Saturday, 24 July 2010

Chronicle of the Kings of Alba | Heritage Key

Chronicle of the Kings of Alba | Heritage Key: "Chronicles of the Kings of Alba’s repatriation to Scotland was launched by Scottish politicians and historians in 2008."

Let The Music Flow

Friday, 23 July 2010

Scotland Travel links

Motorhome Links
• UK Motorhomes -
• RV Links -
• Motorhome Info -
• Blue Juice Conversions. Bespoke camper conversions for VW Vans and partner of Open Road Scotland.
• Scottish T5 Camper and Motorhome Community Forum –
• FreeLine MotorHomes provide motorhome rental, campervan hire,
  motorhome hire and campervan rental services in UK. –
• Freedom of Scotland. 4 and 6 berth Motorhome Hire in Scotland. -
• Motorhome City. Hire, Earn From, Buy and Sell Motorhomes in the UK and Ireland. -
• Volkswagen Camper Guide, a useful site for anyone thinking of buying a camper. -
General Tourist Info:
• Visit Scotland. -
• The Internet guide to Scotland -
• West of Scotland Tourism -
• Travel Directory -
• Caledonian MacBrayne Ferries. -
• Easyjet -
• Ryanair -
• Travel -
• MACS Adventure Company. Worldwide adventure holidays and experiences -
Camping and Caravanning
• Scottish Camping -
• UK Holiday Parks Guide -
• Camping and Caravanning Club -
• Campsites Scotland. Find caravan parks and campsites with Caravan Sitefinder -
• Rudha-na-Craige. Beautiful and Historic Guest house located in Inverary -
• Scotland’s Golf Courses -
• Quality golf gear to rent in Scotland. -
Walking, Climbing & Outdoor Activities
• Walk Scotland -
• Scottish Mountaineering Club -
• Boots and Paddles. Outdoor Adventure Activities in the Highlands of Scotland -
• The Nevis Resort
• Glenshee -
• Cairngorm -

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

“NO” TO More PYLONS in the Scottish Highlands

There is a chance that they are going to run some huge pylons all the way from ullapool to Beauly and beyond

This is a wee film with links to try to stop this rape of our wonderful mountains please take a wee minute and lend your support

many thanks

Andy the dafthermit

Peace and light

URGENT HELP NEEDED Hats for sale ( save a hermit)

2010-07-20 for sale 
2010-07-20 for sale1

Help Needed
It is late on a Tuesday night here in the Scottish mountains ,outside the rain is beating doon and the mist has enveloped us ,no fire in the hearth as we have run oot of wood so no sign of the two wee starving hermits is visible.

The cupboards are bare and cobwebs stretch from door to door even our cat Wilkie has wrapped a hanky around a pole and attached it to a wee stick and mumbling something about he is off to find someone to give him a meal .. any meal

No food is in any cupboards save a wee rusty tin of mustard till Monday…

Will we make it ????
Who knows so if no more blog posts appear, forgive me and it has been amazing to meet you all here as else where on the net

We have managed to with the last of our joint strength to make and put the two wee hats up for sale on Ebay so if you can please help save two wee hermits from a cold and certain death ..

then pop over a place a wee bid on Ebay

LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL and farewell to all my wonderful friends xx

Click here if you wish to place a wee bid

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Free Satellite broadband Equipment for people living in rural WALES

The company i use for my satellite system up here in the highlands of scotland has teamed up with the Welsh Assembly to provide free equipment and instalation if you live in rural parts of Wales but be quick and apply for the grant

Click here for more info

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Ebay listing save the highlands buy a PYLON

great chance to earn good money

Buy A Pylon save the highlands

water run3 water run1
Take a good look at the view above ,in the next few years this view will be destroyed for ever .

                                THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN to our wonderful highlands

 sites to vist to help stop this
Pylon Pressure
Highlands before pylons

Equipment needed : To Help STOP THIS
Cutting equipment


cost £1.00
either buyer collects or delivery can be arranged for a small fee
if you collect please call at the  site between 2.00 am and 6.00 am ( bring a torch dismantling equipment available on site)

                                       With the price of scrap at an all time high this is an chance not to be missed…..

