Trip Start May 11, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2011

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Explored the head of the loch

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

At the head of Loch St Mary we reached the Tibbie Sheils Inn where James Hogg and his buddies used to drink.

Up on the hillside is a statue of The Ettrick Shepherd and his dog Hector. HVM recalls this being in bronze but these days it's minty white. Hogg wrote a quite brilliant dog poem which after three pints of Tibbie Shiels Ale had me close to tears for the second time this trip. It’s all about Hector his auld, towzy, trusty friend getting old and concern that the hound might think he’s no longer wanted or that his master’s distress is somehow his fault. Hogg recalls that in time so grief or pain his puir auld friend came snoovin’ near and that whatever Hector may get up to he will never forsake him.

If you’re not a dog person then you won’t get this but if you are and particularly if you’ve ever lost one then I recommend reading the whole thing sometime.

We fully intended to go the Selkirk today but as Tibbie Shiels now runs a campsite and has a GPRS signal that’s off the scale (so we can update the blog) we decided to stay the night.

While we were there an RAF Hercules flew low up the valley and the barman who wasn’t at all surprised happily informed me that they quite often get fast jets which use the pub (a large white building at the head of a loch) as a practice target. He went on to relate that it's been suggested he fire a traffic speed gun at one or to operate a microwave oven in one of the nearby trees. The result of either course of action being that the jet would detect that someone or something had locked onto it and… well what do you think would happen? I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

And so we ended our first full day drinking ale at Tibbie Shiels. Issy sucked up to everyone (and I mean everyone in the bar), Bert got an intensive belly rub and I successfully persuaded a lady from the Orkneys to fit a video camera to her wayward, stone deaf cat.

A shepherd may be a very able, trusty, and good shepherd, without a sweetheart - better, perhaps, than with one. But what is he without his dog?" James Hogg

The man was quite obviously a genius.

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Lucy on

I am too jealous for further comment!

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