Here comes the summer!

The flowers are blooming, nesting season is in full swing – I watched a fledgling robin being fed outside my bedroom window this morning – and the garden is so dry I’m scared I’m going to have to water it.
In Scotland.
This is almost unheard of!

It really does feel as if I’m moving into a new phase of my life. With Uppa Close now up and running with a definite degree of success (and another wee booking this morning), I feel as if I’m free to start living again. The past year and more has been almost exclusively devoted to renovating the flat. (I watched an episode of Restoration Man the other night, and the couple took far longer to restore their place than I did with Uppa Close, which made me feel a bit better – theirs may have been considerably bigger, but they also had a lot more money than I did!) I’m now keen to pick up where I left off.

Of course, I also need to keep the momentum going with the flat as well. So I’ll be blogging a lot about the local area, with an eye to seeing it from a visitor’s perspective. I shall become a tourist on my own doorstep – it’s astonishing what you overlook, and take for granted, when you live with it daily. As Robert Burns put it:
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! 
Of course, he was talking about being able to see ourselves through other folks’ eyes, but the sentiment is the same.

One of the threads of my life which I’m intending to resume again is my aim of walking the length of the Fife Coastal Path. I am doing it in stages – a day here, a day there: as and when I get the time, and the weather’s good! – but the beauty of personal challenges is that they are personal. This is how I’m choosing to do it, and by the time I’ve finished I will have walked exactly the same route, and the same distance, as the person who chooses to take a tent and walk the whole thing in a week.

Now, Uppa Close isn’t overly convenient for the Fife Coastal Path, which is on the other side of Scotland – and although it’s a fairly good location for the first part of the West Highland Way, by the time you get to Crianlarich you probably don’t want to be coming back to Renton in the evening. However, have you heard of the Three Lochs Way? It is one of Scotland’s Great Trails, with beautiful scenery, but is only 34 miles long. The route begins in Balloch, and then takes you past the south shore of Loch Lomond (freshwater), the Gare Loch and Loch Long (both sea lochs) and finally back to Loch Lomond, far up on its northwestern shore. The West Highland Railway Line is accessible at a few points along the route, making it perfectly possible to walk the Way in sections, and come home to Uppa Close at night.

The official website is here:
http://threelochsway.co.uk/

I have walked a couple of sections, but (being guilty of ignoring my own doorstep) not the whole route. In the name of research, I should do what I’m suggesting – do it in stages determined by rail stations, using the train. Another thing to add to the list of Things to Do with the Rest of My Life!

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