                                                                                JOB OPPORTUNITY

                                                                  Pylon Pincher
Calling all dodgy fly by night types sick of getting caught for wee bits of scrap an new and exciting opportunity has arisen in the beautiful Highlands .

expand your horizons why mess about with wee bits of wire when ton upon ton of high grade steel and copper are available to you for the taking..

have a holiday at the same time as getting rich and a wee side line you will be doing your bit for the environment ..

The successful applicant will have little or no skill but must have a drive to work hard

HOURS:       To suit but mostly nighshift and possible weekends away
Pay        :      This is up to you the sky is the limit ( and of course the international metal markets)
Equipment :   This can be supplied at a small admin cost
Transport :     Must  have own transport as you will need to take the dismantled pylon away each night
Insurance :     Why bother just another cost
Fuel :              Nay bother bring a wee tube and sorted …( warning this may damage your health)
Food :             Italian stew can be supplied throughout the night ( may cause some side affects)
Accomadation  Everything from  5 star Hotels to a tent your choice as money will be no object
Investment :     Each successful applicant must pay the £1 ( no excuses) up front for their pylon although hp can be arranged

for further info and application form

please email :   i’
phone           :  999 night time only ( the phone lines are manned by  people that care at all times ready to help you reach your goal)

                                                                                HEALTH AND SAFETY
…………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………

At all times safety helmets and high vis jackets along with good boots MUST be worn at all times while on site visiting or working … anyone that fails to obey this will be given a bonus ….

Friday, 16 July 2010

Highlands before Pylons

    Western Isles Transmission Link

The Story So Far

The focus of our campaign is a proposed new electricity transmission line to link the Western Isles to the mainland grid. The perceived need for this connection arises on the one side from plans to build large scale renewable power stations on the Western Isles, and on the other side from plans to build a 400kV substation at Beauly, near Inverness, which would be at the northern end of the proposed Beauly to Denny power line. As such, it is impossible to consider the Western Isles link without also thinking about the merits of these other projects, and these are discussed elsewhere on our web site. On this page, however, we give details mainly related to the Western Isles Connection.

Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Limited (SHETL), which is part of the Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) group of companies, published a Preliminary Consultation Document in October 2004, which sought comments on various options for connecting major new wind farms on Lewis to the mainland grid.

The preliminary consultation document set out five separate route options for the new power line, all of which crossed the Highlands in the form of 400kV overhead lines. In February 2005, SHETL issued a report which stated that the original five routes had been reduced to two. It is also stated that the company were giving consideration to the use of underground DC cables, running to a point closer to Beauly.

In December 2006, the long awaited next phase of the consultation on the Western Isles connection was launched. The consultation document brought the news that the preferred option put forward by SHETL was for an underground cable from the west coast, just south of Ullapool, all the way to Beauly. This might seem like good news, but it leaves communities on the Western Isles, and elsewhere in the Highlands, blighted by industrial scale pylons and power plant. It is also the case that the underground cable solution through to Beauly is by no means assured, and SHETL include a proposal for a preferred overhead power line in the event that the underground cable is found to be unacceptable.

Finally, in October 2008, SHETL applied for consent to construct a transmission connection in the form of an undersea cable between Grabhair on Lewis and Little Loch Broom, and an underground cable between there and Beauly. It remains the case that the underground link is by no means assured - this application has many hurdles to clear. In the meantime, therefore, we continue to give below our view on the overhead line proposals, and the long distance subsea cable alternative.

The Area Affected

The preferred route of an overhead power line from Ullapool to Beauly would run through a tremendous variety of landscapes, from the coastal tranquility at Ardmair, through wild mountains, to the farmland around Beauly. Now that details of the proposed route are published, here you will soon be able to follow the route with the help of samples from the photographic survey that we are carrying out, and see what we are trying to save. Click here to see an example.

