Monday, February 15, 2021

Scottish and Welsh Golf and the World at War, Part 2

 

This is the second part of the story. For the first part, see the previous post.


Scotland and Wales’ golf courses and clubs suffered tremendous financial loses during the war years. With so many golfers enlisted in the military, club membership took a big hit. North Berwick West’s membership was reduced from 87 members in 1940 to 35 in 1945. On Isle Arran, Shiskine’s membership dropped from 112 to 48. Memberships were so depleted that at Blairgowrie GC in 1917 no quorum showed up for the annual meeting. Even worse, at Kinghorn GC on Fife, the club couldn’t muster a quorum for a club meeting to disband the club. Records for the Aberfoyle GC show that for one five-week stretch in 1917,

Aberfoyle GC was pretty empty this day as well.


 only one person had used the course. Along with a reduction of membership, of course, came a reduction in financial resources which threatened the continued existence of clubs like Kingussie GC in the Highlands. The Bangor GC in Wales was a unique case. 

St Dieniol GC, Bangor, Wales



At the beginning of the First World War club members felt the war would be a short engagement and went ahead with plans to build a new clubhouse. As the war dragged on and prices rose dramatically, financial disaster was imminent. The club declared bankruptcy in 1916. A reorganized St Deiniol GC opened after the war using the same Bangor course.  Further financial damage was done when courses, like Anstruther and Abernethy, completely shut down for the duration of the war. Nine-hole St. Boswell GC in the Borders region of Scotland was closed from 1944 to 1947. Within a year of reopening, the River Tweed flooded the course. It was not rebuilt until 1957. 

Hopeman was one of those courses which only survived by being rebuild after each war.


Although, the St. Boswell course did survive, the ultimate sacrifice was made by many courses whose names are just memories now. Corriecravie on Isle Arran, Acherfield and Fidra in the East Lothians, Falkland in Fife, Longmen in Inverness, Ballinluig and Delvine near Pitlochry, and Penally in south Wales were all closed and never reopened. Sauchhope Links, once a fine Fife golf course, is now a caravan park. Markinch GC reopened for only one year after the war before succumbing to financial pressures. 

For those courses which did survive, some physical scars do remain. The flat holes at Powfoot are one reminder of what war did to golf courses. More dramatic, and of more concern to today’s players, are the remnants of German bombings. Stonehaven GC, south of Aberdeen, has a grass bunker in-play off the left side of the first fairway. The bunker is the result of a bomb dropped in August of 1940, by a German plane heading home from a mission. The hazard is now named, “Hitler’s Bunker.” Powfoot, also, left bomb damage in-play. The ninth hole is called “Crater” after the huge German bomb crater short of the green. Today, that bunker is a reminder of how hard it is to hit that particular green. Anne and I played Buckpool GC on the north coast of Scotland a couple of years after an unexploded ordinance was found near the green on one fairway. 

Buckpool GC now has a new bunker.


The MOD closed the course until they could explode the bomb. The course now has a new bunker more than 60 years in the making. 

The flax mounding gives golfers interesting shots from Forfar GC's fairways.


The rolling fairways of the first few holes at Forfar GC north of Dundee are the result of using fairways in World War I for drying netted flax. In November 1940 a RAF Spitfire fighter made a forced landing at Canmore GC. The landing and the hauling away of the plane did severe damage which can still be seen to several fairways. Perhaps the most devastation was done to the Cardross GC on the River Clyde north of Glasgow. 

Cardross GC with its rebuilt 18th green and clubhouse.

Cardross GC


On May 6, 1941, the local villages and golf courses were bombed as part of a raid on the Glasgow ship works. While nearby Milngavie GC suffered damage to the 18th fairway and clubhouse, the Cardorss GC clubhouse was destroyed by incendiary devices, fairways and greens were hit several times, and several club members were killed in the blasts. 

