Patrick Megan, Scotland, DAN discussed on Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network
So to defend their homeland. They built their castles in the valleys. However gwynedd was conquered by edward. The i in the twelve eight long shanks of braveheart fame so beautifully played by patrick megan but he interested in the valleys. He wanted to be able to get to his castles built his cousins. Which are the most expensive set of wonderful counselors you've ever seen. But his cancels are on the edge of the seat so he could access bring building materials by sea. So the kessels that. I'm thinking of in wales for these big dramatic state of the art in the thirteenth century castles. They would be english. Castles built to keep the indigenous welsh. People down yeah and they would be accessible by. Cc what you you don't need to control the countryside just didn't have these holds access by sea. And then you can administer your empire when you've been there you know there's a very narrow coastal strip with mountains on the inside so if you're going to move in north wales you can move either along the coastal strip All through the valleys well if built castles at the mouths of rivers on the seashore. You've got the landscape. Tida bottled up the country king edward. He had his castles there. What are the top three or four castles that they come out and conway damaris. I'd say those harlequins one go just castles. This is travel with rick steves. We've been joined by martin. The land of its the guide from northern rail's. We've been talking about snowden national park in the cultural and historic wonders nearby martin. Thanks so much for joining us. And i'd like to just close with a moment with your unit just spent three just exhilarated. We didn't take the steam train week. Climbed there's a beautiful day. We got to the top of mount snowden you as a welshman tell me what do you see and what do you think accept. The view from the top is stunning. You can see ireland from toughest out you can see. The island. man from atop snowden to see is there the lakes heavily glaciated landscape deep steep narrow valleys streams that run down them and a very green countryside is not by accident that tom jones sang the green green grass of home. It does rain a bit. But you know it's worth putting on a coat to go out into the issue of snowdonia in at that moment. You're in the top of wales literally. Al's martin thanks so much joining us. Thank you for having in just a bit. We'll explore the outdoorsy appeal of the laid back former yugoslav nation of slovenian where there'll be celebrating thirty years of independence later this year but i british travel writer. Dan richards looks at the small outposts. You can find scattered around some of the wildest places on earth it's travel with. Rick steves as a kid. Dan richards climbed trees and built forks in the countryside of western england since then his enthusiasm for adventure has taken him to untamed landscapes around the world some even come with a place to stay and breathtaking view for his book outpost. A journey to the wild ends of the earth. Dan explored the huts cabins and refugees that have sheltered wilderness adventures for decades. He joins us now. Travel with rick steves to take us to these secret worlds. That you won't find on airbnb. Dan welcome hello. Thank you for having me. You mentioned in your book that it all started with a polar bear pelvis. That sat on your father's desk. Can you explain that. Just before i was born. My dot came back from an expedition That he had done to saul bot in the hayek tick when he was younger. He was a mountaineer and also a bit of an explorer and he went to this the most northerly human permanent settlement on earth which is called neon listened as part of a sort of geology expedition. And when he came home he unpacked his bag. And he had this most amazing almost alien artifact which was this whole obama pelvis a very old when he found it. So you know he never sort of the back Involved but he found this kind of bony frame and brought it home and as you say kind of as incredible object in his study. So there's the polar bear pelvis and then a photograph of your dead in small bird. Yes and he'd stayed with his team In a number shuts up that just very very Rudimentary very fragile. Little buildings where they had stayed for a nato team so when your school friends are going to new york for their summer break you decide to go to fall board and find that shed and tell us about how you got into going to these remote outposts because you've gone to these places all over the world will in light of my dad's trip. I began to think about these outposts as witness in a way to amazing adventures and travels that people had had over centuries really and often. The people are gone and the only thing that remains. Is there jumping off. Point and that could be a base like scott space in antarctica or could be a beacon like a lighthouse or fire watching cabin and the paps these places a now out of use but they still exist as these kind of amazing survivors and memorials to that went on. I began thinking about that and also the way that often creative people will try and make shed or a spot in space either in the house or in the garden in a way to try and sort