The Proposed Power Line

The proposal by SHETL is for a power line to connect major new wind farms on Lewis to the mainland, using a 400 kV overhead power line from Ardmair (on the West Coast north of Ullapool), to Beauly. The line will be carried on pylons (transmission towers) 45 to 50 metres high, at a spacing of about 300 metres (or so we are told).

How high is a pylon? In the voluntary consultation stage of the Beauly to Denny line, SSE quoted heights of around 50 metres. However, our understanding is that the final plans now submitted include a significant number of pylons at around 67 metres high.

The Effect of the Development

The topics that we are addressing include:

Visual impact on predominantly unspoilt scenery, much of which is regularly seen by residents and tourists.

Tourism - with beautiful scenery and unspoilt landscapes high on the agenda for the vast majority of visitors, there is a fear that the local economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism, will be badly affected.

Wild life and natural habitats - from the effect of access tracks on drainage, to bird collision with overhead lines, there are many factors that add to the true cost of the pylons.

Health - there is mounting scientific evidence to show that there is a health risk from high overhead voltage power lines, and nothing to show that they are completely safe. Our conclusion to date is that a low level of risk is not to be dismissed, and that it would be prudent to keep the power lines well away from any habitation. Reasonable guidance from a leading expert in the field is a separation of at least 200m to protect against the effect of magnetic fields, and 400m in areas with more atmospheric pollution, where charged particles known as corona ions are of concern.

What next? Is this the thin end of the wedge?  We are concerned that a power line will attract proposals for major wind farm developments in areas around the power line, which will have a further effect on areas of great natural beauty. It is also clear that reinforcement of the grid is being carried out incremenally, and that other areas will be targetted once the Lewis-Ullapool-Beauly-Denny line is complete. The other lines set to be upgraded to 400kV include those north of Beauly, to Dounreay, east of Beauly to Keith, and south of Denny, through the Borders to England.


We believe that an overhead power line is completely inappropriate along the entire route from Ullapool to Beauly, and indeed, in any of the unspoilt areas of the Highlands of Scotland. It is essential that alternative schemes are considered, and an important part of our campaign is studying these alternatives, and then making constructive suggestions.

At a fundamental level, we believe that it is misguided to build massive power stations at a point far distant from where the electricity will be consumed. The social, environmental and health costs of the power stations (mainly wind farms to date), and transmission lines (entirely overhead to date), outweigh the advantage to be gained from exploitation of renewable energy resources. There are many alternative methods by which the UK and Scottish governments can meet their long term targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. These include building the renewable power plant closer to where the electricity is consumed (this will result in small scale generating and distribution plant throughout the Highlands), and placing legal requirements on energy efficiency of buildings.

If large scale power stations are built on the Western Isles, our conclusion is that the best alternative option is a long distance undersea cable, taking the electricity more directly to where it is needed, either in central Scotland, or England. This option - the West Coast Interconnector - is more expensive, but the advantages to all (including the developer) are so great, that we believe that the extra cost is justified.

The basic advantages of an undersea cable direct to England, when compared with an overhead line on pylons are:

   Elimination of planning delays

   Reduced environmental impact

   Reduced transmission losses

   Elimination of risk of damage, and disruption of supply, due to increasingly severe storms

   Reduced requirement to upgrade the mainland Scotland-England interconnector

   Elimination of potential health risks

Full details of the issues, including cost comparisons, are given in our discussion of the alternatives to pylons.

What happens next?

We are seeking clarification from SSE on the exact nature of their application to construct the subsea/underground cable, and whether any public consultation will take place.

Who to Contact

Click here to see who to write to, suggestion of what to write, and other ways of helping.

Highlands against pylons

Thursday, 15 July 2010

You can take my leg... but you'll never take my kindling!!!!

Highland Dreams festival

This is a new site i have set up with a friend called Nik Cook ,the guy that sings on cry from the deep..

Highland Dreams Festival 

If you would like to be added to the festival we are after musicians, artists, photographers, bloggers and more that care about this wee home we all love called Earth ..


