Sunday, 3 December 2017
Tunskeen Bothy. Galloway and Carrick Forest Trip.
A couple of weeks ago I received an invite to go on a weekend bothy trip and jumped at the chance. It was my old friend John who I've known for several decades now and we've climbed many Munros together as well as European mountain ranges and backpacking trips, home and abroad. This isn't us... just two folk passing on mountain bikes but I rarely miss a good photo opportunity these days when I spot one occurring. The Carrick and Galloway areas, which run into each other, are really good for mountain bike excursions with a network of forestry trails, like the one shown, and a handful of scattered bothies in what is mainly a pine forest, moor, and mountain setting.
Speaking of which I watched a fascinating programme recently on TV about the extraordinary Gobekli Tepe in modern day Turkey- the world's oldest known megalithic stone circles which predate Stonehenge by over 6,000 years and could well be the inspiration behind the Garden of Eden story in the bible. According to experts who have excavated and studied this remarkable site it marks a turning point in our own distant past when nomadic hunter- gatherers first changed into static farmers growing crops- which would fix them in one place to tend then harvest them but also leave communities highly vulnerable to natural disasters via famine, floods, back breaking toil for nothing, droughts and death if the crops failed. To put the time scale into some kind of context Stonehenge to the present day is a shorter period of human evolution and time than Stonehenge is to the five metre high limestone blocks situated here. Many of the tall pillars are also exquisitely carved with a range of exotic animals and perplexing symbols from a time when early man was supposed to be scrabbling in the dirt for survival then dating women by grunts, large clubs and hair- dragging romantic gestures to the nearest cave. In short it rips up the rule book on what our notions of early history should be like 11,000 years ago. Good link here if you have never heard of this amazing discovery of giant stone circles buried on a hill top. Academic opinions vary of course as to its importance but most now agree it is something really unique.
Keeping with the ancient theme here's a borders folk song from the distant past. A tale of dark magic, shamanistic pagan beliefs linked to animal spirits, natural 'changeling' herbs and plants found in every culture, and the eternal struggle between man and woman for power and dominance in any relationship. An old song I've linked to before years ago but very topical and an absolutely cracking guitar and dual singing performance in keeping with this traditional feeling post.