2015. Lovely morning. Around noon went into Tobermory with Conrad and Judy. Walked around the seafront and had fish and chips outside. Perfect temperatures. Although something of a mishmash, the Mull Museum is excellent. That night we all went to Am Birlinn, a very nice modern restaurant up the road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Its minibus picked us up and dropped us off afterwards.

The colorful buildings of Tobermory.

Fish & chips at Tobermory with Conrad and Judy.

Great combination!

Sunday 10 May 2015. Rainy most of the day so didn't leave the house at all. David and Duncan went off bird watching. I caught up on e-mail, etc. Sunny late. Venison stew was the dinner that night. Excellent.

Monday 11 May 2015. Departure day. Up at 7, showered and packed. Some talk about ferry cancellations because of sea conditions. But we headed off for Craignure and got there in plenty of time for the ferry. Enjoyed a coffee in the shop while waiting. Once in Oban we dropped Judy off, and headed east on the A85, then on the A82 to Crianlarich and along the west coast of Loch Lomond to Luss where we stopped for lunch at the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel where I had stopped earlier in the trip. Eventually we were at the Glasgow Airport where we dropped off the rental car and then took a bus to central Glasgow and the Buchanan Street Bus Station. Did the short walk to the Holiday Inn which is in a renovated building. We stumbled around a bit that night trying to find a place to eat. Settled on Pulcinella.

On our way out of Oban we passed the Elizabeth G, the boat we were meant to be on.

Lunch at the the Loch Lomond Arms, Luss, with Conrad.

Holiday Inn in Glasgow.

Tuesday 12 May 2015. After checking out we had breakfast at the bus station, then set out on a National Express bus to London, departing at 11am, arriving at the Victoria Coach Station at 9:05pm. A long day but it only cost £11!

Public art in Glasgow outside the Buchanan Street Bus Station.

Conrad and I parted company at Victoria Station. I headed for Standsted Airport where I would be leaving the next day for Spain. Took the tube to Liverpool Street Station, then the Stansted Express, then the shuttle bus to the Holiday Inn where I was due to share a room with Luci Edwards. She had already arrived so all was well.

NOTE: These and other photos from this trip are at:

SouthPole-sium v.2
Isle of Mull
Spain (SIAFU reunion)


I was in Spain from 13 to 17 May. This was yet another SIAFU reunion. In 1972-73 a group of about 50 travelled from London to Nairobi. Once there, we scattered and went our separate ways throughout Africa. Some of us have gotten together since, beginning in Jaffrey, NH. Then north of Montreal, followed by Scotland, Australia, and most recently, Calgary, Alberta. Those who made this trip were: Mary Cavanagh, Luci Edwards, Doug & Sharon Fitzsimmons, Mike & Cathy Madgin, Greg Packer and Rob Stephenson.

Wednesday 13 May 2015. Luci and I headed off to Stansted via the shuttle. Met up with Greg, perhaps others. Uneventful flight. Picked up our rental car and headed for
Empuriabrava, arriving in perhaps an hour. Found Mary's place without difficulty. Greg and I have a Delores's apartment on the floor above Mary's. Doug & Sharon are above in another apartment, and Mike & Cathy are a street away. We went out to do some shopping. Later we drove to Vilanova de la Muga to have dinner with Delores at La Muga".

On my least favorite airline on the way to Spain.

Mary's condo in Empuriabrava.

On the balcony at Mary's condo: Luci, Mike., Cathy, Doug, Sharon and Mary.

The view from Mary's balcony.

Shopping: Luci, Mary, Sharon, Doug, Greg.

Shopping: Greg, Rob, Luci, Mary and Sharon.

Dinner at La Muga with Mary's friend Delores.

Thursday 14 May 2015. After a leisurely breakfast we walked up the road to a place where you could rent electric boats, which we did spending an hour navigating the canals of Empuriabrava and looking at the full range of architecture along the shores.

Cruising through Empuriabrava.

Once back we had lunch at the nearby El Dorado.

Lunch at El Dorado in Empuriabrava.

We next headed to Figueras, about 17km away. Today the city is probably best known as the site of the Dali Museum , which is quite remarkable. It's in what was once a theatre. After our visit we enjoyed gelato in the way back to the car.

The Dali Museum in Figueras.

The Dali Museum in Figueras.

Public art in Figueras.

Friday 15 May 2015. Much of the day was spent going to, from and around Cadaques, once a small fishing village, then an art center and now a popular tourist destination.

Walking through Cadaques.

Our group in Cadaques. Sitting: Rob, Mary, Luci, Sharon. Standing: Doug, Mike, Greg.

Lunch in Cadaques.

Rob in front of Dali in Cadaques.