It is our dream that in a few years we will have a live festival here in the Scottish highlands focusing on helping our PLANET

peace and light
Andy the Dafthermit

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

living free

To me the first thing to do is cut up the credit cards and refuse all hp ,then simply head of and live your dream , easy

Broadband Satellite System Beyondsl

100_8761 winterwonder land 067

OUR WEE home

As many of you know i live with Mel well away from the grid etc aboard our old bus ,two years ago i took the plunge and dived into the world of hi tec ,buying a laptop and camera well for the first year or so i was using Dial-up and was satisfied with this ,but as my journey with my photography and eventually my start at making small films from here in the Scottish highlands wee films showing our green simple life and showing off the treasure that is the Scottish Highlands .
I started to find the limit to dial up, i had heard of Satellite systems but to be honest i was worried about the cost and how complicated the whole thing would be to set up and run especially as we tend to move a fair bit.
Well after much hunting around the net i finally came across BEYONDSL and i can not recommend them highly enough from buying the system to getting it up an running they have helped all the way even when my modem packed up ,a new replacement was dispatched no cost and i was quickly up and running again..
So i urge you that if you are thinking of getting a satellite system then visit Beyondsl because if even i can install and run it ,it must be easy.

                                                                Some company info

Visit them by clicking HERE


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Flexible installation options; get a pro or DIY.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Scottish highland pictures for sale

My new gallery with some of my pictures for sale ,hope you will pop over and have a wee look


peace and light

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

one hundred way to conserve water

 click here to vist the site



100 Ways To Conserve

Tip #1
There are a number of ways to save water, and they all start with you.
  • #2
    When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • #3
    Some refrigerators, air conditioners and ice-makers are cooled with wasted flows of water. Consider upgrading with air-cooled appliances for significant water savings.
  • #4
    Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • #5
    Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • #6
    Choose shrubs and groundcovers instead of turf for hard-to-water areas such as steep slopes and isolated strips.
  • #7
    Install covers on pools and spas and check for leaks around your pumps.
  • #8
    Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost vegetable food waste instead and save gallons every time.
  • #9
    Plant in the fall when conditions are cooler and rainfall is more plentiful.
Tip #10
For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • #11
    Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  • #12
    Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • #13
    Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • #14
    Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • #15
    Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save water every time.
  • #16
    If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model.
  • #17
    Collect the water you use for rinsing fruits and vegetables, then reuse it to water houseplants.
  • #18
    If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • #19
    We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
  • #20
    If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
  • #21
    Check the root zone of your lawn or garden for moisture before watering using a spade or trowel. If it's still moist two inches under the soil surface, you still have enough water.
  • #22
    When buying new appliances, consider those that offer cycle and load size adjustments. They're more water and energy efficient.
  • #23
    Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you'll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • #24
    Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models.
  • #25
    Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • #26
    When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • #27
    Use sprinklers for large areas of grass. Water small patches by hand to avoid waste.
Tip #28
Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • #29
    When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on, then adjust the temperature as the tub fills up.
  • #30
    Walkways and patios provide space that doesn't ever need to be watered. These useful "rooms" can also add value to your property.
  • #31
    Collect water from your roof to water your garden.
  • #32
    Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • #33
    Rather than following a set watering schedule, check for soil moisture two to three inches below the surface before watering.
  • #34
    Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won't run when it's raining.
  • #35
    Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.
Tip #36
Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots where it's needed.
  • #37
    Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • #38
    Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • #39
    When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • #40
    Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • #41
    Remember to check your sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the sprinkler heads in good shape.
Tip #42
Use a water-efficient showerhead. They're inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.

See how Waterpik® EcoFlow® can help reduce your water use.

