Our adaptation of The Five Orange Pips (Ch3)

`To tell my story,’ said John Openshaw, `I must start at the beginning…

My grandfather had two sons – my uncle Elias and my father, Joseph. My father had a small business in Coventry. He invented a tyre that didn’t puncture. It was very successful. Eventually, he sold the business and retired.

When he was a young man, my uncle Elias went to Florida and bought a plantation. He did very well. Then war broke out between the North and the South. He fought for Jackson’s army and later for Hood. He became a colonel. When General Lee stopped fighting, my uncle went back to his plantation and worked there for another three or four years. He grew rich. Around 1867 or 1868, he came back to Europe and bought a small piece of land in Sussex, near Horsham. He was a single man, fierce and quick-tempered. But he mostly kept himself to himself. I don’t think he ever visited Horsham. He had a garden with two or three fields around his house. Sometimes, he stayed in his room, smoked heavily, and refused see anyone. Even his own brother.

But he liked me. When he first met me, I was twelve years old. This was in 1878. When I stayed at his house, we played backgammon and chess. He was very kind to me. He gave me the keys to his house, and I was allowed to go anywhere. But there was one room that I wasn’t allowed to go into. No one was. It was always locked. One day, I looked through the keyhole, but I couldn’t see much. Just some old trunks and suitcases…’

John Openshaw stopped talking and looked into the fire.


The Five Orange Pips Chapter 2

‘Come in,’ said Holmes.

A man entered. He was young and well-dressed. But his raincoat was wet, and the umbrella in his hand dripped water. He looked nervous: his face was pale and his eyes were heavy and tired.

`I am very sorry,’ the man said. `I hope I am not troubling you tonight. I am afraid I have brought some of the storm with me into your warm home.’

`Give me your coat and umbrella,’ said Holmes, standing. `I will hang them up on this hook; they will dry quickly. You have come from the South West, I see.’

`Yes, from Horsham. But how did you know?’

`There is clay and chalk on your shoes. It is quite distinctive,’ said Holmes.

`I have come for advice,’ said the man.

`I can give that easily,’ said Holmes.

`And your help.’

`That is not so easy.’

`I have heard about you, Mr Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast. He told me that you helped him in the Tankerville Club scandal.’

`I remember him,’ said Holmes. `He was wrongly accused of cheating at cards.’

`He said that you can solve anything.’

`He said too much.’

`He also said that you are never beaten.’

`Not quite true. Three men and one woman have beaten me. But generally, I am quite successful.’

`Then you might be successful with me.’

`Sit down,’ Holmes told the man, `and give me some details about your case.’

The man sat. `This is such a strange and mysterious case, and it happened to my own family.’

Holmes pulled his chair closer towards the fire and sat too. `Please start your story from the beginning. After you finish, I will ask questions about the most important details.’

The young man stretched his wet feet towards the hot fire. Then he began his story. ‘My name,’ he said, `is John Openshaw… ‘

Our adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and The Five Orange Pips (Ch1)

When I look at my notes about Sherlock Holmes and his cases between the years 1882 and 1890, I can see that there are many strange stories indeed. Which stories to tell and which not? It is difficult to decide. Some have been in the newspapers, but some have not. Some have puzzled Sherlock Holmes and are too long to tell. And some were never solved! All of this leads me to this particular story. It was never solved, but it so surprising that I must tell it anyway…

The story begins in September, 1887. That day, the wind screamed and the rain beat against the windows. That night, the wind grew stronger. Sometimes it sounded like a wild animal in a cage, and sometimes it cried down the chimney like a sobbing child. As usual, Sherlock Holmes was in his chair beside the fire. He was reading, and I was sitting across from him, reading too. My wife was visiting her mother. Once again, I was back at my old place, that famous house on Baker Street.

‘Was that the bell?’ I asked, looking up. ‘Who would come on such a night? A friend of yours, perhaps?’