Besides playing around the bomb craters, avoiding the mines, and, at Aboyne GC, staying out the rough, which was planted with potatoes, golfers had to contend with other special war situations. Conditioning of the courses was much affected by the war. Many courses had to reduce their number of holes. Royal Dornoch and Boat of Garten both stopped maintenance on their farthest four holes because of a lack of grounds crew. 

Boat of Garden GC in the Highlands


After the MOD took much of the course, the remaining holes at Tenby became almost unplayable as moles and rabbits took over the course. Some courses, like Tulliallan in Scotland and St Deiniol in Wales, were maintained only because members were assigned specific holes to tend. At Panmure GC there weren’t enough members left keep the course playable, 

Panmure GC


but the Royal Scots Regiment stationed at nearby Barry Camp helped groom the course in exchange for free playing privileges.  The most interesting example of course shortening was at Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club on Isle Arran. 

Shiskine GC--4th Green, Drumadoon Point, and the Kilbrannan Sound.


Six of the holes created by Willie Park & Sons, extending the course from nine to 18-holes, were permanently lost during World War I. Because of the lack of maintenance staff, the six Willie Park hill holes built on the side of Drumadoon Point were left to revert to their primitive state of gorse, heather, and bracken. After the war, the club chose not to reclaim the holes. Thus was born the world’s first permanent 12-hole course, a number which many visitors find to be just right. 

Lack of staff and money created other maintenance headaches. For instance, because golf courses were only allotted ten gallons of petrol per month, fairways were seldom cut and rough became very deep. We know conditions for golfers during World War I were tough when Pyle & Kenfig GC (southern Wales) 

Me enjoying Pyle and Kenfig GC's bunkers.


club meeting minutes noted the “admirable sacrifice of the club in giving up bacon and ham” for the duration. The toughness of Scottish and Welsh golfers is not to be doubted. During competitions, or casual rounds, special war rules were in effect. One such rule said: “A player whose stroke is effected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb or shell, or by machine-gun fire, may play another ball from the same place. Penalty, one stroke.” And another one: “In competitions, during gunfire or whilst bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.”

Golf equipment wasn’t left unaffected, either. In the First World War, importing hickory shafts for golf clubs was banned and club heads were often melted down for their metal. Golf balls became as valuable as gold to golfers. Since all rubber was needed for war related uses, new balls had almost disappeared by 1940. Players used balls until they were beaten, battered, and broken; then they were repainted and used some more. To lose a golf ball, even in thick gorse, was a crime. Searching for an hour or more was not unheard of in pursuit of a lost, playable ball. At Blairgowrie GC 

Blairgowrie Rosemount GC


two Glasgow Highlanders stationed nearby, stripped to the buff (in other words, took off their kilts) and waded into the Black Loch (part of the course) to look for lost balls which were then out of production. “They found them not by the scores, but by the hundreds.” [Cub Centenary Book] These were sold to local shopkeepers to resell. In one case early in the war years, a competition was held with a fresh turkey as first prize and six new Dunlop 65 balls as second prize. Everyone played for second! 

During the war years, competitions became rarer or nonexistent. The Ryder Cup became the first victim of the Second World War when the 1939 matches in the US were canceled. The competitive spirit wasn’t dimmed, however, as shown by the Secretary of the British PGA’s cable to America: “When we have settled our differences and peace reigns, we will see that our team comes across to remove the Ryder Cup from your safekeeping.” The venerated Open Championship was suspended from 1940 to 1945, as it had been during the war years of 1915 to 1919. Those local competitions which were held, were often changed. The women’s competitions at Grantown-on- Spey, for instance, donated all entry fees to the local Red Cross. There were also many examples of professional and amateur golfers playing exhibitions to raise money for the war effort. In World War I, American superstar Bobby Jones (then only 16) played a match at North Berwick to raise money for the Red Cross. English professional Henry Cotton at about the same time played a match at Dumfries & County GC which raised £150 for the war effort—a small fortune for those days.

