"Welcome To My Views on Earth - Starting Scotland" scotlandscotour's Profile

Scotland - Highlands, Wild & Free

Hello! Welcome to my honest, heart-felt views of our world! The one and only Planet Earth. Please share it and love life.

A bit about me: I'm 40, and married to Rachel - we met summer '03 on the Isle of Skye. (See Bluewoad for her story!).

We live in beautiful, Orkney, North Scotland . Rachel has developed superb websites for the local Government. I teach ancient crafts like fire making, outdoor skills and work to improve tourism, in the UK. Now I'll pass this experience on to you, through captivating photographs, and truthful tips, laced with humour and local insight.

I started by writing helpful, local advice, in my tips of Scotland, Edinburgh, Highland, Isle of Skye, Glasgow and Perth pages. Most have very telling pictures, revealing a country and a perspective rarely seen in tourist literature - the honest truth, good and bad. Explore with me!

See bottom of page for Latest News

Highland Scotland - The Mountain Man

Wild, open space, cleared of villages during the "Highland Clearances" of the 18th & 19th centuries, to make way for sheep grazing by landowners, deer stalking and pheasant or grouse shooting.

This is the real me,
avoiding the crowds but still hassled by sheep. I am a qualified mountain leader, an expert on mountain navigation, "wild" camping and survival skills, specialising in a unique approach to experiencing and living the history, culture and environment of Scotland. I love exploring and helping others discover the magic and mystery, through moonlit walks, camp fires, tree climbing, playing in stone circles, ceilidhs, sunsets, tasting special foods and rediscovering prehistoric crafts.

Nowaday the mountains and hills are a paradise for walking, cycling and relaxing. See my Scotland pages for web addresses and useful mountaineering information, or write to me for advice.

Biting Insects - Midges are Hell's Angels

Midges can make life hell. "*"*"*"*"*

Tip: Avoid low lying and wet areas during the summer months of June, July and August. On days with no wind, keep walking to create moving air, head uphill and if that doesn't work, keep to the Eastern side of Scotland.

The West Coast suffers the most, so try to visit there outwith those 3 months. Conveniently, you'll then also avoid most tourists, who can clog the roads and attractions. More details on the Midge on my Scotland tips.

This picture was taken in September, one of the best times of year to explore the West Coast.

See my Scotland Warning Tips for the truth about midges, how to avoid them and how to deal with them.

History of Scotland

This is a can of worms!

Sigh, until I can distill the complex and violent past to give you the fact and the legend, here is a beautiful photo of a Crannog.

The Crannog Centre on Loch Tay in Perthshire is well worth spending a whole day at. Seriously. It is a four star visitor attraction, and as well as explaining about life here in the bronze / iron ages, you will learn skills like fire lighting, wool spinning and they have lots of festivals. A very dynamic place, and unique.

I love to show people the abandoned villages and shielings, of a way of life now lost. I delight in showing visitors to Scotland the history of ordinary people, those who never wrote the selective history of the powerful and victorious. So I focus on the lives of the poor, women, the oppressed and the non-literate (including those with a vocal tradition, like the Picts and Celts). Its fun!

Scots, Celts, Picts, Vikings, Britons, Gauls

Who are the people of Scotland?

A country that so much identifies itself by "not being English" has some difficulty knowing its geneology. Nowadays, Scotland needs more people. It needs you!

I'm from Wales, just like the Clan Wallace, who are now famous thanks to William Wallace, who at the end of the 13th century got very pissed off with the English occupiers and rebelled.

While Robert d'Bruce hung about in the shadows waiting his time, the warrier Wallace got hung, drawn and quartered in London for treason.

Scotland now has this expensive and ugly Parliament in Edinburgh, but is like the little arm on a big body - England has the money, people and power still. Can we live together?

Scotland's Shame - An Abandoned Countryside

After the delight of discovering open spaces and fresh air, 'wilderness' and countryside, reality dawns:

This is a man-made landscape of exploited soil, evacuated townships, privately owned estates with little productivity except deer and pheasant being bred for sport shooting. The tennant farmers are leaving, and no-one is replacing them. Perfectly wonderful stone cottages, farmhouses and mills litter the landscape - abandoned, and left to decay in the harsh winter winds.

The less wealthy live in city 'schemes', whilst the land owners happily see the countryside become a museum, depopulated and neglected.

This farm still had photos of football and popstars in the childrens bedroom, but the door was left open (deliberately?) so the wind, rain and frost soon destroyed it.

Rachel - Before We Met - On The Isle of Skye

My wife, Rachel, the morning before we met. Whilst she was looking out to sea, beside the ruins of this castle, I was oblivious to her existence.

A few hours later, she would book into Portree Hostel, which I was then Managing, for the "owners". (I now have nothing to do with that place). (See Hostel Accommodation for information, web links).

