Happy Saturday to you. As this is posted, I will soon be leaving for Stirling. I’m going to watch Hibs but also to cram another Intercity post in. Stirling is one of my favourite Scottish cities and I like being there, particularly up at the Castle which I always say is my favourite big castle in Scotland. In an ideal world, I would be able to combine the football with the castle and everything else but I know what I’m like. I’ll want a lie-in and leave at lunchtime, with little time beyond a quick wander and heading straight to the football then home. Dunfermline was like that last week. I had plans to do an Intercity walk and take a leisurely daunder up to East End Park. Not so. I had a lie-in and forgot that getting across town would be made harder by an Orange walk. So, I found another way to the bus station (by taxi and Subway) and eventually got to East End Park just in time to stand in a long queue for steak bridies (which were braw). Hibs won 3-1, incidentally, and played in the new away strip, which I may acquire soon.
Before I go into Hibs mode, I wanted to say a little something about the Women’s World Cup. I tuned into the Final just in time to see Megan Rapinoe, for it was she, scoring a penalty to put the USA one up against the Netherlands. The USA won and deservedly so. The main effect of the Women’s World Cup must be to raise awareness and to bring more people into the game. Women’s football in Scotland is very much secondary and it shouldn’t be so. I’ve thought a lot the last couple of weeks about Erin Cuthbert. She said that she achieved her dream by just playing at the World Cup. I imagine that there were a few people who watched this tournament and wondered whether they could reach that stage in a few years. I hope so.
As a sideline, read Laura Waddell’s article in the Scotsman about Megan Rapinoe and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
This is turning into a football post and it’s really not supposed to be. Last Wednesday night I went up to Arbroath for the first pre-season friendly of the new season. I left work and made my way into town for the train up to Arbroath. I hadn’t been out of the Central Belt for a week or two and the train ride was brilliant, just being able to sit and read, write, stare out of the window and tan my bag of fruit. (‘Tan’, I should explain, is a Scottish word for eating and generally devouring food. It also means to steal or break windows. I didn’t steal or break any windows on this adventure.) At Arbroath, we had a chippy sat looking over the harbour. In the distance, ten miles or so out to sea, was the Bell Rock Lighthouse, a wonder of engineering. Every time I’m in Arbroath, I like to try and find it on the horizon. Also visible was the Fife coast, including Tentsmuir Forest, which I’ve meant to go to for a while. I wasn’t there to sightsee; I was there to watch the Hibs and they got beat. The young goalie, Paddy Martin, had a bad night. But the football was secondary. Gayfield, Arbroath’s ground, is very close to the North Sea. Indeed, according to Wikipedia, it is the closest ground to the sea in Europe. On a cold winter’s day, it would be dismal. On a summer’s night with the light the right way, it was glorious. Gayfield is an old-fashioned ground with a small grandstand and terracing. You can walk around the side of the pitch, indeed the full perimeter of the pitch. I absolutely loved it. The combination of the football, decent Vimto bonbons, a big sky and a sea was just what I needed.
My travelling book to Dunfermline last weekend was Underland by Robert Macfarlane, which I am still working through. I took it with me to Carlisle on Tuesday too. It seems to be yielding more from taking it slow, savouring rather than bolting it down. The chapters about walking in Slovenia and the Paris catacombs have been brilliant. Robert Macfarlane’s writing is tightly-packed and can be exhausting to read at times but I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. For a change of pace, though, I might starting reading one a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago, Confronting The Classics, a book of essays by Mary Beard. I started reading it the day after I got it but I’ve not been able to get back to it. Mary Beard is one of life’s good people and I get the impression I’ll finish that book with a broader perspective on the world.
Oh, before I forget (and I almost did), every year the Scottish Book Trust has a writing competition. This year’s is called Blether and SBT have been publishing a selection of entries online. Mine is the second piece in issue 15 so have a read.
Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 13th July 2019. Tomorrow’s post is Intercity. Next Wednesday is about history and why I like it. Next Thursday? It’s a bonus walk. Whatever you do this weekend, have a good one. Peace.