‘Except you,’ replied Holmes, ‘I have no friends. And I do not encourage visitors.’

‘A client then?’

‘If so, it must be a serious case,’ said Holmes. ‘Why else come here on a dismal night like tonight? But I think it might be a visitor for our landlady,’ said Holmes, and he began reading again.

But Holmes was wrong. Soon, we heard footsteps. They came up the stairs. Then there was a chap at our living room door.


A Sherlock Holmes adventure: The Five Orange Pips

Starting next week, we will serialise A Sherlock Holmes adventured called The Five Orange Pips. It will be for intermediate students. Happy reading!

The Great Glen Way Chapter 9 (final): From Drumnadrochit to Inverness

Today is a long walk, the longest of the trip. The distance from Drumnadrochit to Inverness is 29km. After a lovely breakfast with excellent coffee, we say goodbye to the owners of Kilmore farmhouse, Colin and Frances, and start walking. We are lucky again: the weather is sunny, but not too warm.Soon, we are on the hills. The highest point of the walk is 380m high. It’s not much, but there are lovely views everywhere.

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After about 15km, we see signs for a café. We follow them and they lead to a campsite. The campsite offers tea and food. We rest for a while and watch a large, black pig wander freely.

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After our rest, we continue walking. Again, we pass so many fallen trees.

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Soon, we see Inverness in the distance.

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We walk towards the town and enter the grounds of an old hospital. After that, we cross the River Ness on a beautiful suspension bridge.

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Then we see Inverness castle, and we are happy.

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We have walked the Great Glen Way.

by EFLshorts.com

Our adaptation of H.G. Wells’s classic tale The Country of the Blind (Final chapter)

When Nunez thought of the blind world in the valley below, he knew that it was not his world. He thought about turning around, about looking down at it one last time. But he didn’t. He kept his eyes on the snow and ice and kept climbing.

He thought of home and the world beyond the mountains. His world. He thought of all the towns and villages with their houses and busy streets. He thought of the countryside with its rivers that ran all the way to the sea. The sea – its endless waves, its sandy islands. And ships! Ships out at sea on journeys around the greater world.

Nunez looked up. He saw a route up the mountains and followed it. As he continued to climb, he thought of Medina sarote. She was beautiful, but with every step, she was growing further and further away…

When sunset came, he was high above the valley. His clothes were torn and his body was covered with blood. All around him, mountain peaks rose into the vast and darkening sky. It was a truly beautiful evening. He lay on the bare earth with the smile on his face. ‘I have escaped from the Country of the Blind, the place where I wanted to be king,’ he said to himself.

When the cold night came, Nunez slept peacefully; a content man under the stars.

Adapted by eflshorts.com

The Great Glen Way: Chapter 8 From Invermoriston to Drumnadrochit

Today is a longer walk: 23km. We are still walking beside Loch Ness. Again, we decide to take the new, higher level path. We are soon on the hills.

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After some time, we come to a forestry plantation. The owners of the land have cut down the trees. All around us are dead branches and tree stumps. But someone has made an art work. It is a strange sight.

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We continue to climb. We talk about trees. There are so many dead ones. Storms have washed away the soil and blown the trees over. I have never seen so many dead trees. Because of global warming, storms are becoming stronger and stronger and more and more frequent.

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When we descend again, I take a photograph of Scotland’s national flower, the thistle.

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A little later, when we are walking through another forest, we find a large ants’ nest.

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When we finally see Drumnadrochit, the sun is shining brightly.

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Adaptation of H.G.Wells’s Country of the Blind (Ch17)

For a week before the operation, Nunez did not sleep. Day after day, others in the village slept, but he walked about in the bright sunlight and thought about the operation. Then at last, the day before the operation came. He spent a few minutes with Medina-Sarote before she went to bed.

‘Tomorrow,’ he said, ‘I shall see no more.’

‘Dearest sweetheart,’ she said and squeezed his hand. ‘The operation will only hurt a little. One day I will repay you.’