That night, we started talking, and within hours we were falling in love. It was the most amazing night of our lives! Within weeks we were engaged.

Our wonderful wedding, and Rachel's own story of her holiday that turned into marriage and moving from USA to Scotland, is told on Bluewoad

We are so lucky and happy. That is what happens in Scotland. Yes, the weather can be wet, cloudy and windy - but there is more to life than sunshine - things like clean air, healthy communities, good government, peace and love.

Anyone else fancy joining us?!

United Kingdom, Wales, England and Spain

All are now getting the "Malcolm Treatment" - my candid, honest and insightful tips, with the best pictures I can manage - to convey a "feeling".

Something a little different - and refreshing - come and look!

I have explored the United Kingdom like few others on earth - obsessed with seeing every town, footpath and beach. It is a lifetimes work. Sadly, I never took my camera for most of this - but if you want to know "my story" about places - ask me! If there isn't a tip yet, write and I'll post ideas, "on request", if I know.

This VT site started because I felt the "true" Scotland wasn't being seen - and now I realise I can help you discover the real UK, the real world too. I have to put a Geography degree to some use ;-)

This is a picture (May 2004) taken in Spain, near Ronda in Andalucia.

News! - 2005 We have moved to the Orkney Islands to live!!! A dream come true. Not much sunshine but an inspiring place, beautiful, clean, safe and friendly - full of history, crafts, nice people and more standing stones than you could ever imagine. Fantastic.

Latest Sept 2004 - Scotland Photographs - See Orkney and my Scotland Travel Tips.

For something different read this story: My Cattle Drovers Walk

Just begun tips for London.

USA - 3 Weeks in USA in September & October.

Orkney Special News - November 2004 - See Orkney

2005 - I vow to travel less, reduce my Carbon Footprint and stop being selfish - VT helps me explore places without screwing up the planet with Global Warming. We have sold the car ... bicycles and walking for now ... and I am giving up my addiction to cheap air flights.

2006 - 2009 - Lots happening - will try to find a page to write it - see link here soon! Everything is wonderful - best wishes from Five Senses! We are exploring the Shetland Islands and also spent a month on a roadtrip across USA from Atlantic to Pacific - lots to share!

  • Intro Updated Jun 7, 2009
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Comments (236)

  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Hi Malcolm. I love your Highland cow and calf photo. We fell utterly in love with them when we visited Scotland. You live in a wonderful country. We had a great time and were very impressed with the Scots we met. Most of our time was spent out in the country in rented cottages although we did spend 3 or 4 days in Edinburgh at the end of the trip. Our only disappointment was the heather was not blooming so we'll be back to see the heather in bloom.

  • planxty's Profile Photo
    Oct 3, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    Hello Malcolm, I cannot believe we haven't virtually bumped into each other here before. I am just starting a bit if a trawl through your pages which look fascinating, I love the history of the UK. Quick technical note, your "bluewoad" hyperlink appears to be broken. Speak soon, fergy.

    • scotlandscotour's Profile Photo
      Oct 7, 2012 at 12:19 AM

      cheers - bluewoad was sadly taken down years ago - an oversight to have the link here - much out of date - thanks for alerting me :)

      Keep in touch.


  • Parisforless's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    I’ve just posted the VT MEET IN PARIS 21st and 22nd June 2012
    21st June (the longest day of the year) for the Fete de la Musique.
    This FREE event is not to be missed and you should expect music, dance, local food and many drinks along the way all night long.
    Join me also on Friday 22nd June, to continue in the same rhythm – picnic and dancing along the river.
    Time and place for both meets TBA.

    Hope you can come

    Svetlana Bellon (parisforless)

  • nani80's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Hi Malcolm, I loved you photos and especially interesting tips, and will definitely read them all before my next trip to Scotland.
    Best wishes from Croatia!

  • ocicat's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Wishing you the happiest of New Years!

  • leics's Profile Photo
    Dec 19, 2009 at 2:36 AM

    Hope you have a good Christmas and an excellent 2010! :-) J

  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    HI - you are Featured Member right now; I will get back to your pages soon--sounds intriguing!

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM

    Finally - I feel I am getting to know Scotland - and, the added joy of a love story! Lovely hp - grazie, <(•¿•)>

  • highlandlaura's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2009 at 2:54 PM

    Malcolm, Love your info on Scotland. Different lines of my fam moved to America in the 1700-1800s. Part from Scotland, clan Gunn possibly. Hope to visit again soon.

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Sep 2, 2009 at 1:40 PM

    Mh, we were just told that it's told Cologne in Englisch... Like Roma/Rome or Firence/Florence I guess. You think I should better call it Koln? Then it has to be Köln or Koeln (as in Englisch there's no ö) :-) Cheers from Australia!

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Real Name
Malcolm Wallace
Orkney, United Kingdom
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