Not everything that happened as a result of the wars had a negative impact on the game. The war years brought more women to golf. They played more and their club status often changed from associate members to full members. One of the most dramatic changes to the game, which most would call positive, started at Powfoot GC in southern Scotland. 

Powfoot GC


The Sabbatarian tradition of no golf on Sunday was well entrenched in Scotland and Wales prior to 1914. Because of the war, Powfoot granted workers at the munition factory in nearby Gretna the right to play for free on their only day off--Sunday. Powfoot GC was one of the first to end Scotland’s Sabbaterian tradition, but other clubs in the area followed suit and the Sunday ban slowly lifted. Examples of financial gain by clubs during the war years are difficult to find, though some do exist. A prime example is St Deiniol GC (former Bangor GC) which went bankrupt in 1916. 

Anne tees off at St Denial GC overlooking Bangor, Wales.


During the second war the club profited from the large numbers of evacuees from London who moved to safer Wales. When the BBC offices were relocated to Bangor, alcohol sales in the clubhouse increased dramatically with, according to club minutes,  “bar receipts in one of the war years touching a new high record level.”

It is said that in war there are no winners, only survivors. Golf in Scotland and Wales, for the most part, proved itself a survivor. As we play one of our favorite courses in the world, Shiskine Golf and Tennis Club, we marvel that its unique twelve hole layout is the result of a War-to-End-All-War. 


NEXT: We visit England and the Cotsolds, in Better Days

Monday, February 1, 2021

Golf and the World at War

 


I’ve been working on this project for several years, using golf history books, personal interviews with golf course managers and historians, and special golf club centenary or anniversary publications. Part of my Scottish material used here was previously published in Highlander Magazine (May/June, 2006).


Scottish and Welsh Golf and the World at War  

War and golf in Scotland and Wales are not inextricably linked, but their paths have crossed several times. One of the very earliest records for “gowf” was King James II’s decree in 1457 to ban the game, so that soldiers and noblemen would spend more time practicing archery to better defend the homeland against English invasion. James III and IV convinced their parliaments to affirm that ban. 

Though that ban was unenforceable, the most important connections were forged during the two World Wars, 1914 to 1919 and 1939 to 1945. These were times of extreme crisis, in which the game of golf was but one of the victims. Golf courses suffered the ravages of war through damages to courses and club finances. At the same time, golfers incurred losses to their own games. 

Anne and I became aware of the golf-war relationship as we played courses with town or parish monuments to those lost in the War-to-End-All-Wars (the names of locals who gave their lives in other wars have been added to many of the monuments). Maybole Golf Club in Ayrshire has such a monument beside the sixth green. 

Maybole GC, Ayrshire, Scotland


Also in Ayrshire, Turnberry displays a monument just to the right of the twelfth hole. While other courses, such as Anstruther on Fife and Bucky Strathlene on the Moray coast, have monuments near greens or tees, Abernethy GC in Nethy Bridge (Highlands) has a monument in-play on the eighth hole. 

Abernethy GC, Nethy Bridge, Highlands


Knowledgeable golfers aim to the left of the monument to find the fairway on this blind par-four. The Birnam War Memorial was a special case. The old Birnam course closed and was sold in 1920 because without transportation nearby it was too far out for players to get to. Some money from the sale of the course was used to build a war memorial and stone from the new Birnam & Dunkeld course was used in the memorial. Whereas monuments, whether in-play or not, are reminders of the casualties of war, golf courses were themselves casualties. 