of interact with the muses or just create enough kind of klis space to think and create so. I began to combine them. That is so important. I just loved going to the remote fjords on the west coast of norway and finding the little tiny cabin where edvard grieg. The great norwegian composer would work. And you can see the simple piano he composed on and you can look out the window and see the solitude in the pristine nature and the vast -ness of it all that inspired him and you can imagine that solitude was his muse absolutely. I think a lot of the places that i visited were like that. They had just enough architecture to make some difference so you weren't completely outside and And thorough has that line where his walden pond heart. He was caged amongst birds so the birds were free and that he was with you know at his desk just in the nature so i suppose venturing to these places you would prepare yourself to know what was the purpose of this hutton. And what is the humanity of it. What was the struggle. What was the heroics of this hut and then when you go there. It becomes a little more rewarding and a little more meaningful. Yes absolutely and some of them have had amazing. Double triple quadruple lives. So that were sale house that i visited in iceland and these are buildings are incredibly rudimentary. Stop and they were built by the early norse to make crossing the very barren interior of iceland possible so they were joined the dots kind of stations along the way and they started out being almost little igloos. If you can imagine an inkling that was made of turf and rox And then over the years. They've been rebuilt so many times that now they look like what you might recognize as a sort of prairie farmstead in a way but they still retain the foundations and the story and the myth and ghosts of all of these different incarnations and all of the travelers who've passed through them. I found that really fascinating. And you can hike to one of those. What was it like lobster house of joy in the middle of iceland. It was amazing. Because i think i describe in the book is driving over this featureless because we were renovating it. We actually drove out. But you can imagine the norse walking over this featureless terrain immense seeing this little hook as it would have been in their day appearing and the house of joy you now you can imagine the joy that you know you'll sleeping. You have a roof tonight. You know you're going to be warm because if you missed that if you get lost if you can't find it then you're out on a permafrost did completely baron surveys tundra. So the the need to get in and get warm with immense and very kind of you know essential and elemental and when i approached Atmos which was the sal house that i visited. I describe it as a little. A little house sat up and hugging his knees And when you're out in this kind of an environment and you got your notepad there as a writer all sorts of beautiful thoughts i would think just flutter by and you want to grab them. Write them down absolutely. Although often i end up thinking about this. In retrospect how try and take a few pitches but often when you're in these bases it's so important just to live in the moment and even writing something down you don't want to take your eyes off Was around you directly in front of this. Sale house was the second largest glossier in iceland. And just look at it. It was just so had such charisma. This thing you know it exuded. This cold cold charisma. It was really not it. He would look into these deep deep. Blue's all the blues. You can imagine of this you know elemental incredibly old incredibly important blasio and then to actually take your eyes off it and write something down almost feel like a dereliction of duty. You need to sort of so it all up. Take it all in. This is the quintessence of travel. What you're talking about this travel with rick steves. If you ever wanted to really get away. And i mean really away. The neil enjoy the stories of travel writer. Dan richards his book is outpost attorney to the wild ends of the earth and in this book. He takes his hand adventures to ten remote cabins and refugees and some of the most hostile terrain on the planet. Dan is a royal literary fund fellow at bristol university in england. We have links to dense work with this week. Show rick steves dot com slash radio. So dan you talk about these little hudson. These sheds and whatever we call them and they do have interesting names in scotland. What is it a booth or a buffy a buffy. yes tell us about arriving at a in scotland. Well i think the word bossy comes from There are several derivation. But if you can imagine a booth it's a single room dwelling and again your arriving. After a heart. They slog it scotland so you know it rains and then it really rains and if the sun is shining it's probably still raining you know and you'll be hiking over maybe some orlando. Maybe you've come off the kango and mountains. Andrew just immersed in this amazing plateau of mountains and gorse and heather and moorland a menu see on the horizon again a little buffy this little former crofters hot perhaps a little house little dwelling and you get in and one of the most amazing things about scottish bodies and bodies exist all over the uk. There