Sunday, 7 February 2016
For many years I have kept this blog about my travels and caravanning-related rambling. More recently I started this blog about the ups and downs of learning Scottish Gaelic called 'Confessions of a Scottish Gaelic Learner.'
I never thought in my wildest dreams that the two subjects would cross over and I'd end up writing the same entry for both blogs.
Yet... here it is!
My love of Scotland is no secret to anyone. After many Airstream trips to the Outer Hebrides, each one affirming my love for and connection with the place just a little bit more than before, I decided in 2013 to start learning a little bit of Gaelic in order to try to come to terms with and understand my connection a little better.
Alongside my Gaelic course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, I maintained a good relationship with the Caravan Club of which I have been a member all my adult life, and for whom I have worked on an occasional freelance and sometimes voluntary basis for over 10 years.
As my friends will testify (the very few I have left, that is), when I am passionate about something I don't shut up about it. Therefore it was only a matter of time before I was gabbling away excitedly to all my pals in the caravan industry about the wonders of Gaelic, and the profound richness it has brought to my life.
And so it was that I was invited by the Caravan Club to speak at the Scottish Caravan, Motor Caravan, and Holiday Home show this weekend. To keep a Gaelic theme, the fabulous singer and all-round Lovely Lady Joy Dunlop was invited along as the headline act to sing in Gaelic and add glamour and - er - joy to the procedings.
Nobody knew how this would go down as the worlds of Gaelic and Caravanning have never been brought together like this before. This was a chance to tell the Gaels and the rest of Scotland that the caravanning sector is worth £700 million to the economy of Scotland, and members staying on Caravan Club Sites alone spend £35 million per year outwith the site, i.e. on meals and days out, and that 70% of those visitors come from outwith Scotland. This was also a chance to bring Gaelic to the one million plus people (over 360,000 member families) in the Caravan Club.
Even before the event, the media circus started and I was interviewed about my Airstreaming and Gaelic for the Scottish Sunday Mail (Daily Record) which you can read by clicking here.
The day before the show opened was an exciting day as I appeared on the Kaye Adams Programme on BBC Radio Scotland. That was a fantastic interview, and you can listen to it by clicking here and scrolling to approx 2:52.
Finally, the opening of the show by Joy and myself went down very well indeed. Joy thrilled the crowds with her delightful singing and warm and bubbly personality, while I gabbled away excitedly about everything that is great about touring Scotland in a caravan or motor caravan.
You can see a great video of the event made by the Caravan Times team by clicking here.
Not everyone in Scotland nor every Gaelic speaker is going to be fond of caravans. Neither is every caravanner going to be fond of Gaelic. However, bringing the two worlds together can only help in the promotion of mutual awareness, respect, and understanding, and that can only be a good thing.