Travel theme: Numbers

Golf is all about numbers  – look at a scorecard and it is covered in them:  the holes 1 to 18; the White, Yellow and Red distances for each hole; pars; stroke indexes; gross scores; nett  scores; stableford points, handicaps.  Non-golfers might be surprised to know that there are GPS systems which tell you exact distances from where your ball has landed to the hole – more numbers (I am warming to this subject :P – I promise it is the last such post).

Golf in the Wild takes you on a journey of 727 miles from Northumberland to the far northwest of Scotland, taking in fifteen courses – assuming you play eighteen at each that is a total of 270 holes and this is what awaits as a finale, on the last course, Durness – what a finish (click on the image to see if you can make out the flag):

The eighteenth at Durness

This is exactly what the sadistic inventor of golf had in mind when he explained his intentions to Robin Williams – sensitivity warning – those offended by bad language should not watch/listen:

And this image just to prove that I don’t ‘dress like a pimp’ and no wheels are involved – I carry my own bag :-)

Golf in the Wild


Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

This is the opportunity for some self-promotion, so apologies :P . This is the cover of my recently published book, Golf in the Wild Consistent with the challenge, the image is “intended to echo a particular character of the subject matter, an essence that words fail to capture with simplicity”.  The view is from the third green of the glorious Traigh Golf Course near Arisaig.


This is the first independent review from the October issue of the Killin News:

Golf in the Wild – A journey through time and place” by Robin J. Down

“This book exists because of Killin. It was here in 2005 that the idea of solitary golf in wild places was first born.” ( Chapter 4 Killin)

This is a newly published book and as a non-golfer I found it a surprisingly enjoyable and easy read. Written with humour and candour, it should appeal to a much wider audience than just the golfing fraternity. With descriptions of wonderful ‘wild’ courses, on which the golfer can test his or her skills (or lack of them!), the book encourages you to take the journey and to step off the well publicised golfing route map. It could even tempt the non-golfing household to enjoy the delights of a touring holiday in north Northumberland and Scotland and may just persuade others to abandon the hassle of airports and their annual golfing jaunt to Turkey, Portugal or other such popular destinations.

This book is much more than about playing golf. It takes you on a journey through time, wonderful landscapes, the fascinating history of the places where the courses are located, the author’s life and the various characters in his family, and his passion for fast cars and those who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to race them. The golfing journey begins at Allendale, Northumberland and ends at Durness, in Sutherland, having taken you on a route north via courses such as Selkirk, Bishopshire, Killin – to which a whole chapter is devoted, Craignure, Traigh and Gairloch. A great tour to undertake even without the golf clubs and the book will, hopefully, encourage new visitors to all the destinations that are mentioned.

It is a book you can dip in and out of and should inspire every reader to do a bit of exploring. Copies, priced at £8.99, are available in Killin at The Old Mill and at Killin Golf Club or may be bought directly from

Gillean Ford

And this is the inside cover:


(click on the images to enlarge)



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I cannot resist one further post on the subject of our recent canal trip.  Surprisingly, the most memorable night of the trip was the one that promised the least.  Obliged to moor at the bottom of the Frankton flight in order … Continue reading

The Montgomery Canal


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11th October 2014 (a little delayed post due to O2’s 3G dead zone) As I write this we have been out from Overwater for just over a week and so far, for once, we have stuck to the schedule.  Sunday to … Continue reading

Narrowboat Oakmere

The weather has turned in the UK, neatly timed with our maiden voyage on the good ship Oakmere.  This has been a long time coming – first seen at Overwater over a year ago, it has been an impatient wait to complete the share swap from our previous boat, Winthorpe.

It is a glorious boat with a dedicated engine room, something even the beloved admires.  It also has traditional controls – engine speed is managed by a small brass wheel and forward/backward gears by a push-me/pull-you brass lever, not unlike the gearing on a 2CV :-) .  I have used this system just once before on the Northwich Trader, Florence, so it was a challenge to exit the marina without any embarrassing collisions – mission accomplished.

The trip down to Nantwich was completed under blue skies but this morning Autumn has kicked-in with a vengeance.  There are many good things about the new boat, best of all, the full width bed that pulls out from under the tug deck; when the wind and rain is attacking the cabin sides, it is just too tempting to hibernate.  Next stop Wrenbury if we can ever be persuaded to emerge.

(Apologies to followers, I am only posting for the next two week due to the limited availability of a decent 3G signal).

Narrowboat Oakmere Narrowboat Oakmere Oakmere Narrowboat Oakmere

Summer to Autumn


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In parallel with this blog I have another compulsive disorder called Blip.  This is a mini-blogging site designed to encourage a post/photo per day.  My written input is very limited, I struggle with a picture per day and sometimes I cheat … Continue reading

Leaving New York

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime – I could write an extensive piece on the things I don’t like about cruising and cruise ships but it does have the occasional upside.  We had been at sea for six days, crossing the Atlantic, when we set the early morning alarm to ensure we didn’t miss the entry into New York.  Drawing back the cabin curtains we found ourselves easing up the Hudson to Pier 88.  This dark September morning Manhattan shone like a jewel across the river; it was one of the most magical travel experiences I have ever encountered.  It has to be the best way of arriving in the city.

When we left two days later nighttime was drawing in under thunderous skies – it is also a very impressive way of leaving New York.

Leaving New York

(click on the image to enlarge)