|On top of Schiehallion|
|The first shot in Durness (recreated for posterity)|
- Bagged my first munro -- Schiehallion. Now, for those of you uninitiated in these things, a munro is any Scottish peak over an elevation of 3,000 feet. My friend Muriel and I had tried it earlier in the year, but were deterred by snow about half-way up. The second attempt was successful, however, and we viewed an awesome vista from the top.
- Went to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. What a sight! It is an incredible show celebrating the Armed Forces of Great Britain around the world and their history. Pageantry, music (you haven't heard anything until you have heard bagpipes with a Brazilian flavor to them), sentiment, fireworks -- if ever you have the opportunity, this alone is worth a trip to Scotland. Unless you also want to taste a deep-fried Mars Bar...
- Began learning the game of golf. Yes, I who am generally not an athlete am learning how to hit a tiny ball with a metal stick with the hope of making it go the way I want it to go. If you don't mind the somewhat blue language, take a look at Robin Williams' description of the origins of golf -- too accurate for words.
- Went with a group of new friends to Durness, which is way up in the northwest of the country. I actually hit my first golf ball on a course (as opposed to a driving range) and got some pictures of a barren, beautiful area of the land. I had not thought before coming to this place that any landscape without trees could be considered beautiful, but there is a hauntingly lovely quality here that rather defies description.
- Did more funerals.
- Visited the Isle of Arran on an absolutely perfect, sunny day -- which is unusual in Scotland.
- Walked on the "sacred ground" of St. Andrews Old Course. Who knew that you could do that on a Sunday afternoon? Because it is a publicly owned course, they close it for golf on Sundays and anyone who wants to have a picnic or a walk there can do it.
- Baptized babies!
- Saw Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham in concert -- more than worth the price of admission. They were celebrating their 25th anniversary of making music together, which means that they know each other well enough to know all the good stuff.
- Welcomed my cousins Jerry and Mary Hilton for a visit just after Christmas. We couldn't remember how long it had been since we had seen each other, so had a wonderful week of getting reacquainted.
- Decided it is time to sell my house in Georgia. I hope this is more successful than it has been in the past. Even if the day comes when I move back to America, I want to live in a ranch-style house so that my short-legged dogs don't have to worry about steps. Yes, I will buy a house based on my dogs....
And that brings us to the new year of 2012. Now you know.