During both world wars, the MOD (Ministry of Defense) needed golf course land for its own purposes. In 1914 the Old Birnam and Dunkeld course along Scotland’s River Tay was dug up in practice trench digging exercises. The  course didn’t reopen until 1927 in a new location. At Tenby in southwest Wales the defense demands started early. The MOD made a compulsory buy of four holes of land for a training facility early in the century, and then demanded a further two holes in World War I. The course never did get any of the land back, and today Tenby still has a target range next to several of the beginning holes. Local defense volunteer forces used Southerndown GC in southern Wales for training and gunnery practice during the Great War. The west end of North Berwick West Links was used for RAF (Royal Air Force) target practice, and weapons pits and defensive bunkers were built along the sea edge of the course. Also just off the seaward edge of the course, the MOD anchored the HMS Ludlow which was then used as a target for bombing practice. Numerous courses, including Boat of Garden, 

Boat of Garden GC, Highlands


Cardross, and Banchory, were used by the Home Guard for training. 

In World War II Aberdour GC in Scotland became home to Heavy “A” Batteries (air defense), 

Aberdour GC, Firth of Forth, Fife


while nearby Balbirnie Park GC was heavily damaged by placement of ack-ack guns and search lights. Trenches, barbed-wire, and mines were placed on many seaside links courses such as Crail Balcomie, 

Crail Balcomie Links, Fife Ness


Elie, Dunbar, and Peterhead. On the seaward side of Leven Golf Links in Fife you can still see the cement blocks used as tank traps in the Second World War. At Tenby, the dunes on the seaward side of the fairways were fenced and mined. Much of Royal St David’s GC, sited just below impressive Harlech Castle on Wales’ west coast, was torn up as a training ground for tank drivers. Not far away,  Pwllheli GC didn’t suffer as much damage because it was only used as a local officers’ training facility. Golfers at Fraserbugh GC in northeast Scotland continued to play around large poles placed in fairways to thwart enemy glider landings. At St Deiniol GC in Bangor, Wales, the same type anti-glider poles were placed on fairways, which seemed to us a silly decision because when we played the hillside course we couldn’t find a level enough place to land a golf ball, let alone a troop carrying glider. It was the RAF which exacted the biggest toll when it dug up historic Turnberry 

Turnberry GC, Lighthouse, Ailsa Craig, and the North Irish Channel


and the Ladies’ Course at Dornoch to build areodromes or landing fields. 

Golf course land was also in heavy demand for food production. Victory or Friendship Gardens were integral to the domestic war effort. Duff House Royal on Scotland’s Morayshire coast was ploughed up twice, once for each war, and rebuilt twice, as was Hopeman GC to the west. 

Hopeman GC, Morayshire, Scotland


The original course at Portfield Racecoiurse in Haverfordwest (southern Wales) was ploughed up for corn fields in World War I. Haverfordwest GC opened after the war in a new location. In World War II Balfron GC near Loch Lomand was ploughed up for agricultural use. Not much information remains about the old course, but a couple of old trophies turned up recently in a local bank attic.  

Monument at Kirriemuir GC, Angus, Scotland


Powfoot GC on the Solway Firth lost five holes to the plough (today, those rebuilt holes are still the flattest on the course), 

Canmore GC, near Dunfermline


while Canmore GC near Dunfermline lost more land which led to a complete redesign of the course in 1946. In World War I Pwllheli was reduced to nine holes, while the 9th and 10th holes at Baberton in Edinburgh became known as Baberton’s Potato Patch. Many courses, such as Shiskine, 

Third Hole, Shiskine GC, Isle of Arran


Kinghorn, Muirfield, and Aboyne, avoided the plough, but were used to graze sheep and cattle. At the difficult Cruden Bay GC near Aberdeen it is said that the sheep toughened the course even more by enlarging the bunkers. At Panmure GC on Scotland’s east coast, local authorities during the First World War demanded that the course be opened for sheep grazing until the shepherd reported his sheep were starving because of the sparse grass on the links course. In the next war the experiment was tried again with the same results. Panmure is a great links course, but what is good for a long drive isn’t necessarily good for little lambs. 

