By Alessandro Carosi
Last week I had one of the most beautiful walks since arrived in Scotland, there was a special feeling, a deep spiritual feeling that I carried in my soul for all the 25 km that took me from South Queensferry to Linlithgow, I din’t feel so good, energetic and fully present in the now for so long, everything had a magical atmosphere, I could feel the love emanate from everywhere, the sea, the plants, the rocks, the grass, myself, maybe the weather could feel it too cause from a grey and cold morning where I experienced anything, Rain, wind, snow, hailstorm it slowly become sunny and warm.
Nature is what I come for in Scotland and I haven’t been disappointed so far, Edinburgh is a wonderful city and is surrounded by everything an environmentalist would dream, left South Queensferry the main view was, farms in one side and the sea in the other, I was light and positive with a great Japanese music as initial soundtrack, on and off I would switch it to Motivational speeches to stories from my favourite writer, Tiziano Terzani.
The journey begun with Queensferry crossing bridge in the background wishing me a nice journey
the day have been a day of reflections about my life, where I have been, where I am, where I’m heading to,there aren’t countries to reach this time but the place I’m looking for is within myself, I’m searching for that peace of mind, for love,love within.
I spent the day admiring the beauty of the blue sea on one side and the green farms and hills on the other creating with the power of imagination possible life scenarios or maybe unconsciously remembering past lives or lives in parallel universes , those stories I created in my mind made me feel better, made me happy meanwhile I would keep walking enjoying this peacefulness I wasn’t used to anymore, I was alone to play with my imagination and the nature that would pass from a sea view to farms then forests, then sea again, up and down the hills gazing at life with eyes of a kid, a kid within myself that trying hard to don’t give up to the harshness of life, before I left London for this new adventure, Thailand first and then now Scotland a friend Tarot reader picked a powerful card, that later would be confirmed by an other Tarot reader ”The Hermit” a time of self reflection, a time of awakening, a time of solitude, it is, I’m to a crossroad where I have to leave behind the old and embrace the new, I think I know what I have to leave behind isn’t easy but I feel I’m heading in the right direction, meanwhile my soul was wondering my physical body took me to a beautiful palace, Hopetoun house is probably the result of what I dislike most, gaining of material wealth and showing off but I can’t deny its beauty and magnificence, hopefully will be used for something more meaningful now.
Hopetoun House is a country house near Queensferry, West Lothian, owned by the Hopetoun House Preservation Trust, a charity established in 1974 to preserve the House and Grounds as a national monument and to protect and improve their amenities, and to preserve for the benefit of the nation the furniture, paintings, manuscripts and other articles of historical or artistic interest associated with the House. The south wing of the house is occupied by the family of The 4th Marquess of Linlithgow as their family home.
The house was built 1699-1701 and designed by Sir William Bruce. The house was then hugely extended from 1721 by William Adamuntil his death in 1748, being one of his most notable projects. The interior was completed by his sons John Adam and Robert Adam. The magnificent entrance hall dates from 1752.
The Hope family acquired the land in the 17th century and operated lead mines. Charles Hope, the first occupant, was only 16 years old when his mother, Lady Margaret Hope, signed the contract for building with William Bruce, on 28 September 1698. The master mason is noted as Tobias Bachope of Alloa. The plumber and glazier was John Forster of Berwick.
The English garden style landscape park in which it lies were laid out in 1725, also by William Adam. The east front centres on the distant isle of Inchgarvie and North Berwick Law. The walled garden dates from the late 18th century. In the grounds an 18th-century mound was excavated in 1963 to reveal the remains of the earlier manor house, Abercorn Castle, dating from the 15th century.
In 1974, Charles William Frederick Hope, 3rd Marquess of Linlithgow created The Hopetoun House Preservation Trust to ensure Hopetoun House and the estate were preserved for future generations.