are some in wales there some in the lake district you get into this very simple dwelling and they're the marks of the people who have been there before you and it really put me mind. There's a wonderful poem by philip. Larkin poem is called. Home is so sad and the lines go. It stays as it was left. Formed to the comfort of the last to go as if to win them back. I've got a cabin rarely visit up in the mountains outside of seattle. And it's like that. I never know who was there last. And sometimes it's been months but you still feel the spirit of the people who were there last and how they left it and what they must have done the fund they must have had and then you get absolutely you get to take that story and carry it forward. That's it and the carrying forward. I think is such an amazing thing of a lot of the places i visited in the book. The bodies and the sale house. They are generous architecture. And as much as they allow on would movement they allow further adventures into as you said earlier pantley completely inhospitable terrain but within them hidden these jewel. Like dwellings at that. Allow you to spend a night. In relative comfort. The scottish have a word rough stuffing they call it. So you know you don't find bothell you don't find a sale house you end up sleeping in a relatively dry ditch with your pack as a pillow and cote is a do a or You know and that's rough stuffing and the alternative to that is amazing. Bossie any day over absolutely. Yeah so you can have fire in great. It is kinda cool to think. They're not the end of the road. They are at depot on the way to somewhere in most cases. Absolutely yeah they're kinda silo. I think you know 'cause some people leave you know. You might get candles you mike matches. You might get some food. That's been left this kind of in a ten you might. You might even get biscuits. I mean that's real luxury out there. Dan richards documents is adventures in outpost. A journey to the wild ends of the earth. He also co wrote holloway with robert mcfarlane which we spoke about on a recent edition of travel. With rick steves then post to twitter at then underscore zip dan. You were talking about a shepherd's hut in switzerland. Can you describe that to us. There was a writing heart that i went to in switzerland. There was a shepherd's hut. That's in the swiss chapter which is a roger deakins kind of shepherd's hut. He was an amazing nature writer from britain. So i'm visiting his farmstead in suffolk in this chapter and really. I just oppose this very very simple. Almost little caravan that he had on wheels that he would move about his estate and he would write and they'll be a little potbellied stove in there and a wonderful quite uncomfortable hosts hannah tryst bed. And you had your own little world in there and i just oppose this with A really space age treehouse. I visited in switzerland. Which is part of jan mcculskey factions writing. I suppose you it. Looks like a fortress. But i think really. It's a kind of Residency program so writers can go and they given everything that they would need to write and one of those things is a solitude but also they're given solitude also from the ground as in their suspended in this amazing brutally honest plywood with all. Maude comes under floor. Heating and things like that is the sort of thing. Silicon valley tech entrepreneur might build in upstate. New york you know. But you're in the jerem mountains of switzerland and it's for writers and it was a really interesting juxtaposition because for one you've got roger deakins very very spot in space and in the other. You've got this super high. Tackle most sifi swiss little cube. That's very blade runner. And at the other extreme you have again this just enough to make you aware that you're not completely outside so i was juxtaposing nose and seeing which might be better for the creative process and everything dan. I'm fascinated in that. Because i can just see the rustic shepherd's hut and then i could see you in this super high tech pod. Did you try writing and thinking and organizing your thoughts in the high tech pod. I did but it's strange. You know the parts of that adventure. I spent six weeks in that port at is exactly the right word you use. It was apart and the nights. I loved best with a stormy nights where you'd get a snowstorm. And you get the gaels coming in and you would see these triple ply windows. But they would walk. You know you'd see them. Woman's breathing with the storm such was the elemental force outside. When you would feel the whole pod begin to move on its horses and it felt for a moment like you're in a ship in the middle of a stormy sea and those elements are like best where nature almost tried to get back on an even keel. 'cause you can be in this kind of almost hermetically sealed box away from everything. You can't hear the birds where everything is automated. You know everything is digital but nature will always find a way and the parts that i love most with a stormy elements and also. There was an amazing weekend. Where the pod developed several leaks and say you could hear dripping of water and the susie alec trysofi and there's something in me that likes the chaos of that so the pits. I really enjoyed so book. Takes us all over the world. Tell.