"Born with the Travel Bug" uglyscot's Profile

early years

I was born in the middle of WWII to a Scottish mother and English father. My mother would be sent off to the north of Scotland with me whenever the bombing grew intense, so from my earliest days I have been on the move, and in those days by train.
I still love the journey north by train, though now by electric or diesel, not steam . And remember how high the trains seemed to be in France, how fast in Italy, and how slow in Sudan, how shabby in Egypt, and how uncomfortable the wooden seats were in Switzerland.
In 1951 my family had their first holiday abroad, to France. This was most unusual in those days. The journey involved boat and train.This was followed in 1953 by a month in Norway. After this foreign travel took off generally, and my next trip was to Switzerland on a school trip; followed by Belgium in a student exchange.
In the 1950s the family bought a car , so from then on we did our Scottish holidays by road . This enabled us to take different routes, and we had other holidays in Britain itself.
One early day trip was to Stonehenge which sparked my interest in ancient history and geology.
[For more pictures of Stonehenge see my Stonehenge page and travelogue.]
My first experience of air travel was a month in Holland in 1963 to stay with a penfriend. I loved the experience of flying. Next was when I left UK to live in Sudan, and the trips to and fro. Travelling with young children is stressful and I only began to enjoy travel when I started to travel on my own after the children got married. Now I don't enjoy it any more. I sit looking at my watch to find only 5 minutes have passed!
Crossing the English Channel is fun especially by hovercraft. When we went to Norway by boat everyone was seasick. Other than that I've pottered around in my father's boats, and been on a felucca and a large boat on the NIle. Don't know if I'd fancy a cruise though.

A little further afield

In 1958 the family re-located to Scotland with the intention of living in Mother's village, but we ended up elsewhere in the region. .
I then had the opportunity to see many parts of this beautiful part of Britain, that has always been my spiritual home. I love the Western Highlands with its bare mountains and lochs. The east coast is flatter and colder, exposed as it is to the winds from the North Sea, but has its own special charms. Trips across to Skye, before the bridge was built, was an adventure. Driving from Tongue down through the centre of Sutherland along narrow roads with passing places was a real experience. The rail trip via Perth offers spectacular scenery.The northern coast has rugged cliffs, and white sandy beaches.
To me, Scotland has everything to offer, and my heart lifts the minute I cross the border.

Hardened traveller

In 1968 I went to live in Africa. My travel then concentrated on flying between my home and Uk every few years. I did some short trips inside the Sudan and a trip to Egypt and another to Kenya.
With my children growing older and fares expensive, my parents would arrange holidays in Italy as a sort of half-way house. Then Spain entered the picture, as my parents annually travelled south in the winter for a number of years.
With my children grown up and married, my wandering life has really taken off. When my husband was working in Cairo, I travelled frequently to UK, Italy, and the Gulf so that I could visit some of my children [or should that be , see the grandchildren], I have also accompanied him on his official trips to Rome, Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan , Cyprus ,Morocco and Lebanon.
Now that he has retired, it will be back to Sudan and my wanderings will cease.
Unlike other virtual tourists my world is rather narrow, but it is still an adventure to be told " I've booked you on ............ for the ........... to go to ......"

My Interests

At the age of 15 I took an interest in Ancient Egypt , which has never completely left me. In Sudan I used to be a member of the Archaeological society and go on trips to some sites; and even spent a week washing potsherds and measuring beads, nails and stone instruments for an archaeologist friend.
Prehistoric sites interest me. I always try to visit ancient sites if any are in the neighbourhood where I am visiting. When travelling around Uk in the 1950s we'd look out for long barrows and round barrows, as well as standing stones. I'm lucky that in my part of the country , Easter Ross, there are a lot of Pictish standing stones [See my pages for Shandwick, Nigg and Edderton; and the Broch under Helmsdale.] Illustrated is an Ogham stone found in a friend's garden.
Now my main interest is in my own past. I'm obsessed by genealogy, but cannot break the barrier beyond 1750. I have started visiting places where the ancestors lived [Shandwick, Balintore, Navidale, parts of north and east London, and Canterbury] and summer 2006 managed to explore the villages of my Norfolk and Suffolk ancestors.

