This blog entry has been on my mind for several days, perhaps longer, since "Bagging Scotland" was brought to my attention via Armin Grewe's Islay Blog. A link to his blog entry is here.
So, what exactly is "Bagging Scotland"? Well, rather than try to explain it, I'll quote from the Bagging Scotland website:
"Give your vacations, short breaks or holidays a sense of purpose! Aim high and make it your life’s work to bag Scotland’s 3,000(ish) Castles or why not try to bag ALL of Scotland’s 95 inhabited Islands in a year? By Bagging the 85 Malt Whisky Distilleries in Scotland, you’ll just happen to pass through some of Scotlands best scenery which is full of Castle culture, history and heritage as well. It’s simple, with Bagging Scotland.
At the risk of sounding narrow minded, I honestly don't understand why anyone would desire to "bag" Scotland. "Passing through" scenery on your way to put another notch in your bag-belt is hardly the way to appreciate the country or its people. I freely admit I've not spent a lot of time in Scotland but what time I have spent has been more enjoyable than my wildest dreams would have expected. I attribute the enjoyment to the simple fact that I was not out to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time.
As a matter of fact, in 2009 mo bhean and I spent more than a week on Islay itself and still did not see all that we wanted. I recently spent more than a week traveling between Ghlaschu, Dhun Eideann, and Dumfries and only scratched the surface. How, I ask, can anyone expect to really appreciate Scotland by tramping all over the place in a mad rush to see all the castles, islands, distilleries, or whatever, in 'x' amount of time?
My opinion is that Scotland is like a beautiful woman (or handsome man, if my reader is a woman): she should be savored and appreciated through time spent in her embrace, lingering for a time at each spot and drinking it all in prior to moving on. Then, when you must leave, return again and again, as many times as possible, but don't rush the moment, and certainly don't be in a hurry to rush to the next "baggable" location.
In any case, that's my opinion. I'd appreciate any readers comments whether, or not, you agree with me.