It fits with Sir Winston Churchill’s words to Hitler, “You can do your worst, and we will do our best” that clubhouses and other golf course buildings found uses in the war effort, as well. Troops were billeted at Boat of Garten, Royal Troon, Alloa, and Lundin Ladies’ Links 

4000 Year Old Standing Stones on the 2nd hole at Lundin Ladies' GC, Fife


(the only time men have been allowed in that clubhouse). At Aberdour on Fife the Polish armed forces billeted from 1942 until 1947 when the clubhouse was given back to the club.  The experience at Panmure was typical of most courses. Even though more than 100 soldiers were billeted for much of the second war, the clubhouse was returned to the club in pristine condition. Not so at Crieff GC in central Scotland. When the MOD took over the Crieff Clubhouse, the club moved its historical records to an equipment shed. 

Small 3000 Year Old Stone Circle on Crieff GC, Central Scotland


Those records were lost when the shed was destroyed in an accidental fire caused by troops staying there. Part of the opulent Gleneagles Resort Hotel, the host club for the 2014 Ryder Cup competition, became the headquarters for Tom Johnston, Scotland’s Secretary of State, and the rest of the hotel served as a convalescent hospital. In 1944, 

Gleneagles Queen's Course, Central Scotland


Southerndown GC in Wales became a safe haven from Hitler’s V1 and V2 rocket attacks for more than 100 mothers and children from the east coast of England. The club’s lounge became a dormitory and the good weather that summer allowed the children acres and acres of playground complete with natural sandboxes.


Next: Second half of the project.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Scotland's Best Nine Hole Golf Course

The following article was intended for publication in Pacific Northwest Golfer Magazine, but never got published--Covod-19 has disrupted many plans. I do want to recognize our course in Scotland, where we've been proud members since 2006, by at least presenting the article here.

2nd Green

Bluebells and the 4th Green

Scotland’s True Hidden Gem : St Fillans GC, the Best 9-Hole Course in Scotland 


The Old Course at St Andrews is recognized as the Home of Golf. The King’s and the Queen’s courses at Gleneagles may be golf’s royalty. Prestwick, Royal Troon, and Carnoustie represent golf’s heritage, but the gems of Scotland golf, the diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, have names like Fortrose and Rosemarkie, Boat of Garden, Shiskine, Crail, and Crieff.  While the world may recognize and honor the grand courses of Scottish golf, golfers visiting the land of the Whisky Trail and the Castle Trail would be remiss if they didn’t seek out the gems hidden in almost every small community in Scotland. Here, on these little known and mostly unacknowledged  courses, visitors will find interesting holes, challenging tests, friendly and accommodating staffs, eminently fair prices, and, unlike the big name clubs, Scots on the courses.

Preeminent among these hidden gems is Perthshire’s St Fillans Golf Club, recently voted 2019’s (no course was named for 2020) Best 9-Hole Course in Scotland at the Scottish Golf Tourism Awards [st-fillans-golf.com]. This wee gem is nestled in the Strathearn Valley at the edge of the Highlands just south of Loch Earn and only minutes from Perth. My wife and I first played St Fillans in 2003 and became international members of the club in 2006. The mostly flat course looks like it would be easy, but it isn’t. Easy or difficult, St Fillans will always be fun and friendly.

When we first played St Fillans we were researching our first book, Scotland’s Hidden Gems: Golf Courses and Pubs (2005). We quickly fell in love with the easy to walk parkland/heathland course. Besides being close to our home base in Crieff, St Fillans is lovely any time of year—surrounded with dramatic hills, cuckoos calling in the spring, stag deer bellowing in the fall. Each hole at St Fillans is unique and challenging.


From the 1st green we watch the rain falling on the surrounding hills. 



The first is typical of the play at St Fillans—it looks easy (and was for Vijay Singh who almost drove the green at the 321-yard par 4)—but it’s a challenging dogleg left start for most of us with trees down the left and an eyeball-shape raised green.


From the 3rd Tee



The 3rd is a 276-yard par 4 which plays from an elevated tee (on St Fillans’ Seat, the only hill on the course). Even I drove the green here; once when I was younger and had a twenty mile an hour helping wind, but the hole usually plays into the wind and has trees left and right and three strategic bunkers. 