At university, a course in Geology instilled in me a fascination with stones , minerals, fossils and rock formations. I collect interesting specimens from wherever I go.[see Cyprus warning]
And since I got my first box camera at age 9, I have always taken photos. Admittedly not very good ones until digital came along. As long as you have enough memory you can click away until something good appears.
I used to take a lot of snaps of our various animals but prefer to take pictures of my grandchildren nowadays. I have always liked taking pictures of places. I cannot understand people who flip rapidly through photographs if there are no people in them.
So, the vast majority of the photos on these pages are my own.. I only resort to borrowing when absolutely necessary.

Books and me

Before the computer took over my life, books were my greatest friends. I still travel with a book wherever I go- except to go shopping. I once went to a disco and spent the evening in the cloakroom reading an Agatha Christie mystery [The Murder of Roger Ackroyd] , to the horror of my girl friends.
I read many different kinds of books- but nowadays the thicker the better. I have had phases of reading almost anything: British literature, Shakespeare, poetry, Russian literature, detective and mystery stories , science fiction, romance, sagas, travel books, biography and autobiography, historical romances, parapsychology- almost anything except politics and self-help philosophy. Some of my students called me 'encyclopaedia' because I seemed to know something about almost anything, but it is all just picked up from books.
As a child I lived on Enid Blyton, Malcolm Saville and Arthur Ransome.
Then moved on to Dennis Wheatley, Dornford Yates and Agatha Christie.
I loved "Gone with the Wind", the book. Nowadays I read between 200-300 books in a good year, but few really stand out in my memory.

My favourite travel book in recent years is Florence Nightingale's "Letters from Egypt'. The most recent was Michael Palin's 'Sahara', but I find him condescending and sometimes naive, especially in his documentaries! So, now I'd rather go to places than read about them before hand, even guide books. An exception is the guide to the Egyptian Museum which is absolutely gorgeous.

Not really a travel book but history was The biography of Florence Baker, describing in detail her travel to discover the source of the Nile. Gruesome and fascinating.
Another big read which I enjoyed was the book [1241, I think] on how China discovered the American Continent long before Columbus.

Because I cannot find books in English readily in Sudan, I have invested in a Kindle.

Likes and Dislikes

I'm interested in people, but don't like being with a crowd.
I like swimming but am not keen on water.
I like seeing new places but am uneasy flying.
I like mountains to look at but am terrified of heights.
I like driving, but am a terrible passenger..

I'm a typical Pisces, except that I don't drink alcohol.
I dabble in astrology, and keep an open mind about many of the new age fads.

I've got an ear for languages, but no ear for music. There are a few singers I like, and a few songs; but that's it..

I'm my own worst enemy , and my own best friend.

And I'm still trying to know who and what I am.

On the other hand
I hate being accused of things I didn't do.
I hate being told how to run my life
I hate people who try to take advantage of me
and I hate violence

