Cycling through Scotland: What has changed since my ancestors lived there?

As I continue to travel virtually with Street View and cycle on my stationary bike through the countryside of Scotland where my three-greats-grandparents once lived, I ask: What has changed?

~

DateDistance Traveled (minutes)From/To
Jan 2020Auchleven to Keig
Jan 2220Auchleven to Keig
Jan 2420Keig
Total Distance since Dec 30, 2021 250 minutes

~

My three-greats-grandfather, John Clark, was born in Keig in about 1793, according to his military record. Between 1851 and 1861, he emigrated from Scotland to Nova Scotia, Canada. But modern Keig looks very little like a 18th century village. Keig today is a series of relatively modern houses along a asphalt country highway.

~

~

There is one old church and associated cemetery, down a short side road. The church was built in 1834, before my relatives left Insch for Canada, so they may have known this church.

~

~

They may also have known the much older church ‘nearby’ which the 1934 church replaced. To see some photos of the remains of this old church, see https://canmore.org.uk/site/18056/keig-old-parish-church-and-burial-ground

~

There are maps of the old layout of Keig. The Ordinance Survey of Scotland (First Series) done in 1856 shows what has changed in 160 plus years. It is fun to follow the 1856 roads on the modern map and see how old farmsteads have survived (often rebuilt) until today. To see this old map, visit

https://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/maps/sheet/first_edition/1856-95sheet76

~

So what is the same? The landscape probably has not changed and John Clark would recognize the terrain of the flat valley and distant hills. The course of the River Don and the Keig Burn are basically the same. The road pattern of 1956 is still visible on the landscape, although some roadways have fallen into disuse and some new roads have been built. The crossing of the River Don is at the same location. Curiously, the 1856 map shows the old church closer to the river and does not show the 1834 church. A landmark known as Castle Forbes is on both 1856 map and the modern map. A ‘stone circle’ marked on modern maps is not noted on the older map.

~

~

Comparing old and new maps is one aspect of genealogy I enjoy. It gives hints about how much has changed and about what would still be familiar if my ancestors traveled forward through time.

~

Enjoy your own exercise routine!

Alexandra

Advertisement

virtual biking in Scotland

When I am stationary cycling, it is always a challenge to alleviate boredom. Of course, I can read or edit, but sometimes my eyes are tired, or the light is not quite right. By far the best activity during biking is to take a virtual tour of any countryside. In the past, I have cycled through France, Cornwall, Southern Ireland and northern New Brunswick. All virtually, using Google and Street View.

~

~

This time I decided to tour a part of Scotland. My third great-grandmother, Jane Cooper (1799 to 1887), came from Scotland. She married my third great-grandfather, John Clark (1793 to 1855?), from Insch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1822. I have never been to Scotland, so I thought I’d use this biking tour to bike the roads they may have once walked.

I decided to start my tour in Insch, Scotland and after a look-around there, work my way to Kaig, Aberdeenshire and north to Fyvie, Aberdeenshire (I have found a military record showing John Clarke was born in Kaig, southwest of Insch; I also found the 1851 Census for Scotland, listing Jane’s birthplace as Fyvie, Aberdeenshire).

~

~

Today I started in Insch, biking to the edges of the village. The countryside is rural, agricultural, not that different from the area where I live.

~

~

In Insch, the charming stone and wood construction I’ve seen elsewhere in England dominates. A great way to start my tour.

~

~

Off I go!

All my best to you in your wellness journey!

Alexandra

Still biking …

Last time I reported on my stationary biking, I was using Street View (Google Earth) to travel the roads of County Cork in Ireland. I travelled a long way with this method of motivation.

~

I have since found a new way to motivate myself and track my progress. I use the ‘earn a free coffee’ card from a popular restaurant and stickers I have rescued from unused address labels. I get quite a few cards since I drink a lot of fast-food tea.

~

Each time I use my stationary bike, I earn a sticker. I put the date and the time travelled on the back of the card. When I have earned eight stickers, I get a small reward, usually a new eBook.

~

Scan_20180419 (5).jpg

~

Sounds like kindergarten, but for me it works to keep my motivation.

~

To pass the time on my bike, I read, or edit one of my books-in-progress.

~

Scan_20180419 (6)
on the back of each card, I write the date and the time spent on my bike

 

 

~

If you are having trouble with motivation toward exercise, this little method might help.

~

All my best,

Alexandra

Virtual biking in Ireland, Phase Two, Day One

Still virtual-biking along the south coast of Ireland. On Day One of Phase Two, I biked from Rathmore to Creagh. 15 minutes, 2.0 km.

IMG_5461

This trip followed the Bay, but the landscape was dominated by those charming tunnel-roads seen so often in the British Isles.

IMG_5464.PNG

I also saw so many side-roads, some gated, some open to explore!

IMG_5465.PNG

Watching carefully for leprechauns as I travel!

Alexandra

Virtual biking … Phase one, day three

On Day 3 of my virtual bike trip in Southern Ireland, I went from the bridge at Rathmore south along Route 595, a distance of 1.4 km (10 minutes).

IMG_5429

Saw a very pretty road to left and some Irish cows.

 

Drove along Bay, stone fences and lots of yellow gorse …

IMG_5434.PNG

Feeling great and proud of myself for starting on this journey!

All photos are from Street View, Google Earth.

All my best,

Alexandra

 

Virtual biking … Phase One, Day Two

I took the road to the right … because I knew it would go nearer to the Roaringwater Bay and I love water!

IMG_5423

Today, I travelled 1.2 km and cycled for 10 minutes. This took me to the east end of Reengaroga Bridge and the village of Rathmore. The names are all very strange to me!