Nunez felt nothing but pity – for himself and for her. He held her in his arms, kissed her, and looked into her sweet face. `Goodbye,’ he said. Then in silence, he turned away.

Medina- Sarote could hear his footsteps as they retreated. Something in their sound made her cry.

Nunez wanted to be alone. There was a quiet place in the meadows, a place with thick green grass and narcissus flowers. He went and lay down. ‘I will stay here until it is time,’ he thought. Then he fell asleep. When morning came, Nunez lifted his eyes to the rising sun. It rose above the mountains. ‘It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,’ he thought. Nunez got up and started to walk. It was a new day, it was his last day of sight, and there was beauty everywhere.

Great Glen Way: Chapter 7 From Fort Augustus to Invermoriston

Today is quite a short walking day: only 13km. Before we begin, we have coffee and read the newspaper in Fort Augustus. We look at our map. We have two choices. Either we can take a low-level route through the forests to Invermoriston, or we can take a higher-level route. We choose the higher-level one. In the forest, we find lots of mushrooms. Some are edible and some are not.

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Soon, we leave the forest and are walking across the hillsides with Loch Ness below us. Some people believe that Loch Ness has a monster in it. Today, we can’t see any monsters! Six rivers fill Loch Ness. Loch Ness is 37 kilometers long and 230 meters deep in places. The volume of water in it is greater than all the water in all the reservoirs in England and Wales.

We are enjoying the weather while we admire Loch Ness. It is a perfect day for walking: dry and a little cold.

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After five or six kilometres, we stop and make tea. There are special, sheltered places on the hillside for this.

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When we come into Invermoriston, the first thing we look at is the old bridge. It was built by Thomas Telford, the same man who built the Caledonian Canal.

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Our adaptation of H.G.Wells’s Country of the Blind (Ch16)

‘Do you want the doctors to take out my eyes?’ Nunez asked Medina-sarote.

Medina-sarote said nothing.

‘Seeing – having sight – is my world,’ he told her.

She lowered her head.

‘There are beautiful things,’ Nunez told her, ‘beautiful little things that I can see – flowers, the lichens on the rocks, a piece of fur, the sky with its clouds, the sunsets and the stars at night. And then there is you. Your sweet face, your kind lips, your beautiful hands folded together… It is my eyes that hold me to you; every day when I see you, it is like seeing you for the first time. But you want be to lose my eyes. Must I only touch you? Must I only hear you? Must I never see you again? Is this want you want? Must I come into that dark world?’

Nunez stopped talking and let her think about the question. He didn’t feel good.

‘You…’ she said and stopped.


‘Please do not say these things,’ said Medina-sarote.

‘What things?’

‘I know it is your imagination,’ said Medina-sarote, ‘I used to love it, but now…’

‘And now?’ he asked.

Medina-sarote sat very still.

Nunez felt angry, but he also felt sympathy for her. It hurt her to say these things to him. He knew that. They sat in silence for a long time.

When Nunez finally spoke, he was almost whispering. `If I agreed to this…’ he said.

As soon as he spoke, Medina-sarote threw her arms around him.

Our adaptation of H.G. Wells’s Country of the Blind Chapter 15

The elders thought for a long time about Nunez. He was a problem, but they wanted to help him. There was a doctor amongst the people of the blind, a medicine man. He was clever and curious.

One day the medicine man went to speak to Yacob about Nunez.

‘I have examined Bogota,’ he told Yacob. ‘I have good news.’

‘What is it?’ Jacob asked.

‘Bogota talks about strange things. He says that he has eyes. These eyes have eyelids and they move all the time. I think they affect his brain and therefore his thinking. But I can cure him.’

‘How?’ Yacob asked.

‘It’s a simple thing: we must remove his eyes. After that, I am sure he can become a good citizen of the village.’

