Back on the Celtic Ray

Back in Glasgow

The light

The buildings have a new feel



I’ve been touched by the Celtic Ray (the Awen)

Harris Tweed Cap made on the Shetland Islands

‘Ireland, Scotland, Brittany and Wales
I can hear the mothers’ voices calling
“Children, children, children”

Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
Listen Jimmy! I want to go home.
I’ve been away from the Ray too long
I’ve been away from the Ray too long’ – words by Van Morrison

My heritage is Irish, my great grand parents migrating to Kalgoorlie in the 1890s

Part of the Irish diaspora.

But spending time in the north of Scotland has put me on the Celtic Ray 

John O’Groats

Fishing harbour John O’Groats

Touched by the Celtic Ray

Glasgow has a new light. 

I found the Glasgow Enlightenment

And the fact the the world’s first Afro-American doctor was trained in Glasgow by slavery abolitionists. He was James Mcune-Smith.

I have been away from the Ray too long

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Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carry the lad that was born to be king

O’er the see to Skye. 

So goes the first verse of the Skye boat song and Skye is inextricably linked to the Bonnie Prince Charlie legend. 

Skye is an island of deep fojds and sounds, rugged mountains and quaint villages. 

Faery pools

When leaving Stirling I met a Spanish couple on a BMW. Who had said the beauty of Skye bought a tear to their eye. 

View of Portree

And it is hard to disagree. 

The vistas on each turn of the road surpassing the previous. 

And the Scottish weather continued to smile. 

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Stirling to Skye – a run through the Scottish highlands

Wallace National Monument, Stirling

The Wallace monument stands tall looking across the Forth River at Stirling Castle. 

The Scots watching the English, the English watching the Scots as it has been for centuries. 

Back at Berwick upon Tweed tale had told how that city had changed from Scottish to English and then English to Scottish 13 times in 30 years. 

Not that either could see much on the damp misty Stirling day. 

In the highlands past Dalwhinnie the cloud lifted revealing the green rolling hills and small villages. 

Gatehouses that mark the entrance to stately homes.

Still the homes of the clan chieftains. 

The lochs opening up bigger and broader as the west coast of Scotland came closer and closer. 

With grand castles standing on islets. 

Eilean Donan Castle

Across from Skye is the township of Kyle of Lochalsh.

A working port

End of the train line from Inverness and just o’er the sea from Skye. 

Lochalsh from Kyle

In the middle of the working port

On the station at the end of the line. 

There is a most beautiful seafood restaurant. 

Waterside seafood restaurant on Kyle station

With a choice from delights such as langoustines, monkfish, sea bass

Beautiful day

Beautiful food

Beautiful sunset over the Loch at 11pm

And Skye still to be explored. 

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Angel(s) of the North

Overlooking Newcastle upon Tyne the is the Angel of the North

An imposing piece of public art that hovers on a hill above the Tyne and Newcastle. 

Tyne Bridge

There were also some angels of the north at Mo Tech the Moto Guzzi dealer in Newcastle. 

The provided me a bit of space out the weather to make a running repair. 

A little workshop space out of the weather

Rocker cover gasket replacement

Angels come in different forms

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Glasgow and people 

A hundred and fifty years ago Glasgow was the second city of the empire

A centre of heavy industry such as shipbuilding and textile manufacture

A centre of design, typified by the Glasgow architecture

But a century or so later Glasgow was struggling to survive as a city. 

Unemployment, poverty and significant population decline challenging the future of the once great city

While in the UK, in Australia, there is tension and a struggle about accepting migrants and refugees. 

For Glasgow, have stabilised it’s population. 

The cities motto “People make Glasgow” a reflection of the more diverse international city it has become. 

People make Glasgow proudly on the new skyline. 

Maybe we should all be thinking about people, humanity. 

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Back in the UK after 17 years

It’s been 17 years since I visited the UK 

December 1999

A cold wet winter of long nights and freezing days. 

This trip its summer and the days are long, damp and cool. Not all the different from the Australian winter I left behind. 

With help from local guzzista I have the mighty breva II ready for this adventure. 

Mighty breva II in front of an old porcelain kiln, Stoke on Trent 

This adventure starts in Stoke on Trent, once the porcelain capital of the world. Here I collected the Moto Guzzi, I’ve bought in the UK. 

Thanks to Kate and Guy of the GB Moto Guzzi club my dream of tiding again in Europe is happening.

I rode up the motorway to Glasgow through the damp air and rolling green fields. 

To be greeted by the march of the orange men and woman. 

The loyalists. 

Flying the flags trooping the colours and beating the drum

Orange men parade

I reflected that this is what confronts and challenges the UK. 

Great glories of the past celebrating victories a century or more old. Masking an underlying anger and frustration that divides the country. Orange VS Green, North VS South, the pro brexit VS the anti brexit. It’s a challenging time. 

And as I ponder this there is the beautiful architecture of Glasgow. 

The great Victorian design from designers like Rennie Macintosh. 

And the music

Street music

In the streets and pubs. 

Cold and damp Glasgow has struggled through some tough times. 

But as the city’s new motto says

People make Glasgow 

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Guzzi Envy

via Paul Milbourn Customs – Guzzi Titanium — FASTER N’ LOUDER

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