The View Back from the 5th Green



The Bothy is the 265-yard par 4 fifth where your tee shot is blind over part of the same hill you teed from on the third. The second shot is to a raised green with rough all around and steep drop off the back. On the sixth tee take a moment to look closely at the hill behind the green—Dundurn was a Pictish hill fort occupied from about 500 to 800AD. It’s here on one of our rounds with American friends, Helen and Grady, that the greenskeeper yelled at us to stop the cows who had gotten out of the neighboring field and were heading toward the green. Locals still tell the story of American city folk waving their arms trying to block cows from stomping the green.

The 7th Fairway with the neighbor's cottage in the background.

John Clifford from Crieff tees off on the 7th.



 The 7th at 449 yards is reputed to be the longest par four in Perthshire. OB left, trees right, and strategic bunkers will make a five seem like a good score on this par four. On the day of “The Wedding” (William and Kate) all the local men skipping the televised event had the additional problem of teeing off on the 7th with two young red deer sharing the tee box—the photo made the front page of the next day’s (Glasgow) Herald.

 

St Fillans Clubhouse & Tearoom

Members Gather for a Morning Competition




Coming off the ninth, a well-bunkered finishing hole, be sure to stop at the pleasant clubhouse/tearoom—the food, whether sweets, a light lunch, or one of the special weekend dinners, is always excellent.  

The history of the course is very much the history of golf. During one of golf’s growth spurts in the early 1900s when courses developed at Arbroath, Portpatrick, Powfoot, Walton Heath, St David’s City, Ralston, and many more, the local Lord Willoughby de Eresby gifted a plot of land for the building of a golf course along the River Earn and beside the mountains of Glen of Lednock. The Laird also hired St Andrews’ professional Willie Auchterlonie to design the nine-hole track. Lord Willoughby de Eresby officially opened the course on August 8th, 1903. While at first quite rough, St Fillans has developed into a finely maintained and conditioned course of 5520 yards and par 68 from the members’ tees—almost 600 yards longer for competitions and a hundred yards shorter for ladies.

The award by Scottish Golf Tourism is a recognition of the commitment of local members and the able stewardship of golf manager (since 1996) Gordon Hibbert. The course’s outstanding condition is a credit to Hibbert and to greenskeeper John Myles who came to the club a couple of years ago after more than 20 years at Gleneagles. Involvement in the Scottish golf community is also a feature of the course. 


Gordon raised the European flag while I raised the Stars and Stripes before the Ryder Cup matches at nearby Gleneagles in 2014.



St Fillans was one of only four official Ryder Cup Television venues in 2014 when the Cup was played for at Gleneagles. The golf and local community work well together every other year to support local charity through The Sandy Lyle Day Charity Competition held at the course. Masters and Open champion Lyle is a strong supporter of golf at St Fillans and calls the course, “My favorite inland Scottish course.”


An ancient Stuart family kirk and graveyard is beside the 7th fairway.



On a tour of the great courses of Scotland such as Kingsbarns, Castle Stuart, Royal Dornoch, and North Berwick, try to find a spot in your schedule for some low stress fun at one or more of Scotland’s fine village tracks, especially the Best 9-Hole Course in Scotland, St Fillans Golf Club.



NEXT; I'm just about done with an article for the blog on the effects of wars on Scottish and Welsh golf. It will be at least a two parter.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Christmas Greetings and a Post with Signs


 MERRY CHRISTMAS What a year it has been. Anne and I have worked hard to stay safe and sane. We play golf whenever the weather and injuries allow, always social distancing. We only venture out when we need to shop. Anne has gotten quite good about knowing the best times to go to the safest places to get what we need when we can’t have delivery. We have a couple of social contacts we meet safely in garages or on patios. Otherwise, we’ve become very adept at Zoom Meetings. We hope you are well and safe and we all look forward to a
HAPPY HEALTHY SAFE 2021.



