Loch Lomond,
Bonnie Scotland
Thur. 21 June 1973
Dear Father and Mother,

A wan sun is warming my back (I have turned my back on the light), terns are crying overhead, an island and mountains are dimly visible through the mist and my toes are practically immersed in the waters of this famous loch. Although there is a marina nearby, I am surprised to find the water quite clean, though I'm not sure that, as a spectacle, I find it as impressive as the lochs and bens farther north. However, the YH here, looking out over Loch Lomond, is really magnificent. It seems to be an old manor house (Auchendennan) set in beautiful park-like grounds, and was once the residence of James Martin Esq. Since the grass is starting to wet my bottom, and since it is after 1830 (though the sun is still high in the sky and hasteth not to go down), I think I'll return there now to bake my Lancashire Hot-Pot and continue this later.

Later. The Hot-Pot turned into a bit of a hotch-potch, but I think it's filled a few empty corners.

Last Thursday, as you probably already know, I made my way to S's school and we viewed the last of my not terribly exciting slides. I may send you a print of one at some stage, to show you what they are like.

On Friday, I rang Sherwood from Golders Green station and told him I would take the job. He is booking a hotel for me from the night of 15/7 and says they have found some apartments @ DM 350-390/month, including use of a swimming pool and sauna-bath. If I give that a try for a while, I could end up being frightfully fit.

The same day, I indulged a longstanding desire to watch criminal cases at the Old Bailey, wandered out onto Westminster Bridge to see what Wordsworth wrote his poetry about ("Earth hath not anything to show more fair..."), decided the gentleman was probably wrong (though the view is full of interest), and then, in preparation for my visit to the Lengs, attended part of the Evensong service in Westminster Abbey.

Spencer had not yet "come down" to earth so I was deprived of the pleasure of his company. The others I found pleasant enough, though it seems they have their little ways. In spite of having to wade through the family photographs and watch my language, I quite enjoyed the visit. Circumstances will probably preclude a repetition for some time, though I was made to feel most welcome. I must say, when he met me at the station, Donald managed to disguise his shock and amazement rather well. It seems no effort to him to keep a straight face!

On Saturday, after a few hours' sleep, I was driven by Volvo Grand Luxe to Lincoln (where we inspected the cathedral) and York (Minster and Castle Museum), through delightful Yorkshire countryside to Fountains Abbey near Ripon (a fascinating mediaeval ruin on a large scale), across a beautifully preserved Roman road on the moors to Whitby where we stayed in the YH beside the ruined abbey, high on the cliff overlooking the harbour and the old town.

On Sunday, we sought out Rievaulx Abbey (another mediaeval ruin, thanks to Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell), crossed into County Durham and spent some time wandering about Durham Cathedral (saw the Venerable Bede's tomb) and Castle, before moving on to Hexham and Hadrian's Wall. I checked into the Once Brewed hostel, promising to meet the Quilkeys again at noon Saturday at GPO Carlisle (they plan to take Mon and Tues off to view Lake District and Wales).

On Monday, I got a lift with a social worker in an old bomb to Newcastle and from there a lift with a big Yorkshire "lorry" driver in semi-trailer to Edinburgh. He called me "Oz" all the way and displayed a zany sense of humour. I regretted not being able to get to Lindisfarne etc. (-) but weather most satisfactory (+). Found Edinburgh architecturally more exciting than London but arrived just too late to see through the castle (now closed at 1715 on account of bomb threats).

On Tuesday, it took me 2 lifts and a brief wetting to get to Stirling Castle, which I explored at leisure, then another 5 lifts to reach Fort William YH (Glen Nevis) about 2030. Last lift was just-returned Antarctic station commander. Missed photo in Glencoe I was aching to take, through not being my own boss - cloud-covered mountains and beautiful lochs.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I climbed 4406 ft up into clouds and snow on Ben Nevis, highest mountain in British Isles. Today I am paying the penalty with bruised feet (unsuitable shoes) and sore muscles. Certain sense of achievement, however.

Today I've walked many miles with my pack and accepted three lifts to get to Loch Lomond for nothing. Pity I can't beg for food too! Now my duty's done and I can rest with an easy conscience!

Hope to make it to Carlisle via Glasgow tomorrow. If M&M (Michael and Mary) leave me somewhere near Stonehenge next Tuesday night, I'd like to try making my way out though Cornwall and back to Bristol (?) to take the ferry to Cork, make my way up to N Ireland (TAP may be able to stand a visit if he's at home), across to Liverpool and Chester (maybe look up EJF) and back to London in time to buy lots of clothes, books etc. before heading back to the Vaterland.

Hope you can get the Police Commissioner's report on me without too much bother. It would be distressing to have my work permit held up on that account, considering my unblemished record.

I'm living on the third floor. Anti-English feeling is present here in a degree I had not anticipated - "Go Home English" scrawled on walls etc.