It's not always easy when you have been exploring the outdoors for as long as I have- over 55 years- to find new or interesting places to visit. Traveling into the mountains usually costs money, which I do not have much of at the moment, or inclination as a solo trip, but fortunately I have many other outdoor interests nearer home I am equally content with at present- great beach walks- city walks- cycling-kayaking, ( risky sport on your own though) micro worlds- history of places and architecture. So loads to choose from.
Lord Darnley did have a claim to the Scottish and English thrones as did Mary, Queen of Scots, an extra political incentive to get married. Although born in Scotland, after the age of five Mary spent her childhood in France only returning here as a recently widowed adult, so she did not really know or remember Scotland much either. Although they left an indelible mark on the nation's consciousness and in local place names it could be argued neither enjoyed their short time here very much with early death and long imprisonment just around the corner a few years after they arrived on Scottish soil.
From around the age of six or seven we, my friends and I, began exploring this wonderful kingdom every weekend, setting a template for my later outdoor life. Before that age we were largely confined to a few streets, usually within spotting or shouting distance of the house but after that age the pull of a vast unexplored region on our doorstep proved too strong as fields, woods, streams, ponds, grasslands and ridges lived five minutes walk away from my house. And at that period of time in history we were free to explore it all on our own, all day long, as long as we returned for dinner or before darkness descended, usually 4:00pm in winter- 7:00pm in summer... if dry. An almost unimaginable concept now in this internet age of instant tracking and minute by minute child- parent contact but perfectly normal then. Indeed, if we arrived back early from a local wander with pals, turning up at the house after only a few hours on a sunny day that's when our parents got concerned. ' 'Did you have a fight with your friends?' ' Aw, could you find no- one to play with- are you bored?'
Looking back it seemed almost a crime not to stay out all day as a youngster when you left at breakfast as it usually meant you had to be entertained, looked after, and fed by grown ups. Most parents would chase you out the house unless it was pouring with rain, a collective UK mindset at that time even though bad things did happen, especially in the rougher council estates. The difference was it was mostly word of mouth communication about any dangers in those days... radio, early black and white TV, and newspapers having far less dominance or influential in most folks life's or thinking processes. Especially children who only read the cartoon page in newspapers and watched very little TV then. With no gadgets or fridge freezers in the house, bigger families, and a lack of labour saving devices, housewife's seemed to be constantly active then anyway... either cleaning, washing, shopping daily, or cooking... with little time to look after children.
A slice of Pollok, Nitshill and the Brownside Braes above Barrhead and Paisley in this photo above. The Misty Mountains of my own personal 'Shire'. Renfrew-shire that is- fairest of a thousand kingdoms reputedly and I truly believe that.