Jim's General

13th of January 2020

by on Monday, January 13th, 2020

What have the Romans ever done for us? Well they certainly left us with some interesting places to visit.. Here is Susie with folk singer and whisky guru Robin Laing and his lovely wife Ursula. We were visiting the remains of the Antonine Wall – a Roman Megastruture -well to the north of the more famous Hadrian’s Wall. It spanned the narrow waist of central Scotland between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth. It represented the high water mark of Roman domination of Britain, but was only held for a mere eight years around 150 AD before the Romans were obliged to withdraw to their more defendable earlier wall.

This signage marks a fort on the wall near Auchinstarry, not far from Kilsyth. There were many stongholds along its length though very little remains of them.
The rock that defied an empire.. This last photo shows the great ditch dug out by the Romans in front of the wall (to the right and lying backwards of Robin) However They could not penetrate the sill of very hard rock the trio are standing on and had to leave it as a possible weak spot, although they built a fort right beside it. The wall is very close to the Forth and Clde canal which follows the wall faithfully for much of its length. We had a very nice lunch in the Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina.

3rd of January 2020

by on Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Happy New Year! I was out this morning for a walk into the countryside around Perth, which is in the background beyond the ploughed field. You can just see the start of the Highlands on the right hand side, which unfortunately are not covered in snow. It looks like it’s going to be another mild winter. There was a dump of the precious white stuff a week before Xmas which got everybody excited (including me) then it all melted overnight – Doh! Things are fairly quiet for the next couple of weeks and then I’m off the the US, but this time with Susie! It’s been our 2020 vision for several years, now that both Beth and Sandy are studying in Edinburgh. We have been doing a number of concerts in Scotland together over the last few months and have two duet cd’s under our belts so it’s all systems go. This is the year I finally get with the tech and post more frequently. That’s a promise…

1st of January 2019

by on Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Happy New Year to all you good folkies! The Sun is setting on the first fine but short day of 2019. The River Tay flows through the Fair City of Perth and on towards the cold North Sea. The Malkies have had a very pleasant Xmas which lacked only snow. There’s still not a flake in the mountains to slide down. After the usual indulgent period it’s now time for resolutions and self discipline to see us usually until about the 3rd of Jan! Here in Scotland we are sadly bracing ourselves for the great Brexit showdown that is very soon to hit the fan. Don’t ask me what is going to happen – even though I’ve agonised over every twist and turn. Have a great year and I hope to see you all somewhere down the rocky road….

21st of October

by on Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Susie and I had scouting trip to Islay last week. The ferry takes a couple of hours from Kintyre and we had fabulous weather, which was really far too good to be in any way representative! The Island of Jura (on the right) lies just north of Islay (on the left) and is more mountainous, forming a great back-drop to Islay’s gentler landscape.

Ruins on the island in Finlaggan Loch, where the Lords of the Isles held their councils during the highpoint of the Clan MacDonald. The hills behind are the Paps (or breasts) of Jura. It is a magical spot.

Islay is dominated by whisky distilleries. It is the most important whisky region outwith Speyside and is the mecca for peated malts. These barrel tops are filled with rainwater from the previous days relentless rain and stand outside the Ardbeg Distillery. Ardbeg is probably the most extremely peated whisky and challenges even the likes of me. My advice is start with Lagavullin…

11th of October

by on Thursday, October 11th, 2018



Hi Folks, usual apologies for my pathetic level of blogging activities. Here are a couple of snaps from a wee trip through Highland Perthshire with good pals Peter Moulton and his son Jake, who were visiting from Olympia, Washington. I’ve been turning up at chez Moulton like a bad smell each February for most of this century, so it felt great to show them around. The Crannog Centre on Loch Tay is a reconstruction of a Bronze Age lake dwelling which were extremely common in the lochs of the Highlands. The log boats were really cool and you can hire them out for the full experience. The “toatie” totem pole at the Hermitage (near Dunkeld) is actually a genuine one from the Pacific North West, but did not impress the lads as they have bigger toothpicks than this back home!