vrijdag 11 augustus 2017

Scots and Frisians: a comparison


May 2017 I hiked the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) in the northeast Highlands. Before I started my hike I was having a meal in a pub in Inverness. Many costumers inquiered with the bartender where from he was, because of his heavy accent. The answer was from the Orkney islands. A place where they still speak Scots Gaelic, I thought. I finished my meal and drink when he asked where I was from. 'From the north of The Netherlands,' I said. 'Ah, Friesland. Old English is most related to Old Frisian, is it not?' he replayed. Try this in a bar in for example Groningen or Ostfriesland, I thought. 

It made me wonder if there are any simularities between Scots and Frisians. Some differences might be explained, I thought, by the fact suppressions of Scottish identity has been harsher. Without aiming to be pretentious, here solely for amusement my thoughts on this matter during the Cape Wrath Trail, a hike I can certainly recommend.

Scots and Frisians have in common:
  1. both suffer from predominant western winds and lots of rain;
  2. both have sheep;
  3. both still carry the original tribe name after 2,000 years: Scoti and Frisi;
  4. both distillate whisky (yes, Frisians too);
  5. both excessively use their national flags;
  6. both have no real independent country;
  7. for both the concept freedom is important;
  8. both are capable of self-reflection;
  9. both favourite pastime is building things (Frisians terps, Scots castles);
  10. both have the skill to recognize beauty.

Scots and Frisians have not in common:
  1. Scots still wear skirts. Frisians do not;
  2. Scots destilate good whisky, Frisians do not;
  3. Frisians destilate Beerenburg, Scots do not;
  4. Scotland has 5,3 mln inhabitants, Friesland 0,6 mln;
  5. 60,000 speak Scots Gaelic, 400,000 speak Frisian;
  6. Frisians are scattered over countries and area's, Scots are not (both diasporas not included);
  7. consensus about Scottish identity, about Frisian identity no consensus; 
  8. Frisians remember only battles they won, Scots remember those they lost;
  9. Scots have wet bog, Frisians have wet clay;
  10. broad sentiment under Scots for independence, under Frisians only marginal.
To read my hiking blog of the Cape Wrath Trail, click here.

To read more about the Frisian pendant of the Scottish Cape Wrath Trail, click Frisia Coast Trail.

zondag 23 juli 2017

GR91 Rosans, France



Arrived yesterday with Judith and kids at our holidays house in the medieval village Rosans in the Haute Provence, France. Please believe me when I say I didn't pick this place because of its location along Grand Randonnée 91. See the red-white marker on the pic, of what is our terras.

Of course I spend full days at our terras spotting GR91 hikers. Till now: none.

zondag 16 juli 2017

Wadden Sea salt marshes at De Zwarte Haan

Yesterday made a short walk at the hamlet De Zwarte Haan (translated as: The Black Rooster) in the 'far' north of the province Friesland. This is the western corner of an extensive salt-marsh area in The Netherlands (and of the whole the UNESCO protected Wadden Sea, for that matter).

I saw a sign of the local environment protection foundation (it Fryske Gea) indicating entering the salt-marsh area is allowed outside the bird breeding season (concrete: outside 15 March - 15 July). That is good news! My impressions was it was not allowed anyway. So, my plan is to see if a hike is possible through this area.

Also, De Zwarte Haan is a crossroad of two ultra long distance trails in Europa, namely the Jabikspaad, start of trail to Santiago de Compostela in Spain (more info), and the Europe coast trail E9 (more info). Being a crossroad, together with the fact this is a spot at the salt marshes of UNESCO Wadden Sea ànd its local, cultural history of the 'mud workers', makes it a unique point.




Interested in walking this area? Read my blogs and website Frisia Coast Trail.




vrijdag 5 mei 2017

Day of departure

Today I am leaving for the Highlands to hike the Cape Wrath Trail. It going to be challenging. For me it does, because I do not know what to expect exactly. It is pushing the limits for me in the sence it is a trail on the map/ in the books, but not really on the ground. Na paths often or sometimes, no signs, just roaming empty mountains. And the weather, of course. But all is in order: maps, GPS, compass and SPOT device for emergencies. Food with me to last a day or five. So not enough at all and thus I have to rely on what the trail provides. All equipment adjusted to wet, cold and windy circumstances. This for more than two weeks hiking. But it is pushing a limit for me. Not the disctance, but especially the new aspects of it. Yesterday it made feel a bit like 'what was I thinking?' Anyway, I am off and the whole experience will at least keep me busy with other things than the daily stuff at work. Reload and happy to hike again since last year my planned trip was cancelled. And it is exactly five years ago I was in Scotland. Together with Judith doing a road trip through the Scottish Highlands.

zaterdag 29 april 2017

Only toilet paper and construction tape

Only toilet paper and construction tape are the things to buy. Then I am ready for hiking the Cape Wrath Trail in Scotland. Hope the gods will grant Scotland some reasonable weather I can enjoy as well. The weather forecasts this week are reasonable for the coming week. Average 12 degrees and not much rain. That will be the week before I arrive.

I fly to Ingverness. Direct flight. The next day a bus to my starting point of the trek, Invergarry. Thus cutting the CWT with 2 days. Was necessarry too since time slot was a bit too tight. So guess I will be walking around at least 17 days. That is 17 days wet feet. For this I bring the construction tape. Sealing off blisters.

The thing I look must forward to, is pitching my tent in the totally deserted landscape for the night. Being completely alone with no habitation for miles and miles in the darkest of nights. Must be fantastic. And of course the incredible landscape where I am allowed to roam freely. Without a doubt, the first 4 or 5 days will be hell mentally and psysically, but I am confident I will pull myself through!