Diary

2014

Regular Events

Whisky Tasting:

Wine Tasting:

Scottish Quiz

Storytelling:

Of Dogs & Men

From chapter 9, 'Dog Tales'.

"Not only did Charles II bestow his own royal name on the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, the breed is covered by a special, unrepealed statute. This law states that no King Charles Spaniel is to be denied entry anywhere in the land. They are even allowed admission into both Houses of Parliament. Approbation comes no higher. Another tale actually relates to a dog without a tail. Sophie, a blue Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, had to swim for an estimated 12 hours after falling out of the family boat. Having survived the perils of the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Queensland, Sophie made landfall on Keswick Island, where the three-year-old bitch had no fresh water and only lizards to feed on. From this inhospitable refuge, Sophie swam across a dangerous, half-mile passage to St Bees Island, finding both water and a better supply of food. Eventually, a full five months after hitting the water, Dave and Joan Griffiths were reunited with their dog. A display of supreme ingenuity."

Red Sky at Night

From the opening paragraph of chapter 2, 'Glistening Glengyle':

"The blizzard struck from the north without warning, as sudden and brutish as a Viking raid. The wind tore at everything, searching out any weak point in a quest for absolute destruction. The stout walls of Glengyle house stood firm, but outside, who could tell what havoc the furies of the night were wreaking."

An extract from the day I went to help a Lowland farmer with his lambing - so different from life with my hill sheep:

"Half an hour later, the scene which confronts us is one of bedlam: seven new born lambs are being claimed by four ewes or maybe it is five ewes with the seven lambs, or perhaps it should be five ewes with eight lambs - because by this time another lamb has put in an appearance. Bob scratches his head and mutters something I cannot quite catch. We begin to sort them out into adjacent calf pens, now doing stalwart service as lambing pens. Two ewes each with a single lamb and three others with twins. It looks about right. Suddenly one lamb decides that it is not a twin, squeezes through the bars into the next pen and becomes a triplet. Just as I am on my way to investigate this turn of events, one of the ewes reckons that she has not lambed at all, and jumps out into the court, leaving a puzzled lamb behind her. I change course and take off after her, and now an entirely different ewe does not want to be left out and jumps into a pen already occupied by by a ewe and pair. The "triplet", not getting much satisfaction from its adopted mother, decides to try something new, squeezes out into the court and chases after a ewe who was doing nothing at all."

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Read in detail all about the history, wildlife, folk lore and legend of the entire area in which John Barrington has lived and tended his sheep for more than thirty years.

This guide book has 218 entries and uses all 27 letters of the Scottish Alphabet. Yes, there is one more than English. Learn how the Devil created the Whangie rock formation; where the word "blackmail" comes from; which church minister was taken away by the fairies and what are the Heavenly Dancers.

Concise location maps for each letter will help both visitors and residents to get the most out of Scotland's first National Park.

Out of the Mists

Stories have been used to pass on knowledge and information since the beginning of time. They could also be used to explain anything that was otherwise quite inexplicable.

Shepherds are renowned as storytellers and this is a selection from Barrington's vast repertoire, collected from colleagues and other people over many, many years. The stories themselves span a period from Noah's Ark to a witch of the 20th century.

John's new book, 'Of Dogs & Men', was officially launched on Tuesday, 30th April 2013 at Blackwell's Bookshop in Edinburgh.

The website is being re-designed - more details soon!

Discover Secret Scotland has an entry in the Stirling Directory!