Our first guest writer from the Scotlanders team is Dougie Baird, who shares with us a wee insight into his life as a travel blogger…
First I’d better explain who I am. My name is Dougie Baird, and I was born and bred in the Cowcaddens area of Glasgow. For many younger years I spent my travel adventures doon the water at our wonderful seaside resorts.
Moving on a few years (ok, a lot of years!) to now and I am totally hooked on travelling our planet.
As a travel blogger you spend most of your spare time travelling, planning and recording your trips. The world of travel has changed so much in these days of the internet and social media.
Here’s an insight into two weeks in the life of a Scottish Travel Blogger…
On May 21, I had the pleasure of meeting a special lady down at the tail of the bank. The Queen Mary 2 had come up the Clyde to thank Clyde Shipbuilders for their part in the 175 years of the Cunard company. It was a wonderful event, and a special day for some of the older Clyde workers who had worked on the Queens.
The highlight for me was when the ocean-going liner left port – there was clapping and large cheers from all along the banks, and from the huge crowds all along the Esplanade in Greenock.
The following weekend we walked along the Forth and Clyde Canal to Bowling. I enjoyed watching a yacht making its way through the lock system, and asked the crew about the importance of the canal. Simple answer: it saves time. No canal would mean a long sail up the North Sea and round John O’Groats to get to the Western Isles.
Scotlanders and ScotlandHour
The following Wednesday was #Scotlandhour which was one of my better ideas to promote our country. At present it’s a monthly chat on Twitter about where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in Bonnie Scotland – a chance for travellers to plan a visit to our country.
It has been live since August 2011 and getting more popular every month. Hopefully it will become a valuable marketing tool for our country. No one else has used Twitter to promote tourism like this.
It is always the last Wednesday of the month, 9-10pm for a Scottish tourism get-together. Around 500 people take part from all around our country to share images and talk about their favourite spots. I hope you can join us on July 29 where the theme will be Hills & Glens and the Great Outdoors.
I am very proud to be part of this forward-thinking way to tell the world about our country.
This week three members of the Scotlanders – myself, Kim and Neil headed north. My base was Boat of Garten, where I had the good fortune of going on a wonderful 15 mile hike with Andy from Scot Mountain Holidays. Andy, Rebecca and their son Gregor also invited me into their home and fed me, entertained and gave me a bed for the night. What a superb set up they have there! The walk was special with great views over the Cairngorms mountain range.
Andy is very knowledgeable and explained a lot about how the area was formed. During the ice ages the mountain caps were frozen to the ground for long periods and this actually protected the rounded summits from glacial erosion dissecting the area. Many valleys are littered with glacial deposits from the period of glacial retreat. It really is a stunning part of Scotland.
Late that evening I went over to the Speyside Wildlife centre for their dusk animal watch. Badgers were the stars of the show but the Pine Martens were cute too!
Neil and Kim had taken the more dare-devil option with Ace Adventures. They did White Water Rafting, Cliff Jumping and a bit of Glamping. Rather them than me.
The following morning myself and fellow Scotlander Kim went to see The United Kingdom’s only free roaming reindeer herd in their natural habitat. Our guide Hen introduced us to the herd. There were a few rules we had to follow, and the one about standing clear when you see the reindeer lift its tail brought a snigger from the visitors.
After a brief stop at the stunning Loch Morlich, we headed down the road and home.
The Scotlander girls had an Outlander week – but I’m sure they’ll tell you all about that themselves in a later blog update.
We’ll have another update from the Scotlanders on July 15.
Mair from Dougie
The next ScotlandHour will take place at 9pm, Wednesday, July 29.