Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

January 22, 2012

Into the Moors

British bushcrafter does not survive. (Gratuitous Bear Grylls references added by the reporter, apparently.)
Survival school instructor Ian Moran, who teaches extreme survival and bushcraft skills, said it was extremely unlikely anybody could survive a Highland winter out of doors living off the land.
He said: 'It would be a tall order for even the most professional person who calls himself a survivalist. Maybe centuries ago, when Scotland was covered in woodland and teeming with wildlife, but not now.'
I wondered about that. Was he planning to try to fish? Steal sheep?

August 03, 2011

The Fiction of Faithful Dogs

Statue of Greyfriars Bobby (Daily Telegraph/Rex Features)
My dad, after several drinks of bourbon and time spent staring into the campfire of his last backpack hunting camp, once pronounced, "Dogs have by nature qualities that humans struggle to acquire."

(I don't know if that was original or not, but it impressed me enough that I wrote it down.)

Last week M. and watched Hachi: A Dog's Tale because everyone needs a weepy dog movie now and then.

John D. Voelker (a/k/a Robert Traver) once wrote (I paraphrase from memory), all dog stories are sad because they do not live as long as we do.

But sometimes dogs outlive us. Hachi is based on a Japanese dog who waited every evening for his deceased master to descend from his customary commuter train—which is why the American Hachi is an akita.

The faithful dog. "Fido."

The original Japanese Hachiko was commemorated by a statue. Another faithful dog waiting for a master who will come no more is also commemorated in Edinburgh: Greyfriars Bobby.

But revisionist history sees a hoax perpetuated for commercial gain in that sentimental tale, including a substitution of a new dog for the original (cf. Marie Laveau).
Dr Bondeson reckons the story was fabricated by James Brown, the curator of the cemetery, and John Traill who owned a nearby restaurant.

Word soon spread and visitors to the churchyard increased 100-fold, with animal lovers from across the country flocking to see the faithful celebrity dog.

Many donated money to the kind-hearted Mr Brown for taking care of him and almost all dined in the next door restaurant owned by a John Traill.

Dr Bondeson insists pictures and portraits of the dog, as well as contemporary accounts of his nature, show that the original Bobby died in May or June 1867.

He believes it is likely that Brown and Traill then substituted the original terrier mongrel with a similar dog, a Skye terrier, to keep exploiting Bobby's fame.

Dr Bondeson, who has published his findings in a new book, said: "I knew the famous story of Greyfriars Bobby but the more I researched it the more I smelt a rat.
Read the whole thing. Ah, those canny Scots.

July 24, 2011

Blog Stew with Ticking Sheep

• Using sheep as tick bait in Scotland, partly to preserve the traditions of the Glorious Twelfth. Clever, but probably would not work in North America.

• What the American Kennel Club has in common with the Roman Catholic Church—and not in a good way.

• A National Park Service ranger (you know, the helpful ones) goes all "respect my authoritah" on a middle-aged female tourist. Sounds like NPS vehicles should have those helpful dashboard video cameras, like in Canton, Ohio.