Jacob was happy. At once, he went to tell Nunez that the medicine man could cure him. But when he told Nunez, Nunez did not welcome the news.

Yacob was angry. `Don’t you care for my daughter?’ he asked. ‘Is she more important than these strange things called eyes? Tell me!’ he said.

The Great Glen Way Chapter 6: From South Laggan to Fort Augustus

The next morning, Neville takes us back to South Laggan and we start walking again. Today is a shorter walk. It is only 14km. We are walking beside Loch Oich and following an old railway line and one of General Wade’s old military roads.

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General Wade came to Scotland after the Jacobite rebellion in 1715. After he built the new roads, it was easier for the British government to send soldiers to the Highlands. In other words, the new roads extended British government control of the north of Scotland.

The canal is busy today. There are lots of boats waiting in its locks.

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At Bridge of Oich, we stop. It is an unusual bridge. It is made of granite and iron and was built in 1849. Because there was a danger of floods, James Dredge, the bridge’s designer, built a bridge with a single span across the River Oich. He used a cantilever design. The bridge has two separate parts; so if one part falls down, the other should stay up.

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Near Fort Augustus, the sky begins to darken. A few drops of rain fall. But we are lucky again. The heavy rain only comes later in the evening when we are indoors.There are five locks near Fort Augustus. Today, many people in the village are using them as bridges to cross from one side of the canal to the other.

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Before we find our accommodation – Sonas bed and breakfast, the home of Jimmy and Lorna Service – we walk through the town and find a seat beside Loch Ness.

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Our journey starts there tomorrow.

MP3 of some irregular past tense verbs

Here is a short recording of some irregular past tense verbs. I’ve used a list provided by Robert Dobie at http://www.allthingsgrammar.com. Great site.

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Here is the MP3 file


The Great Glen Way (Chapter 5) From Spean Bridge to Drynachan cottage

After breakfast, Colin drives us back to Gairlochy after we buy some sandwiches and drinks in Spean Bridge.

We thank him and begin again. We plan to walk 22km. Our route takes us along the north shore of Loch Lochy. The loch’s water is dark grey, the same colour as the sky.

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Again, beautiful trees are all around. There are even some sequoias. The land here smells fragrant. There is bog myrtle and heather. Again, we stop to make tea. Then a girl with a bike stops and says hello. Behind her, her little dog follows. The girl begs a favour. ‘Could you help me put my dog into my rucksack?’ she asks. I hold her rucksack and she drops the little dog into it. Then she puts the rucksack on her back and happily cycles away. Facing forward, the pug has one paw on each of the girl’s shoulders. Its head nuzzles the girl’s ear…

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We arrive in Laggan. We have accommodation booked at Drynachan cottage in Invergarry. Neville from Drynachan cottage comes to pick us up. The cottage is beautiful. Some say that Bonnie Prince Charlie stopped and rested here in 1776. When we enter Drynachan cottage, Sonia, Neville’s wife, greets us. She shows us the lounge. A large DVD collection fills one wall. ‘There’s a DVD player in the room,’ she tells us. I choose Hitchcock’s North By North West, one of my favourite films. After dinner, I open the window a little and begin to watch the DVD. My eyes start to close…

Suddenly, something wakes me up. A black thing swoops past my face. I jump up. Was I dreaming? No, there’s a bat in the room! But now it has gone. Where did it go? Then I see it next to the kettle. It has landed and crawled behind the biscuit tin. As carefully as I can, I put a plastic bag over it, open the window more, and gently drop the bat out.

Country of the Blind (Ch14)

Nunez loved talking to Medina-sarote. After a while, he started to speak to her when she was out of sight. Medina-sarote listened to him; to his description of the stars, the mountains, and her own beauty. She could only understand a little, but the mystery of it thrilled her.