Our group in Cadaques with Dali: Sharon, Rob, Greg, Cathy and Mike with Mary and Doug sitting.

A Dali take on the Statue of Liberty in Cadaques.

The waterfront in Cadaques.

Back in Empuriabrava we relax at Mary's and in time head down the street to the Cavabar Philippe for dinner. It was a lively place catering largely to Belgians.

Greg holding forth.

Sharon and Rob.


Doug, Mike and Greg enjoy their beers in Empuriabrava.

Sharon goes wild at Cavabar Philippe.

As does this woman!

Saturday 16 May 2015. Our last full day in Spain (also my birthday). The main event was a visit to Castello d'Empuries, only a few miles from Empuriabrava but a world away in character and history. A delightful place. We walked around, visited a terrific museum, the Ecomuseo Farinera, devoted to flour milling, once the village's main business, and had lunch at Les Voltes. That night we had our final dinner at El Churrasco, specializing in beef, as you no doubt guessed.

The cathedral in Castello d'Empuries.

Color in Castello d'Empuries.

Lunch at Les Voltes: Doug, Mary, Sharon, Greg and Luci.

Old and new in Castello d'Empuries.

Our final dinner in Empuriabrava at El Churrasco: Mary, Greg, Luci, Sharon, Doug and Rob.

Sunday 17 May 2015. Greg, Luci and I left Empuriabrava early for Girona Airport. Returned the rental car. Uneventful flight to Stansted where we said goodby to Greg.

NOTE: These and other photos from this trip are at:

SouthPole-sium v.2
Isle of Mull
Spain (SIAFU reunion)


I was in England from 17 to 26 May. I visited friends and family; tracked down another copy of the Aurora Australis; and did some errands in London.

Sunday 17 May 2015. Luci and I were picked up by her daughter, Martha, and boyfriend Gareth. Drove to MaryÕs house. After relaxing a bit in the yard we went into town and had a Sunday dinner at
Host. Afterwards back to MaryÕs. Drinks and watched TV.

Monday 18 May 2015. Mary dropped me off at the Bishop's Stortford station. I took the train to Tottenham Hale, then tube to Paddington. Took my bag to the Bonhams and had a coffee with Sue. To my bank in Curzon Street, then Tube to Waterloo and a Whopper at Burgerking. Set out to Winchester by train; met there by Martin Henderson. Had tea followed by a nap. Drinks and dinner at Mill House with Martin, neighbor Peter and friend Pru.

The Mill House at Bishop's Sutton.

Tuesday 19 May 2015. Up and checked e-mails. Went with Martin to Selborne and met with Derick Summers and inspected the Gilbert White MuseumÕs copy of the Aurora Australis. Back to Mill House for a quiche lunch, then off to Andover to see Martin R. Gillott (aka Jackie 'Glitter Boy' Evans, a retired pro wrestler) about my ankle and knee. HeÕs said my Achilles Tendon is fine and that there is no damage anywhere. He said there is some fluid and that swelling is not bad in and of itself. He lightly massage my lower right leg through my trousers. Said I could do this myself. Unclear what needs to be done when IÕm home to get things right. Still limping. Back to Mill House stopping at The May Fly on the way, a very nice pub beside a river. A chap was flyfishing there and eventually caught a large trout. That night we went out for dinner at The Bell in Arlesford.

Fishing beside The Mayfly.

The Bell in Alresford, east of Winchester.

Martin and Margaret Henderson at The Bell.

Wednesday 20 May 2015. Martin drove me into Winchester to pick up the train to Waterloo. Took the Tube to Euston, then the Virgin train to Manchester. Took free bus from rail station and was dropped off near the Ibis Hotel where I stayed that night. Modern and nice. Took some more free buses to get the lay of the land. Had some drinks then walked to an Indian restaurant—Swadesh—at the end of the Ibis block. Pretty good.

The statue of Robert Stephenson in front of Euston Station.

I'm standing beside the statue of Robert Stephenson, outside Euston Station.

The view across Portland Street from my hotel in Manchester.

Dinner at the Indian restaurant, Swadesh, Portland Street, Manchester.

Thursday 21 May 2015. Nice breakfast at the Ibis. Took advantage of the free bus and toured around the center of Manchester. Visited the John Rylands Library, one of the world's greats. Had a pub lunch at The Rising Sun.
Later in the day I met up with Nick, husband of my cousin Lindsey. He works in Manchester. We headed out to their house and picked up cousin Carol and the newest member of the family, Lucile. We all went off to The Pack Horse for dinner.
Carol and I then set off for her house in Warcop, Cumbria. I'd be there for the next couple of nights.

The John Rylands Library in Manchester.

The John Rylands Library in Manchester.

The John Rylands Library in Manchester. The Columbian Press.

