In my race against time, and having just completed a 500 mile walk in Spain, I am already planning my next walking/fundraising adventure. Obviously, it has to be something even bigger! So: A wee stroll… More
[Shops in Ayr (Kyle Street) and Kilmarnock (Bank Street)]
Highlander Tartan Wear has been providing quality menswear and men’s hire since 1991. It is their mission to be “the best highland wear outfitter in the West Coast of Scotland” – with an unbeatable friendly approach as they strive tirelessly for complete customer satisfaction.
And I am extremely happy to be able to confirm that this is exactly what they do.
I have now purchased TWO kilts from Highlander Tartan Wear (formerly trading as Debonair). And had I not been completely satisfied with the first kilt (purchased in 1998), then there is no way that I would have paid them £300 for the kilt that I now wear.
But I was extremely happy. Both with the quality of the actual kilt, but more importantly, with the friendliness of the staff. I’m a bit of an awkward customer – I like things to be just right.
And I now wouldn’t go anywhere else.
And for another, very good, reason:
Kilts look ridiculous when worn with anything other than proper kilt socks (regardless of what many Scotland football supporters might think).
And, because of their thickness, kilt socks actually make very good walking socks. Which is why I always wear them on these walks (as I was in Spain).
But, when I was in Spain, I had a bit of a problem. Unknown to me at the time, I had put a bit of a hole in one of my socks. And being completely unaware of this, I continued walking for a further 20km. When I finally stopped, and removed my walking boot, there was a huge blister where the sock should have been (the blister completely enveloped my little toe). And it was another 3 days before I could walk again.
During this time, I contacted Highlander Tartan Wear, to have a replacement pair of socks sent out.
I had a bit of a problem though.
I had no postal address in Spain. And as I was always walking, I couldn’t hang around waiting in one place for too long. But simply addressing the package to “The Tall Guy Wearing a Kilt, Somewhere between Girona and Murcia” just wasn’t going to help Postman Pedro a lot.
So step forward the Spanish Couchsurfing community, and the amazingly-helpful Olivia.
I arranged to use an address further down the coast (in Adra), and would have the parcel delivered there, so that it was waiting for me when I arrived.
And there it was. But, instead of finding a replacement pair of socks inside, I found THREE pairs. Enough to allow me to finish my walk in Spain (and they will carry me around Arran too, and probably some of Canada later this Spring).
So Roy, and all at Highlander Tartan Wear/Debonair: I can’t tell you just how thankful I am (and how grateful my wee toe was!). You’ll be very happy to hear that your kilt has now appeared in the Sunday Post, in addition to the front page of the Ayrshire Post) 🙂
And yet another smiling Spanish family who were only too happy to help me out.
*kleenex alert* – well, I had a “speck of dust in my eye” at least :
I always like to feel that I bring something positive into the lives of the people that I meet. So when I was talking to Clara following my visit to Elx/Elche (I only spent one night there), there was a definite lump in my throat when she told me that her son, the ever-smiling Noam, had told her that he missed laughing with me.
The “wee toe” explained.
On my way to Alicante, I had put a *huge* hole in one of my socks. But I was completely unaware of this – and continued walking for 20km.
As a result, my wee toe was absolutely destroyed. At one point, the whole toe was enshrouded in a huge blister.
So, as I always wear proper kilt socks on these walks (a kilt just looks silly when worn with anything else, and because of the thickness, kilt socks are actually quite good for walking in), I contacted my kiltmakers (Highlander Tartan Wear Kilts) in Scotland, to have a replacement pair sent out to Spain.
Now this is some story!
On hearing of my plight, and seeing one of his kilts on the front page of the Ayrshire Post:
Roy McNair, the boss at Highlander (formerly Debonair), offered to send me out not one pair, but *three* pairs, of replacement socks. Enough to see me through until the planned end of my walk in Gibraltar.
There was only one slight problem though. Where exactly to send them?
Simply addressing the package to “The Tall Guy Wearing a Kilt, Somewhere between Girona and Gibraltar” wasn’t going to help the Spanish postie much.
So I needed an address. But I was always moving, so it would need to be further down the coast somewhere. And, as it would take about 1 week for the parcel to arrive, it had to be quite far down the coast.
But I hadn’t been down there yet. I knew nobody who could hold the parcel for me.
Olivia lives in Adra, Spain, and happily agreed to hold the package until I arrived in a week or so.
[photo: The Highlander/Debonair (Kyle Street, Ayr) logo. Without a doubt, *the* place to buy authentic kilts and accessories in the west of Scotland.]
Ah, the “wee toe” saga.
Rather than have you look at my rather misshapen toe while I explain, I’ll explain on the next photograph (I’m guessing that you don’t really want to have this image in your head for too long).
The ever-smiling Luis in Villajoyosa.
And his house is absolutely stunning. Luis has taken an old, typically-Spanish house (the doorways are *tiny* – so I had to remember to duck now and again – Spanish people were a lot shorter back in the day), and transformed it into a very contemporary home. From the street, his home is nothing to write home about, but step inside….
But what made my stay with Luis even more memorable, was CRETE!
Luis had just finished his airline bookings – for a trip in December. And he was taking his bike. So for a whole month, he intends to cycle all over Crete, following little paths which will bring him into contact with Cretans who remain unspoiled by mass tourism.
I did something similar in 1992 (although I hitchhiked rather than cycled), so I am *so* jealous.
Luis – you will have an amazing time!
When I had just been soaked *again* after having all of my wet clothes washed & dried in Denia (I found myself at the top of a hill when the heavens opened – and the only shelter was a *solitary* tree), then the welcome that awaited me in Javea couldn’t have been warmer.
With the lovely Laurence (French), their adorable little dog Tiki (who *did* like to lick my bare legs, and sniff my kilt), and the ever-chatty Matthew (English) who imports Spanish wine into England (and elsewhere).
And to make Javea even more memorable, the rain had finally stopped.
The absolutely wonderful Pau (Perales de Sinope).
Pau made my walks around Denia memorable for two reasons:
First, was his informing me of the “Vias Verdes”. They are all over Spain. Disused railway lines that have been transformed into FLAT cycling/walking paths;
But the second reason was even more important. On the days preceding my visit to Denia, the rain arrived. Big style. I had been soaked to the skin 4 times in 3 days. There was not a single item of clothing in my bag that I could wear if I got wet again. Not even a dry pair of socks.
It does bring you down a bit.
But Pau happily washed and dried the lot.
So when I left Denia, everything in my bag was dry.
I only then got soaked again on my way to Javea though!
Another amazing “Via Verde”: The disused Carcaixant-Denia railway line, which has now been transformed into an oasis of peace. And again, it was only thanks to the amazing Pau (Perales de Sinope) that I even found it.
This photograph, and the one that follows, was only possible thanks to Pau (Perales de Sinope) who I was visiting in Denia.
When I told Pau that I was walking from Gandia, he naturally assumed that I would be taking the “Vias Verdes” where possible:
I was ashamed to admit, that in all of the research I had done before embarking on this trip (I turned the internet upside-down), I had never even heard of the “Vias Verdes”.
So it was thanks to Pau, that I found myself walking through the middle of a huge orange grove, on an almost-deserted cycle/walking path!