Tartan Trail – the penultimate journal entry (a.k.a. part 6)

27th September 2011 by

So we left you with tales of chips in Tupperware and big hills en route to Glasgow. On arrival we were greeted with great gusto by Roz and Alice who quickly showed us into their big cosy house. To top off their already fab welcome they cooked us all an amazing curry and introduced us to the ancient Glaswegian tradition of sock-wrestling (i.e. ripping off someone’s sock by any means possible). Andina bravely took on Arthur and unfortunately lost, although she took half of his sock along the way. Next day we attended a community sustainable transport event and had lots of silly fun trying to master the crazy bikes they had hired. After which we upped-sticks to Toryglen community centre where we pitched our tents outside then had dinner on a REAL table (!!) kindly laid and decorated by the owners of the centre. We had fine fortune to meet a former Oteshite Kerry.  She cooked us Cranachan, a traditional Scottish pudding that brings new life to porridge by adding whisky and (soya) cream.

Whilst in Glasgee we volunteered for an inspirational social welfare charity called Starter Packs, run by the upbeat Sarah. She and her team work tirelessly in a deprived area of Glasgow to provide support for people moving into social housing with nothing, upcycling furniture and providing other basic supplies. After a day working in their bustling charity shop and offices all were inspired by their ethos and passion for helping those on the edge of poverty.

During our time in Glasgow we delivered workshops and our ever-improving play to two primary schools in the local area, kindly organised by the fabulous sustainable community project Urban Roots. Fun was had by all, despite the occasional language problems (in Glasgow ‘why’ means ‘how’, which took a bit of explaining). We also visited a lively and enthusiastic Woodcraft Folk group in Scotstoun where we all amused ourselves recreating more ‘truthful’ enactments of adverts in our ‘Admania’ workshop.

I think everyone learnt a lot from Glasgow, especially working in more deprived areas where perhaps sustainable living is not top on people’s agendas. Despite the obvious problems the group was very motivated by the inspiring work of organisations such as Urban Roots and Starter Packs.

With this is mind we set off for a rather undulating ride to our next destination – Coalburn, an ex-mining community south of Glasgow. Despite some minor (or major) map reading errors and some very wet dejected Tartan Trailers, we were welcomed into the Talamh housing community, and very kindly given a warm and dry caravan to sleep in (it was a bit like sardine at bedtimes but we were very accustomed to each others snoring by now). Talamh is a community of around 15 people, housed in a house, caravans and trucks. It is an amazingly tranquil place with various organic gardens, woodland and fields. We were happily supplied with an outdoor kitchen, complete with a gas oven (!), sink and firepit- our host Anna and other residents popped by occasionally with homegrown veg and fruit, and freshly foraged mushrooms. The next day we all had a very well deserved day off. Some chose to explore the area on their two-wheeled steeds, some took a leisurely shower at the swimming pool, while others lazed around and did absolutely nothing in the rarely seen sunshine. The next day we performed and workshopped at the local primary school- which as usual went rather well. One kid swore “I’m never gonna buy a non-fairtrade banana again!”. Then, after a day of work exchange (plum picking and weeding) we all bedded down early for the longest cycling day yet- 50 (ish) miles to Dumfries.


Many thanks to the Postcode Trust for their generous support of this project.

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