~

I saw inlets of the Bay …

IMG_5424

A lovely blue boat, pulled from the water …

IMG_5425

Roadside vegetation including gorse, pink roses, a red ericaceous shrub of unknown name and lots of ferns …

IMG_5426

I finished on the north side of the causeway at Rathmore. I know from photos on the web that the bridge is a stone arch.

And so I leave Ringarogy Island in Roaringwater Bay!

Day 2!

Bravo!

Cheers,

Alexandra

IMG810_crop2
Getting a good sleep

Virtual biking … Phase One, Day One

Biking from Donegal West towards Reengaroga Bridge …. (virtual biking using Street View).

Here I am in Donegal West … stone walls, field of green, a dragon in the sky!

IMG_5418.PNG

~

On this short ride (20 minutes, 0.8 km) I drove a two-track lane with a hedgerow on either side. I saw bushes with red berries, gorse in bloom and some enticing gates.

IMG_5420
Hedgerows …

~

IMG_5422
Yellow gorse to the left …

~

IMG_5419

~

So tomorrow, which way do I turn? Two paths diverged … according to the map, they both end in the same place!

IMG_5423.PNG

~

Scan_20170903

All photos are from Street View, Google Earth (DuoMaps App)

Great beginning! Yahoo!

Alexandra

check-in: almost September

My first check-in on my summer 2016 program has arrived. How have I done? I have not lost any weight, but I have some progress to report:

  • I cycled on my stationary bike every second day (Phase 5 of my virtual journey along the St. John River). Days 5-1 to 5-6 took me from Edmundston to just south of Rivière Verte.
  • I did less eating in the evening after 9:00. It helps that my husband is also trying not to eat after 9 PM.
  • I have planned and started my next six days of cycling – Rivière Verte to Saint Leonard.

I also made three pledges to my son during the summer. Making a promise to my son about my diet is more likely to succeed than a pledge to any other person I know! I have chosen small changes that I feel will benefit my well-being. Also, by keeping these small promises, I give my self-esteem and confidence a boost.

  • July: I pledged to not eat French fries. French fries are not good for me and other choices are always available. In two months I have not had French fries once!
  • August: I pledged to eat only small servings of ice cream. My son said this was not to allow me to eat ice cream every day!!! Actually, I eat ice cream about once a week and a small cone is a much better choice than a large cone! For one month, I have had only small servings of ice cream!
  • September: This could be a hard one. Yesterday I pledged not to drink diet or regular cola. Often it is the easy choice, but I love water and can flavour it with a bit of lime.

I’ll do another check-in at the end of September.

All the best!

Alexandra

 

drinking water

virtual cycling

One of the strategies I use to encourage a regular stationary biking habit is ‘virtual cycling’. I began this in 2012 and, with the use of Google Earth and Street View, I have cycled virtually through:

  • central France (Lusignan, France to La Patache, France): six phases, January 30 to June 28, 2013; 196.8 km and 1975 minutes.
  • southern England (Rame, UK to Landwednack, UK; and from Predannack Wollas to Prussia Cove, UK): two phases, July 1, 2013 to December 21, 2013; and August 8, 2014 to November 24, 2014; 209 km and  2295 minutes.
  • northern New Brunswick (Campbellton to Bathurst): December 31, 2013 to March 25, 2014; 150 km and 810 minutes.
  • the upper part of the St. John River (La Frontière to Edmunston): four phases, January 27,  to February 16, 2015; 246 km and 1860 minutes. 

In the last year I gave myself a break from this virtual travel, using my time on the bike to read or make entries in my journal. Now I am ready to take on my next program of virtual travel.For this adventure, I will continue to follow the St. John River.  It is a beautiful river dominating the landscape of much of New Brunswick. The River is about 673 kilometers long (418 miles) from its beginnings in northern Maine and eastern Quebec to its mouth at the Bay of Fundy in the City of Saint John.

~

St_John_River_Map

~

Now I will begin Phase 5, from Edmunston to Fredericton, by way of the older highways, a distance of about 300 km. I know this part of New Brunswick very well, since I have driven the road many times.

~

All the best,

Alexandra

taking away stumbling blocks

I have done regular exercise on my stationary bike since February of 2013. Regular means 30 minutes every second day. Sometimes I falter at this goal (we all do) and I have to find ways to put myself back on track.

~

About six months ago I realised I was biking less and less frequently. When I looked at the reasons for this, it came down to one thing. I didn’t like going down to the basement to do my biking. First, even though I made a nice space for my stationary bike, the basement is so isolated from the rest of the house going down there was very unappealing. Second, when I do go to the basement, I felt I should take the opportunity to start a laundry, empty the drier, sweep the floor, clean the cat’s litter box, etc. I was tangling exercise up with work I have to do. The sum total – I was finding all sorts of excuses not to go to the basement and put a half hour on my bike!

~

IMG810_crop3
Alexandra dismayed

~

My exercise bike is super heavy, so moving it up stairs ourselves was not an option. So I took what seemed a ridiculous step. I phoned a moving company to come and move my bike from the basement to the top floor. Two strong men arrived at the door and carried my bike to the top floor without a pause for a rest!

~

Now my bike is in a convenient place where I can use it without excuses. I am most motivated to exercise when I get up in the morning and there it is, right in the path on the way to the rest of my day. Since moving my bike upstairs, I am using it more often and getting lots of reading done (it is brighter upstairs too!).

~

IMG782_crop2
Alexandra proud of herself

~

If you encounter a stumbling block to your best daily routine, I hope my story will help you to put yourself back on track.

  • analyse the problem and determine a solution
  • put the solution into action, even if it involves some input of energy or money

At the time, my solution seemed radical, even silly. But in the long run, my health is my most important consideration!

~

All the best,

Alexandra