I was constrained to diverge from the sea to walk through the farms and the extent of the land shared by farms and forest made me suddenly feel lighter, my mind that didn’t stop creating alternative life scenario brought me to one that is my favourite, I’m a famous basketball player in the NBA but with life principles different then the rest of the players, I don’t have expensive cars or live in a big house, a ride around my electric bicycle and speak about life simplicity and sustainability, I have a girlfriend I met in a bar but she doesn’t know I’m a famous basketball player, I tell kids that want my signature that real hero are their fathers and every summer I travel low budget writing about my adventures with a nickname so that people doesn’t know my true identity, I will open a cafe’ at the end of my career where people can meet and share their ideas talking about travels and spirituality, my girlfriend will run a yoga studio just above my shop, I will spend the last part of my basketball career playing around Asia to discover this mysterious and interesting part of the world, I read one time that anything we think and imagine are just memories from past lives or parallel universes where a different version of us lives.
Hopetoun house forced me to leave the seaside to go inland to the farms and hills but when at finally I overcome the massive property my imagination would not except such an otherworldly beauty like Blackness and Blackness castle
This 15th-century fortress, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, was built probably on the site of an earlier fort, by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s. At this time, Blackness was the main port serving the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow, one of the main residences of the Scottish monarch. The castle, together with the Crichton lands, passed to James II of Scotland in 1453, and the castle has been crown property ever since. It served as a state prison, holding such prisoners as Cardinal Beaton and the 6th Earl of Angus.
Strengthened by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart in the mid-16th century, the castle became one of the most advanced artillery fortifications of its time in Scotland. A century later, these defences were not enough to prevent Blackness falling to Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1650. Some years after the siege, the castle was repaired, and again served as a prison and a minor garrison. In 1693, the spur protecting the gate was heightened, and the Stern Tower shortened as a base for three heavy guns. Barracks and officers’ quarters were added in the 1870s, when the castle was used as an ammunition depot, until 1912. The castle was briefly reused by the army during World War I. It is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, in the care of Historic Scotland.
Because of its site, jutting into the Forth, and its long, narrow shape, the castle has been characterised as “the ship that never sailed”. The north and south towers are often named “stem” and “stern”, with the central tower called the “main mast”.
Blackness village lost in the middle of nowhere overlooked just by the ruins of a castle sleep peacefully looking at the sea and disturbed only by few visitors curious about what left of a building that would have a certain importance in the past and where I’m sure that before as now few wealthy people exploited a large group of people for their measly greedy interests, I try to don’t think about it and focus on the spiritual atmosphere that this isolated piece of land emanate.
It was early afternoon and the weather sunny and warm like I would never expect, life loves to play with us and when we less expect it shows us its power changing the reality and surroundings unexpectedly, I restarted my walk destination Bo’ness where I planned to catch the bus back to Edinburgh, the town wasn’t the prettiest I had seen so far but I already had my dose of beauty that day, the bus would not arrive for at least 2 more hours and there was no much more to see, I decided to take a train instead but the nearest train station was in a town with an unpronounceable name, at least for me, Linlithgow, that was one hour away, why not? The last train would be at 11 pm so I had plenty of time, I begun to walk up to the hill passing through a gorgeous countryside that reminded me of the comic ”Peanuts”
Unreal fields of yellow flowers and lonely trees stretched as far as the eye could see, reached the top of the hill a village in the distance would catch my eye probably the unpronounceable town, I kept walking following the main road till when felt attracted to turn left a narrow path offered me the view of an other unexpected scenario, a lake and palace perfect set for a Disney movie welcomed me to Linlithgow, what a magnificent view.
It is West Lothian’s county town, reflected in the county’s alternative name of Linlithgowshire. An ancient town, it lies south of its two most prominent landmarks: Linlithgow Palace and Linlithgow Loch, and north of the Union Canal.
I like to believe in synchronicities and after the name of this Saint attracted my attention I found on Instagram and on internet pop up Tarot cards dedicated to this Saint no stop, that the Universe is trying to tell me something? It seems that.
I had a stroll through the old town and high street admiring those old buildings that if they could speak would have amazing stories to tell, happily in the now like I haven’t been for a long time I caught the train back home.