Waterpik® EcoFlow® Shower Head

ad-waterpikBefore you lather up, trade up your current shower head to a water-efficient shower head such as the Waterpik® EcoFlow® which helps reduce water consumption by up to 40%. Water-conserving shower heads are inexpensive, easy to install, and can save a family of four up to 17,000 gallons of water a year.
  • #43
    Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • #44
    Don't water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
  • #45
    Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • #46
    Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. This could save water and prevent damage to your home.
  • #47
    To decrease water from being wasted on sloping lawns, apply water for five minutes and then repeat two to three times.
  • #48
    Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  • #49
    Use a layer of organic material on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
  • #50
    Use a minimum amount of organic or slow release fertilizer to promote a healthy and drought tolerant landscape.
  • #51
    Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those spraying water into the air.
  • #52
    Use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • #53
    Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • #54
    Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
  • #55
    Use a rain gauge, or empty tuna can, to track rainfall on your lawn. Then reduce your watering accordingly.
  • #56
    Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  • #57
    Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case it malfunctions or you get an unexpected rain.
  • #58
    Set a kitchen timer when watering your lawn or garden to remind you when to stop. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons a minute.
  • #59
    If your toilet flapper doesn't close after flushing, replace it.
  • #60
    Make sure there are water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
Tip #61
Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low water use plant for year-round landscape color and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • #62
    Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don't have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  • #63
    Use a grease pencil to mark the water level of your pool at the skimmer. Check the mark 24 hours later to see if you have a leak.
  • #64
    If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • #65
    Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry it's time to water.
  • #66
    If installing a lawn, select a turf mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
  • #67
    When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do.
  • #68
    When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • #69
    Make sure your swimming pools, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
  • #70
    Bathe your young children together.
  • #71
    Consult with your local nursery for information on plant selection and placement for optimum outdoor water savings.
  • #72
    Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  • #73
    Insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the faucet and for energy savings.
  • #74
    Wash your car on the lawn, and you'll water your lawn at the same time.
Tip #75
Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it and save water every time.
  • #76
    Direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems toward water-loving plants in the landscape for automatic water savings.
  • #77
    Make suggestions to your employer about ways to save water and money at work.
  • #78
    Support projects that use reclaimed wastewater for irrigation and industrial uses.
  • #79
    Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You'll save up to 100 gallons every time.
  • #80
    Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
  • #81
    If your toilet was installed before 1992, reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank.
  • #82
    Setting cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills saves both water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
  • #83
    Washing dark clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy while it helps your clothes to keep their colors.
  • #84
    Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  • #85
    Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property owner or your water provider.
  • #86
    Let your lawn go dormant during the summer. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three weeks or less if it rains.
  • #87
    Plant with finished compost to add water-holding and nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil.
  • #88
    Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  • #89
    Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
  • #90
    Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • #91
    One more way to get eight glasses of water a day is to re-use the water left over from cooked or steamed foods to start a scrumptious and nutritious soup.
Tip #92
Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
  • #93
    Turn off the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • #94
    Wash your pets outdoors in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • #95
    When shopping for a new clothes washer, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some of these can save up to 20 gallons per load, and energy too.
  • #96
    Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • #97
    Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  • #98
    When washing dishes by hand, fill the sink basin or a large container and rinse when all of the dishes have been soaped and scrubbed.
  • #99
    Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. One inch of water on one square foot of grass equals two-thirds of a gallon of water.
  • #100
    Turn off the water while you shave and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • #101
    When you give your pet fresh water, don't throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • #102
    If you accidentally drop ice cubes when filling your glass from the freezer, don't throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • #103
    To save water and time, consider washing your face or brushing your teeth while in the shower.
  • #104
    While staying in a hotel or even at home, consider reusing your towels.
  • #105
    When backflushing your pool, consider using the water on your landscaping.
  • #106
    For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.
  • #107
    Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost to prevent using the garbage disposal.
  • #108
    When you have ice left in your cup from a take-out restaurant, don't throw it in the trash, dump it on a plant.
  • #109
    Have your plumber re-route your gray water to trees and gardens rather than letting it run into the sewer line. Check with your city codes, and if it isn't allowed in your area, start a movement to get that changed.
  • #110
    Keep a bucket in the shower to catch water as it warms up or runs. Use this water to flush toilets or water plants.
  • #111
    When you are washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather.

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A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film

A wee film about us on STVs the HOUR SHOW click on STV logo to see the film
Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

Loch Ness film festival

Loch Ness film festival
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