early start. I have a 08:30 tee time at Royal Dornoch. This
is Tom Watson's favorite course in Scotland.
golf, I plan to drive a loop in the northern highlands that
will take me by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery
in world. Much of the dramatic footage from "Braveheart"
was shot in this area even though it is hundreds of miles
from any of the battles that William Wallace participated
it's back to Inverness for dinner and web updating.
If you're reading
this, I've solved my America Online problems.
Today was great!
was a wonderful, typically Scottish, links layout. It started off
gentle and slapped me around at the end. The weather was good -
no rain, no wind (although the mean-long last 4 holes are specifically
designed to be played with a tailwind), about 55 degrees and completely
overcast. I played alone for the first 8 holes, until I caught up
with the twosome in front of me - they were the first ones on the
course. I was then joined by Jon MacWilliam who caught me shortly
after I was slowed down. He was a good partner, and a great help
on the back nine (thanks to Jon W.). Without his advice, I would
have butchered it even worse than I did.
I drove across the entire country to the west coast. It was a brilliant,
sunny day over there. Y'know, living in Colorado, I've become somewhat
jaded to the beauty of the mountains. I mean, I see them every day
and they're beautiful and everything, but . . .
the mountains on the west coast of Scotland, I can honestly say
that the Rockies have their match. Even though they only stand at
about 700 to 1400 feet tall, they dive straight down to sea level.
Sometimes they even dive into the sea! The pictures below don't
do them justice. It's like what the Rockies would look like if there
were huge, deep lakes in ALL the valleys. I must have seen 50 huge
lochs today - all of them surrounded by the most fantastic, rugged
mountains. It is the most mystical and beautiful place I've ever
seen in my life. It's easy to see where the Celtic mysticism comes
from - everything looks magical, just like it has sprung from the
pages of some wizard and dragon fantasy novel. I can't wait to come
back with a real camera (I know, you told me so, Jon H.).
Let me tell
you about single track roads.
one is about 60 miles long and winds through the mountains and lochs
like some kind of a serpent. It's about the width of a bike path
and it's a two way street. About every 100 yards, there's what they
call a "passing place." Here, the road is widened like
the serpent just swallowed a mouse. When two cars come face to face,
the one closest to a passing place pulls over to let the other driver
Now, you probably
won't believe this, but this is a true story. We had a little United
Nations meeting today on the West Coastal Road. I came around a
blind corner (one of about 1000 on the road), and there was a micro-van
with a wheel in the ditch. It had grounded on the frame and couldn't
move. I stopped to help and we began collecting stones to put under
the wheels so that they could back up and get some ground clearance.
Soon an English couple in a '75 VW bug stopped. Then a German couple
and then an Australian guy came along in a Land Rover and used a
tow rope that the Germans had to pull the van out. The really amazing
part was that the family in the van were from Afghanistan.
I think there's
something to this single-lane two-way street that encourages politeness.
Put two people in cars, racing towards each other with only their
courtesy to protect them, and everyone gets real courteous, real
fast. I know, I wouldn't believe it if you told me either.
Dornoch Golf Club. This is the northern most "Royal"
golf course in the UK. It has been a qualifier course for the British
Open, but it's so remote that they don't have the facilities to
support the modern event.
If you ever
come to Scotland, try to play this course. It's about an hour north
of Inverness, so it's kind of out in the "boonies," but
it's a real gem, and it's not usually too crowded.
is the view back down the fairway from the first green.
inward nine viewed from the 8th tee.
first experience with the sodded bunkers resulted in a double
on number 4. The next time I was in a trap I actually blasted
to within 4 feet - and missed the put. Oh well, I could be at
I've got bunches
more shots, but I didn't want to torture those of you with 56K modems,
so here's just a few of the mountains
Arkle (left) and Ben Foinaven ("Ben" means "Mount")
Arkle - and blue sky!
boat house in the foreground belongs to the British Royal Family
which has a residence in this valley. The house on the right
is the caretaker's. You can't get within a mile of the actual
residence, or see any of it, except for a 50 foot tall (at least)
hedge of some kind which blocks any view.
stone wall was built by the Romans. It was part of a fortress
that was set up to extort tolls from the highlanders. Almost
all of the roads in this part of the country were originally
built by the Romans.
was really a 360 degree view, behind me was the ocean.