recent and future travels

Return to Sudan in August 2006.Travel severely restricted to the odd trip into the Gezira - Wad Medani and Abu Ushar.
In February 2007 back to Cairo for 10 days but I was ill so it was a wasted journey.June-September 2007 to Dubai to my daughter for 3 weeks which became 3 months.August 2007 made a brief trip into Oman.October/November 2007 a week each in London and Wales. We'd planned a few days in Cairo but airport security/bureaucracy prevented that.November/December 2007: Husband had business in India . We stayed in Delhi and visited Mumbai . Then our planned holiday to Agra, Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri. It was a nice trip except for me breaking my leg. We then spent a week with our daughter in Dubai.
2008: I made several forays into Gezira Province in Sudan.
In March we went to the north to see the new Merowe Dam, Jebel Barkal, the Pyramids there and at Nuri, and the tomb at El Kurru. On the way home we stopped at the pyramids at Bejrawiya [Meroe]. April in Paris. Shameful, but first time. We managed to see so much. May: A week in Warsaw , where I saw a lot of Ewa [evaanna]. To London for birth of 5th grandchild; and Wales to my daughter and her two children [and don't forget Pattypoo] and trips to Conwy, Chepstow and Tintern Abbey. June :To and fro between Cardiff and London. Meetings with Diana [diosh], and Elodie {Elodie_Caroline.] Trip to Canterbury. July - back to Khartoum. October-unexpected trip to London as husband having urgent medical procedures .Wandered around London with VT diosh in spite of the cold.
2009 January: trip into Gezira province; second trip to Merowe, Jebal Barkal, Nuri and Begrawiya.February-June : London and Cardiff. Had a week in Edinburgh.July back to Khartoum, where I fell out of the plane, breaking left leg again.October: 10 days in Cairo to wedding of [inactive] VT-member Egyptian_Dahlia ,. We also explored Zamalek.
2010 day trip up to the Sixth Cataract north of Khartoum , ate al fresco and had a trip along the gorge by boat. May-June: Trip to Uk staying with VT-diosh for a few days and met two VT -ers Celia and Jenniflower. Then by train to Inverness to my cousin and then Rugeley to meet my father's cousin for the first time, then Nottingham, for a week. June. Flew from LHR to Cairo. I met up with husband and we flew to Damascus for a workshop. One night in Damascus and then drove to Lattakia. Twelve days later, back to Damascus for sight seeing before return to Khartoum.
2011 January-February to Cairo. our supposed holiday ended up including the Revolution [ shots during the night ] and a premature departure..February trip to Nagaa, in Sudan, to the temple of Hathor, The lion Temple and Temple of Amun. Then Day trip to Jabal Al Awliya , Sudan, drove across the dam; and bought some fish. May, United Kingdom: Scotland: Edinburgh, Inverness, North Berwick, Tain.June, England: London; Yorkshire, Durham and met VT Maykal; Wales: Cardiff.July : Yorkshire, London and a river trip with VT diosh. Cardiff in August before my return to Sudan .October : Back to Cardiff: from the heat to the cold. Chance to meet Grete and David. And Pattypoo again.
2012 Feb- May, Back to Khartoum for daughter's wedding.End May, Back to Cardiff for a couple of months. Met pattypoo again..Husband came and we went to the Forest of Dean,and saw dinosaur footprints in the rocks at Sully.
Mid July back to Sudan to the wettest spell since the floods in the 80s..
September to Cardiff and cold and wet. Trip to the north of Scotland and stayed with my cousin. Met a schoolfriend , first time in 50 years. Nov 5 back to Sudan to get some warmer weather
2013 Early January to mid April. Back to Cardiff with my youngest daughter and her daughter.June 2013 a week in Abu Dhabi, and then back to Cardiff. Back to Sudan and Abu Dhabi again for son's wedding in August. Return to Cardiff.
January 2014 trip to Musawarrat el Sofra and then the Pyramids at Bejrawiya [Meroe] with husband and VT Justin Cuncliffe. February 2014 Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Cheddar. March 2014 Scotland for 10 days. May 2014 Muscat , Oman for three weeks.


Because my husband is a forester, I've learned a lot about trees and plants. I don't have green fingers; our garden is a disaster because of water problems and a ravenous tortoise, and , in our absence, neglect. The only plants that flourish are bougainvillea and cacti.
I like sweet peas, fuschia, snowdrops, rhododendrons and roses.
I like the willow tree, monkey puzzle tree, cypress, silver birch, copper beech, cedars,magnolia, baobab and palms.

So don't be surprised if there are a number of pictures of trees and shrubs and flowers on my pages

  • Intro Updated Apr 7, 2014
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Comments (493)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Mar 30, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Nice Profile Page Shane.........our likes and dislikes are very similar

  • moiraistyx's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Sorry I missed your birthday. I hope it was wonderful.

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 6:26 PM

    Happy Birthday!

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Happy Birthday Shane!

    • uglyscot's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      Thank you. I had a nice day with two of my children , a daughter in law and two grandchildren.

  • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Happy Birthday Shane !

    • uglyscot's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      Thanks Katherine. . I thought everyone had forgotten , but my stalwarts came up with the greetings in the end. I am in Wales with daughter and 2 grandchildren. My son and wife came from Abu Dhabi so that was great having them share my birthday too. My youngest daughter had a' party' for me before I left Sudan, so I haven't done too badly.

    • Ekaterinburg's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2014 at 1:35 AM

      Sounds like a great celebration Shane, you did well :)

  • tobytyke's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    Ay up again, where did that last 12 moths go!!!!!, I nearly forgot, but then how could I forget the 28th Feb !!!! hope you had a good one as well, all the best

  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Happy Birthday Shane! Hope you have a wonderful day!

    • uglyscot's Profile Photo
      Mar 1, 2014 at 12:10 AM

      Thanks Donna. With two children and two grandchildren with me, it was a lovely day.

  • Sienlu's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Happy birthday Shane

  • RickinDutch's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 9:57 AM

    Happy Birthday Shane!

  • FruitLover's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Happy Birthday, Shane! Greetings from Jerusalem! Avi

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“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought”

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Khartoum, Sudan
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