Positively Scottish Humans of the US: how Glenbogle stirred Scottish longings in a Glen far away

My Heart’s in the Highlands

My Heart is not Here

My Heart’s in the Highlands

A-Chasing the Deer.

Glen Moyer sat on an old bench in the hilltop graveyard of Cille Choirill, near the Lochaber village of Roy Bridge, gazed out over the spectacular Highland scenery, and thought, “I’m home, this is where I belong.” The cemetery is Monarch of the Glen country but there was a distinct lack of drama, as though the curtain had been drawn over the comings and goings at Glenbogle. Kilwillie wasn’t feuding with Hector MacDonald; Golly the gillie was nowhere to be seen. All Glen could hear was the sound of silence. Glen, a journalist and broadcaster who lives near Shreveport, Louisiana, became obsessed with the show and developed a passion with Scotland to the extent that he plans to immigrate. This was his first visit, and the country stole his heart and moved him to tears. All that’s left is to convince the authorities…

My eighth great-grandfather, Robert Bartlett, was born just outside Glasgow in 1627 and married into a family by the name of Breckenridge. My direct ancestry is through them.

I had been under the illusion that my clan affiliation was to the Campbells of Breadalbane, but now we have found that the Breckenridge family is a recognised sept of the Douglas Clan. Alexander Breckenridge moved across to Ireland as part of the Ulster plantation. His grandson, also Alexander, came to the States in about 1738.

Honestly my Scottish ancestry never meant anything to me. It wasn’t until 2013 that I found Monarch of the Glen on Netflix and got hooked. It was the scenery, it was the music, the soundtrack of the show is just astonishingly good. And the characters in it, I watched the entire seven seasons in a month’s time.

It all just sucked me in and I decided I wanted to go and see that, I wanted to go to Scotland and see where it was all filmed, to see Ardverickie house, my God that’s a brilliant house. My first trip over there was specifically to see Ardverickie.

I knew all about the filming locations and I went to Cille Choirill graveyard. There wasn’t another soul around and if you walk up the hill past the church, there’s a neat little wooden bench at the top and I just sat on that bench.

IMG_7413I was taking some pictures and soaking it all in and I was going ‘my god I’m in Scotland. In Scotland, I can’t believe this’, and it was really the most peaceful, meditative moment.

The other moment was when I went to the outbuilding that was used for the Gillie’s Rest pub and again I was all alone, there was no-one around for miles, and you could hear the wind blowing through the trees and a little bit of rain falling, and I was literally in tears and thinking ‘By God, I’m actually in Scotland, I’m here at Glenbogle.’

It was really very reflective. I gotta tell you, it felt like home. I don’t know if it’s an ancestral pull, I’m not into all that psychic stuff. I did not want to leave Scotland, I felt that was where I belonged.

My entire focus in life has changed in these past three years. I have been involved in the sport of hot air ballooning since I was 30 years old, it has been my vocation as a writer and journalist. That has been my passion. If I’m honest, ballooning is no longer my number one passion, Scotland has replaced it.

I’m a very proud Texan by birth, but on my deck I fly the Saltire and the Lion Rampant, I don’t fly the Texas flag or the US flag. Above my door is a plaque with a Saltire and the word Glenbogle.

Moving there is my goal, I have made it public, and I have just told the world, ‘hell, I am going’. I was very naive about the legality, I thought as long as you’re a decent fella and you don’t have a criminal history, you can move pretty much anywhere you want to.

That’s not the case, I quickly learned. I’m trying to build something of a personal brand. I’ve become the first international member of the Scotland Hour Twitter chat that promotes tourism once a month. That helps get my name out there.

I am not insane, I do have a very deep passion for Scotland, I love the people, I love the culture, I believe it’s where I belong, I really believe it’s my destiny.

What will happen if I’m told no, just flat out no, you cannot move here, you can’t live here? Then I will have to be content with visiting as often and for as long as I can. And I will.

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