Monday, August 23, 2010


Scotland by Air

I am a window seat junkie and I'll never understand why the map view of flights on United planes seems to have diminished a bit. I really loved being able to photograph Siberia and use Google Earth to figure out that I'd flown over Attu Island.

The sky was fairly clear as we flew out from Scotland and I'm always hoping we'll go far enough north to see some of the Hebrides. My father in law told me that he always hopes so too, but that most routes go further south. So you can imagine how excited I was to see views like these from the plane.

This, though, then led me to wonder exactly what I'd seen. Lazily, I sent the photos to Scotland and about 48 hours later, got this email:

Having compared your photos with an atlas, and the northerly course near Greenland, I can see that you flew North-west over Mull. Mull was probably cloud-covered, but also under the plane. The small island is Kerrera, which guards Oban Bay, with the Firth of Lorn beyond. You can see the town of Oban in the curve of the bay. The inlet to the North is the entrance to Loch Etive, at Connel.

In the other picture, the island is Coll, with possibly a bit of its neighbour Tiree in the bottom left corner. They are the outer of the Inner Hebrides. You must have flown directly over Saffa (and Fingal's Cave), and then out over Barra, the southern tip of the Outer Hebrides.

Greenland you say? Yes, that's right. I was watching the map view the whole time, hoping we'd go far enough north to catch some of Greenland, and we did. I took some photos, but they don't show up well. And we weren't close enough to see any bobbing iceburgs, though I could certainly see glaciers and lots of snow. Humbling. Again. Another place I may never get to go.

The email made me feel lazy, so I pulled up Google Earth again (reinstalling it, to be accurate) and spun the globe a bit to pull these images.

Here is the isle of Coll.

And here is Oban, which is unmistakably what I saw from the plane. Oban, you might recall, was the site of a huge seafood feast we enjoyed two years ago. Hoping to get back there in early March.

As soon as I viewed this web discussion writing about a Travel Advisory Warning about Naples Italy, I determined Marie Mutsuki Mockett frequenters really have to comment on this!
Well, assuming this is not spam . . . I do have a Naples story. I took a train there from Rome with a guy I really liked and was very insistent we sleep on the top bunks of the train because I'd heard about people getting chloroformed and robbed in the middle of the night. I slept with my money inside my clothing. Actually, I never slept. We got off at Naples. And wouldn't you know, there were about 4 French men crying on the train platform because they had been chloroformed and robbed overnight. I've never really quite so proud of being anal (ie, my mother's daughter) as I was at that moment. And then I just felt horrible for the men.
Ah, such fond memories of Oban. A shame Deb and I could only spend 4 hours there.
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