The Rising Sun where I had lunch in Manchester.

Some Manchester architecture.

Lindsey & Nick's house outside Manchester.

The Pack Horse pub where we had dinner outside Manchester.

LucilleŅmy new cousin.

Friday 22 May 2015. Carol headed off the next morning to take one of her dogs off to be bred. This left Andy and me on our own. We did a bit of touring around Kirkby Stephen, the market town, including a walk along the Eden Viaducts, close to where Ian and Rachel have been building their new house; quite an impressive project.
Later in the day we all met up for dinner at The Black Swan.

Andy and Carol outside their house in Warcop.

A walk with Andy along the Eden Viaducts.

The Eden Viaducts.

A wall Ian built.

Andy and Ian at the new house.

Ian and Rachel's new house.

Ian and Rachel's new house.

The roads around Warcop.

Scenes in Kirkby Stephen.

The sheep seat in Kirkby Stephen.
(I sat on this some years back when about to start four days on
the Coast-to-Coast walk which passes through Kirkby Stephen.)

Dinner at The Black Swan.

Saturday 23 May 2015. The next day Andy and I set out to Whitehaven, on the coast, which took us through the Lake District. Our first stop was in Cockermouth, where we parked and walked around this attractive town. Had a look, at the outside at least, of William Wordsworth's childhood home.
Whitehaven is an interesting place, not exactly on the tourist circuit. But it has a large number of Georgian buildings and its gridiron street plan is said to inspired the grid of Manhattan. Who knows? We walked around a bit (I was still hobbling from an inflamed Achilles tendon), visited the quite noce Beacon Museum, and had fish and chips in a local pub.
Whitehaven is possibly best known for the 1778 attack on the town launched by John Paul Jones, Father of the American Navy. We came upon a plaque commemorating this.
We headed south passing Sellafield on the way, a massive nuclear facility, all new to me.
Soon we turned inland and wound our way through some very rural countryside and eventually into some quite steep terrain with narrow roads. We made it over the pass but not by much.
Arriving back at Warcop I noticed a "beehive" like structure that turned out to be a public art project done by Andy Goldsworthy, who I had recently just heard about. Quite well know in the UK and beyond.

On the road to the Lake District and Whitehaven.

Wordsworth's birthplace, Cockermouth, Cumbria.

A whale fluke bench in Whitehaven.

The harbor at Whitehaven.

The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven.

The John Paul Jones plaque.

Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumberland.

Through the Lake District on the way back to Warcop.

Public art in Warcop by Andy Goldsworthy.

Sunday 24 May 2015. Off to London today but first Andy and I drive up to to the Tan Hill Inn, England's highest pub. I enjoyed this because when I walked four days on the Coast-to-Coast path some years back, this was my first overnight stop after leaving Kirkby Stephen. I arrived in heavy rain then and remember drying out by the fire which the Inn claimed hadn't gone out in a hundred years or more, a questionable claim, I think. But the fire was indeed burning when we arrived. The place was crowded so we had a cup of coffee and were soon on our way.
We drove to Penrith where I was due to get the train to London. We parked and walked to the Penrith Museum where we spent half an hour or so. Next, to Penrith Castle, which we walked around in; just ruins now; and then across the street for a bite to eat at McDonalds. Andy left me at the station and I took the bus (Sunday, railworks underway) to Preston where I boarded the train. What should be there but a carriage named for Shackleton! I knew it existed but had never seen it. The trip to London was exceedingly slow because of railworks. Eventually made it and found my way to John & Sue Bonham's house near Paddington where I stayed for the next two nights.

The road up to Tan Hill.

Tan Hill Inn, highest pub in England.

The view from the Inn south. I walked up that path years ago.

Inside Tan Hill Inn. Hasn't changed much.

Penrith Castle.

Monday 25 May 2015. Bank Holiday Monday. Very quiet. I set out to take a photo of Oates' mother's house in Kensington, then took the 27 bus out to Hammersmith where I got off, had a pint and read the paper in the Packhorse & Talbot pub, then a burger down the street at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Got on the 27 bus again and headed the other way to the end of the line, Camden Town, which was a hive of activity. Appears to be the place to be for the young crowd. That night, John & Sue Bonham and I had a relaxing dinner at Taormina, which I've always found quite good and non-touristy.

Camden Town from the top of the bus.

Dinner with the Bonhams. Gnocchi, better than it looks!

Tuesday 26 May 2015. Up early and to Heathrow via Heathrow Connect (half the cost of Heathrow Express) out of Paddington. Fly to Boston, bus to Nashua, pick up my car, then back home in Jaffrey, after a month away.

NOTE: These and other photos from this trip are at:

SouthPole-sium v.2
Isle of Mull
Spain (SIAFU reunion)