SIGNS — Maybe from Places We’ll Get to Next Year


As a senior at Linfield College (now Linfield University) I attended the Pi Kappa Delta National Speech Tournament where I competed in Oratory (persuasive speaking) and debate. My persuasive speech was really just a hippy-type college student’s rant against the machine. It was really a poor speech, but radical enough that I still placed in the top ten in the tournament. The speech was about the signs of society’s collapse. I could probably produce a speech today on the same topic and have it be relevant rather than rant. But that’s not the point of this post. That speech was likely the start of my fascination with signs.

Signs of all kinds are interesting on several levels and they tell us a lot about ourselves and the world we live in. They also tell us about those who came before us and thus our history. Petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) are part of the cultural language of many of our ancestors (for me, particularly Native American ancestors). 



Other signs also speak to our history. For instance, “the barber’s pole reminds us that once upon a time a barber was a leech, and practiced phlebotomy, the red and white pole he hung at his door being supposed to represent the bleeding limb and the white surgical bandage twisted round it.” [Inns, Ales and Drinking Customs of Old England, Jennings, 1895]

Pitlochry, Scotland


In our travels, especially to the UK, I’ve collected pictures of many interesting signs. It’s been easy because as one English essayist noted, “Our streets are filled with blue boars, black swans, and red lions, not to mention flying pigs and hogs in armor, with many other creatures more extraordinary than any in the deserts of Afric.[sic]” So I here present some of those signs categorized as signs of Business, Direction, Information, Inspiration, Place, and Miscellany.

Business Signs. We have plenty of business signs in the US, but few match the interesting signs of the UK which has a history of compelling by law businesses to display signage since 1393.

B&B in St Ives, Cornwall. Strange name means a tropical food fish.

A Cornish pub in the tin mine area in Zennor, opened in 1391.

Pub in St Ives, Cornwall.

Pub in Linlithgow, Scotland, named for Mary Queen of Scots' handmaidens (all named Mary).

York pub.

This Red Lion is a pub in Avebury, Wiltshire, and is in the middle of the Avebury Stone Circle. This pub is one of the most haunted in England with at least five ghosts including a ghost coach with horses which pulls up to the inn at night.

A pub in Porlock, Exmoor Park, England, named after an English children's game we would call Keep Away.

The Dolphin Inn, Penzance, Cornwall, is another very haunted site with a violent smuggling history and used as a courthouse and jail from a famous hanging judge. Room 5 is the most haunted with many guests leaving in the middle of the night.


A subcategory of business signs are those which relate to the products being sold by the business.

Bourton on the Water, Cotswolds



Signs which Direct. We stayed once in a small village on the English side of Solway Firth where we complimented the B&B host on the good signage between the village and Carlisle. She was astonished and asked if we really followed the road signs to get to the B&B. We told her we did and she said, “You must live a charmed life because those sings change in the wind each day.”

Falkland, Scotland

Durness, far NW Scotland



Lonely sign on North Yorkshire Moors


Signs to Give Information. Many signs are meant to provide vital or interesting information and many do that job well. Sometimes, though, the information isn’t appreciated.

Political Protest

Warning of bears on the trail in Banff National Park, Canada. 

What are you doing fishing? On Sunday you should be in church in Scotland.


Signs to Inspire. These signs might inspire (or instruct) us to mighty deeds or profound thoughts. In other cases they may just cause us to say, “Duh!”

Cornwall, England



Fits too well 2020.



Signs which Put Us in Our Place. Signs can let us know where we are but often they also tell us something about where we are.

Our home base in Scotland.

This combination of signs didn't last too long.

In a couple of years it changed to this.


Lastly, Miscellaneous Signs. These are signs I couldn’t categorize, but didn’t want to leave out.

We stood around on the tee box for about an hour before someone came along and rang the stupid bell.

WTF




NEXT: Hopefully, travel will begin to open up as we help each other stay safe.