Get ‘im in the Trossachs! Day 22, Glasgow to Inverness

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On day 22, the Olympic torch will be making its way up north from Glasgow to Inverness.  The first stage of this 120-mile(ish) journey will take the torch up the side of Loch Lomond, right through the Trossachs National Park.

The park is an area of around 720 square miles, stuffed to bursting with scenic lochs and mountains (among them 21 Munros, if you’re into collecting mountains), including the eponymous Trossachs range. The name comes from the Scottish Gaelic Na Trosaichean, which means “A bristly place” – not unsuitable for the majestic but harsh Scottish landscape. The most famous loch in the park is Loch Lomond, whose beauty and grandeur has been inspiring writers of prose, poetry and song for centuries.

Nearby Loch Katrine inspired Sir Walter Scott (a frequent visitor to the Trossachs) to write his famous poem, The Lady of the Lake.

The rose is fairest when ’t is budding new,
And hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.
The rose is sweetest wash’d with morning dew,
And love is loveliest when embalm’d in tears.
Lady of the Lake. Canto iv. Stanza 1.

Should the muse need a little help, the area also contains a dozen whisky distilleries!

My wildcat shifter novella Snared is set in Callander, a small town right on the edge of the Trossachs National Park where Englishman Martin Lowrie stops on a walking holiday.

Here’s the blurb, and a scenic excerpt:

When Martin Lowrie rescues a wildcat from a snare, he thinks a few scratches and a tetanus jab are the worst consequences he’ll have to face. But then he meets the enigmatic and strangely compelling Calum. He spends the night with the handsome, unsettling Irishman and discovers Calum’s secret: he’s the wildcat Martin rescued, in human form. But Calum’s not the only werecat in the village, and the others aren’t so keen to risk Martin revealing their secret, no matter how much Calum wants to protect Martin from harm.

***

Martin was feeling a lot better about life by the time he clomped back into the village that evening, his boots somewhat weighed down by a thick coating of good Scottish mud. He’d made it a fair way along toward Strathyre, taking in theFallsofLenyalong the way. The recent rain had swollen the river, and the falls were at the height of both splendour and violence, a vast mass of water crashing with deafening force around a rocky outcrop that looked much as if a giant had carelessly tossed a boulder into the middle of the torrent. A few spindly trees clung bravely to the crag, showing the rugged determination to survive that seemed to characterize all the inhabitants of these harsh lands.

Round about Ben Leny the skies had miraculously cleared, a picture-postcard view over Loch Lubnaig appearing quite suddenly, like a desert mirage. The sunlight was glinting with almost painful brightness off the mirror-like surface of the loch. It was one of those magical moments in time, one of those memories that kept you going when the rain was soaking through your so-called waterproofs and you’d just realized you’d taken a wrong turning two hills back. Perfect peace, and the knowledge that here was something far greater than you were. That was why Martin loved the countryside so much; there wasn’t a mountain or lake in the world that gave a toss whether you were gay or straight.

Snared is available from Dreamspinner Press and on Kindle.

JL Merrow

Writer of (mainly) m/m romance, and fearless killer of bunnies.
Find me at: www.jlmerrow.com

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About jlmerrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com

10 responses »

  1. Mmm… mountains. Think I need to go back to Scotland again sometime in the not-too-distant future 🙂 My most abiding memories of our weekend trip from Oxfordshire to Poolewe are of the drive up (via the A9 to Inverness) and back (via the Great Glen and Rannoch Moor). The scenery (especially on the way up, with the mountains being slowly revealed behind early-morning mist and cloud-cover) even beat the trip to the whisky distillery for ‘most abiding memory’!

    • Coming from the South, a lot of the Scottish scenery really blew my mind the first time I saw it – I couldn’t believe I was still in Britain! 🙂
      And yes, those distilleries – once you’ve tasted single malt, the blended stuff just doesn’t compare!

    • Thank you! Yes, the trouble with Scotland is that they put it so far away! 😉
      (All the US peeps are now wondering what on earth I’m whinging on about *g*)

  2. We had a holiday with some friends at Callander a few years ago – I don’t think it stopped raining once the entire week! Lovely area, though, with some stunning scenery. We managed a brief (if damp) walk alongside Loch Katrine.

  3. *wistful sigh* I love Scotland. It’s ages since I have been though. I’m going to be wanting to take all my holidays in the UK for a while. Given sufficient midge and tick repellant. Oh and the horseflies! They could empty an arm.

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