Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomond

When my Grandmother was in the hospital last summer before she passed away, I decided I was going to go to Scotland. I hadn’t been in years and I had family there plus I wanted to see English boy and needed an excuse, I mean I really didn’t want to tell people I was going over there to see a guy, that's pathetic really.

My Grandma said to me, “you going to the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.” I had no idea what she was talking about and since she was medicated I figured she didn’t know either. Eventually it came to me. She used to sing to us, “Oh! ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road, And I'll be in Scotland afore ye” she sang it on car rides and around the house. We all knew these lines by heart. It was the same for my mother growing up but when I discovered the next line of the song I realized she wasn’t talking nonsense. When she passed away I knew I needed to go over boy or not. I wanted to see the place was she was from and the land she sang about. She became Canadian and learned to love it here but her heart always remained in the land of her birth.

I saw the touristic sites in Scotland before, this time around there was only one thing I wanted to see and that was Loch Lomond. My cousin’s husband agreed to take me but warned me it wouldn’t be worth it to go if the weather was poor, the lake would be covered in fog and you wouldn’t be able to see a thing.

The day he took me started out horrible and I was ready to be disappointed, to come all this way to Scotland and not be able to see the Bonnie Bank of Loch Lomond. The rain came down, the sky was grey and fog had drifted across the road. A feeling of regret and disappointment washed over me. We waited in the car at a gift shop for a while hoping for the rain to stop. When it eventually lightened up I got out in my wellies, raincoat and umbrella and walked down to the banks of the lake. There the sky cleared in front of me showing bright blue in between the clouds. Rays of sun brightened the snow covered mountain peak in the distance. It was beautiful.

Scotland is a country rich in history, culture and tradition. People from this land are proud and humble. They are warm, friendly and welcoming. The countryside is stunning with beautiful lakes (known as Lochs), mountains (known as Bens e.g. Ben Nevis). Sheep roam the rolling green hills with a history so deep in the past that a Canadian cannot fathom, except when I hear the old song my Grandma would sing to me. I can feel the pride and passion and a shiver runs up my spine.

“Oh! ye'll take the high road and
I'll take the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love
Will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”

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