trip thirty one: hill of fire


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  • Graeme Ward - 1 July 11 -

    Hello May

    I came upon your site by accident recently, when I was looking for cup and ring markings at Carlin Craigs near the Craw Stane. I had tried to find the Craw Stane a few years ago but as it was not on any maps I had seen. I did ask golfers at Bonnyton but they had no idea! I also objected to “them” building another golf course in East Kilbride as the site went through an old road with large stones at the corner of one field. I have a thing about stones! I bought Harry’s book in the 1980s and around that time I am sure the East Kilbride library gave away free maps of the aligned sites. Since I found your site I have been looking for my map – I am sure I put it somewhere that I would not loose it – yes I still cannot find it. The line from Tinto through Torrance House and Mains Castle probably also goes through Priestknowe (now a roundabout) between St. Brides Church and the old Kirk in the Village, which has a circularish graveyard. Last week we went to the Craw Stane and you could get a good view of Tinto. The Rotten Calder which runs pass Torrance house gets it’s name from the the brownish red colour of the stones, Rot is German for Red. You mentioned in your trips about Lunatic Asylums, I used to stay in Easterhouse as a kid and the Mental Hospital at Gartcosh was know as the Looney Bin and we were convinced folk escaped from there when some sort of siren went off. Also in the woods going up to the hospital we were told that wass where Bible John hid! Anyway I will stop rambling. Maybe I even saw you at the Bungalow Bar in Paisley. I remember one time going to see the Fall but me and my mates could not afford a carry out and the train fare there and back, so we just left early and walked. I have really enjoyed your trip notes, photos and videos. Tell Mary Ross I was asking for her.

    • May Miles Thomas - 1 July 11 -

      Hi Graeme,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I don’t know if you’ve looked through the photo albums in the blog section of my site – there’s five of them, including one of Harry Bell’s places which contains a photo of what I believe is the Craw Stane, well, according to what he wrote in Glasgow’s Secret Geometry. Does it match what you saw, I wonder?

      It’s always nice to hear from someone as interested in these old sites as I am. Believe me, the site is an ongoing labour of love – I must have made hundreds of trips over the two and a half years I spent following in Harry’s footsteps. It’s a shame his work isn’t more famous – and coming from EK himself, surely he was aware of the places you mention. In fact, I’ve often wondered if he didn’t miss out on a few sites close to home – and further afield – because GSG is curiously unresolved for me, which is why I made it my mission to complete his journey. I love the fact that I might be right – just as I love the fact I might be wrong! Because what I set out to do on The Devil’s Plantation was not about about Harry or Mary – it was as much about storytelling and having enough faith in someone – or even just enough curiosity to go out and find what lies beyond my everyday experience – even the stuff that’s on the doorstep.

      I never caught The Fall at the Bungalow – wish I had. Usually I went there to see crappy post-punk bands from Glasgow, but I did see Elvis Costello play at the Silver Thread Hotel in Paisley in 1977!!

      I’ll tell Mary you’re asking for her…

      Thanks again and happy trails

  • May Miles Thomas - 26 January 10 -

    Thanks Maurice,

    Thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to comment. You’re not the first person to comment on the strange figure in one of the trees at the De’il’s Plantin. I didn’t spot it until someone else pointed it out!

    I hope you make it to the end of the journey. I’m telling visitors to take their time and treat it as if they’re going on a walk to a place they’ve never been before. Before you know it, the secret will be revealed…

    all the best,

  • Maurice Roeves - 23 January 10 -

    The first time I have dipped my feet into the plantation which rings childhood memory bells of the Yorkhill Plantation where we played fitba on red gravel – it was nae fun being the bloody goalie, I can tell you!
    I just gasp at all the detailed hard work you must have put in and I have only read this wee bit – it’s wonderful!
    I love the photo of the hillock with the copse of trees but at the top, just to the left, there looks like a figure or statue or something that looks ‘strange’ – a ‘watcher’?
    Looking forward to peeling off more layers and journeying on. Great work!