Boots by the loch

Published 11 December 2022

A pair of walking boots on some stones next to a loch in Scotland
My walking boots rest near the edge of St Mary’s Loch.

Living as I do in Manchester, I’m not an avid viewer of the BBC Scotland TV channel. But someone at the channel must have an interest in the great outdoors, as they have a habit of commissioning programmes about it. They often seem like they’ve been put together on an incredibly tight budget, but they’re presented by people with a love of adventure.

Roaming in the Wild for example, sees two men take to canoes, sleep in snow caves in the Cairngorms, and even attempt to ride along Loch Ness in a pedalo. And the other day I came across Iain Robertson Rambles where the “River City actor Iain Robertson” does some walking.

From what I can tell, it’s all mostly recorded by Iain himself with a handheld camera. And I must be honest, it looks a bit like a dodgy YouTube video at parts. All wonky camera shots and extreme close ups of faces. But Iain’s very engaging, and the show’s very enjoyable.

It caught my eye especially as the first three episodes of the second series see Iain walk across the Southern Upland Way. I wasn’t entirely sure how you could do justice to a 212 mile walking trail in three half hour episodes. But Iain’s done a good stab. And has reminded me what great scenery there is in that part of the world. Even if the first episode did down sell the number of repetitive forest plantations there are on the first part of the walk.

It also made me cast a reminiscing eye over my photographs, thinking I’d share my favourite think of the picture above – one of my most favourite from the whole trail. But it turned out I shared most of them in 2012. But I found one I don’t think I did. And hey, even if I did, it was ten years ago and you’ve probably forgotten.

It was at the end of the 12th day of walking and I’d arrived at the Tibbie Shields Inn, on the edge of St Mary’s Loch. The pub itself closed a few years ago apparently, but the camping ground next to the pub is still open by all accounts. It was on that camping field that I stayed the night and took this photograph of my weary boots taking a much needed rest from my feet.

Iain Robertson took a swim in St Mary’s Loch. I am afraid I didn’t. Although I kind of wish I did.

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