Nunez’s love for Medina-sarote grew. He wanted to marry her. But Medina-sarote was afraid. Medina-sarote’s sisters liked Nunez, but they did not approve of his desire to marry their sister. The young men in the village also disapproved of the idea. One man got into a fight with Nunez. He hit Nunez, but Nunez took advantage of his sight and knocked the man to the ground. After this no one tried to fight with Nunez again. But they still thought the marriage was impossible.

Yacob loved his daughter. When she cried, it upset him. `Nunez is an idiot,’ he said. ‘Nunez cannot do anything right.’

‘I know,’ cried Medina-sarote. `But he is better than before. And he is strong and kind – stronger and kinder than anyone else. He loves me and I love him. ‘Yacob thought about this for some time. In the end, he spoke to the elders – the wise men of the village. `My daughter loves Nunez and wants to marry him,’ he told them. ‘And in truth, I like Nunez too. Day by day, he is getting better. Perhaps soon, he will be just like us.’

‘We will think about it,’ the elders told him.

Great Glen Way Chapter 4: From Fort William to Spean Bridge

After a good night’s sleep at Nevis Bank Inn, Walter and I buy some sandwiches and water at a petrol station, walk from the centre of Fort William to Banavie and get on the path to Gairlochy. Today, we plan to walk 23km.

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We are walking next to the Caledonian Canal. Our route is clear. We follow the canal and climb gently up hill. There are eight locks here, places for raising or lowering boats. This section is called Neptune’s Staircase.

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At Moy Bridge, we stop and rest. Farmers use this bridge to cross from one side of the canal to the other. It isn’t mechanised, so a gate keeper must open and close it manually. Around us, there are many beautiful tress: Scot’s pine, birch, alder and beech to name a few. Walter boils some tea on his gas stove. Although it is summer, it is surprisingly cold.

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Our accommodation is in Spean Bridge, six kilometres from Gairlochy. We leave the Caledonian Canal and begin walking along a quiet road, the B8004. On the way, we pass Mucomir power station and the Commando Memorial. Many soldiers trained in this area of Scotland during World War Two.

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The main road to Spean Bridge is noisy. We decide not to follow it. Instead, we choose a forest path. It leads us to our next stop for the night, Riverside Lodge in Spean Bridge. When we arrive, we are tired. But the first walking day is over, and we don’t have blisters.

We are grateful for that.

That night, we treat ourselves to a three-course meal at The Old Pines restaurant, which was very good. Colin, a retired fire officer who owns the Riverside Lodge, drops us there in his car and we walk back with dark rain clouds above us. We make it back to Riverside lodge just in time. A short while later, the rain comes pouring down.

Our adaptation of H.G. Wells’s Country of the Blind (Ch13)

Nunez was ill for several days after that. The people of the village nursed him kindly. But he had to lie quietly in a dark hut. There, day after day, blind men came to him, telling him about his mistakes.

Slowly, the people of the Country of the Blind became individuals. There was Yacob, Nunez’s new master; Pedro, Yacob’s nephew; and Medina-saroté, the youngest daughter of Yacob. Others didn’t think she was beautiful, but Nunez did.

Slowly, Nunez found ways to help Medina-saroté; and slowly, Medina-saroté began to notice Nunez. Then one evening, while they sat side by side in the dim starlight and listened to music at a gathering, their fingers touched. Tenderly, they held hands. A few days later, while they were eating, Nunez felt her hand softly seeking his…

‘I must speak to her,’ thought Nunez. ‘I must tell her my feelings.’

Then one evening while Medina-saroté was sitting and spinning wool in the summer moonlight, Nunez went to her. He sat at her feet, told her that she was beautiful, that he loved her. She did not reply, but Nunez was content. He could see that his words pleased her.

After that, Nunez spoke to Medina-saroté as often as he could. Soon, the valley was the world, and the land beyond the mountains, the land without Medina-saroté in it, was no more than a fairy tale.

Our adaptation of Country of the Blind Chapter 12

Nunez hid in the cave. The hours passed slowly. Sometimes, the words `In the Country Of The Blind – The One Eyed Man is King’ sang in his head. But mostly, Nunez thought about fighting. How could he fight these blind people? He had no weapons, and there were many of them.

