James, Jim, and I went to Scotland for three weeks back in August 1998, so that would make James fifteen at the time. As in all of our travels we planned how we would get there and how we would get back but nothing in between.
We flew on Air Canada and I frankly don’t know how this happened, I suspect it was a product of Jim’s charming smile, but the airline upgraded us to Business Class, so the trip was already off to an incredibly good start. It’s a long way from LAX to Glasgow. James kind of set the tone for where we would go since as he had watched “Braveheart” ten times, Although he is half German and half Scottish, he had totally self-imprinted as Scottish at the time. He is also a fan on Monty Python and decided we needed to visit castles featured in movie and try to replica dialog, “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of Elderberries.”
I learned from research, that to secure lodging for the night you always went to the local Visitor’s Center and they would find supreme accommodations for you. (With this build-up, you already know where this is going.) We ended up with two rooms in Sterling, Scotland. Our rooms were located directly over the kitchen. So in the morning during the preparation of the traditional Scottish breakfast we were swamped with grease smell and actual grease. Hundreds of thousands of grease nodules floated around our rooms. A shower didn’t help since the bathroom was the shower. Just turn on the shower and presto the meaning of “shit, shave, and shower” took on a whole new meaning.
So we came up with the “Kirkley Approach” to accommodations. We’d have our breakfast then drive to the trail head of next hike and find rooms near by. This was done before 1:00 since all rooms are taken after 3:00. This way we could look at the rooms and make an informed decision. Then we’d dump our suitcases and go for a long walk. Just to stretch our legs, find a good restaurant for dinner, and see some sights.
By the way we had this huge book on Scottish History and whom ever was sitting the the back seat had to read a chapter. Fascinating stuff!!!
A little side-bar, both James and Jim wear kilts to this day. And, in my opinion they look sexy and great.