After two days, he was very hungry. He tried to find some food in the forest at night. He tried to catch a llama. ‘But what can I kill it with? A stone?’ The llama was not easy to catch. It ran away every time Nunez got near it. On the second day, he started to shiver and feel very afraid. He crawled out of the cave and followed the river down to the houses. He shouted out, and two blind men came to meet him. When they saw him, they opened the gate to the town and let him in.

‘I’m sorry. I was mad,’ Nunez said, `but I was newly made. I couldn’t help it.’

The blind people listened and Nunez talked more. He told them that he was wiser now, and he was sorry for everything. He cried. He did not want to, but he was weak with hunger.

The blind men listened carefully. They talked amongst themselves. Then they said: ‘Can you still “see”?’

`No,’ Nunez replied immediately. `The word means nothing to me – less than nothing.’ Again he cried. Then he said: ‘Before you ask any more questions, give me some food or I shall die!’

The Great Glen Way Chapter 3: To Fort William

The train journey continued. North of Tyndrun station, we passed Ben Dorain. To me, its shape was like Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain. The train crossed two viaducts, curved around Ben Dorain, and then continued north.

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We passed other places: Bridge of Orchy; Rannoch, Corrour (the highest railway station in Britain), Tulloch and others too.

Fort William has a population of about 10,000, so it isn’t a big town. However, many people visit it because Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, is there. The valleys, or glens, near Ben Nevis, are also popular with movie makers. For example, Braveheart, Rob Roy, and Harry Potter were made there.

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Finally, the train arrived at Fort William station. Walter and I left the station. We had our rucksacks on our backs and were looking for our first place to stay, the Nevis Bank Inn. We began walking to it. On the way, we passed the Duncansburgh Church, near the official start of the Great Glen Way. The name comes from Sir Duncan Cameron. Because he was rich and important, he tried to change the town’s name to Duncansburgh. He didn’t succeed. In Gaelic, the name of the town is ‘The Garrison’. Why? General Monck, who was part of Oliver Cromwell’s army, built a wooden fort in the area in 1654. Then General Mackay built a stone one in 1690 and gave Fort William its name. Fort William has a martial history.

But we weren’t thinking about the town’s history or its names. We were thinking about tomorrow, because tomorrow, our walk started.

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The Great Glen Way Chapter 2: From Queen Street Station to Arrochar

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The first public train reached Fort William in 1894. It was steam then; now it is diesel. When our train to Fort William arrived, we quickly found our seats, put our rucksacks above us on the luggage racks, and sat back.

We were on the left side of the train carriage. ‘It has the best views,’ said one of the passengers. I hoped she was correct. Around us, other train passengers were talking. Most of the voices were Scottish, but there were other languages and accents too. A few minutes later, our four-hour journey started. I began eating my sandwiches and Walter bought a cup of tea from a woman who was pushing a trolley.

Eventually, we left Glasgow behind. We were now travelling beside Loch Long, and could see the mountains at Arrochar ahead of us. Arrochar is a small village at the top of Loch Long. In the mid-thirteenth century, King Hakkon of Norway sailed to Scotland. He wanted to be king of Western Scotland; and in 1263, his ships sailed into Arrochar. The Scots didn’t want King Hakkon as their king, and they fought the Norwegians at Largs. Thirty-five years ago, Walter and I stayed for the weekend at Arrochar Youth Hostel. On the Saturday, we climbed Beinn Nanairn. When we reached the top of it, there was thick snow and we couldn’t see. It was dangerous, but Walter was good at reading maps. On the Sunday, we had to return home. But we had no money. We couldn’t buy food or a train ticket. We had to walk and hitchhike back to Glasgow on empty stomachs.

We laughed when we remembered how hungry we were. This time, we had plenty of cash!


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