Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers, this week, seem to me to be :

Q1. Sandwood Bay

Q2. Am Buachaille

The initial clues seem to place us in North West Sutherland, in the hamlet of Kinlochbervie (aka KLB). The puzzle author has been very crafty with this week's clues, as I found references to several fighters who won the Victoria Cross during the battle of Cambrai, in the war which started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an Ostrich, 'cause he was hungry (aka WWI) .

The Battle of Cambrai appears to have been fought c 20th November 1917 to 7th December 1918 and is thought to be the first engagement where tanks were successfully used. They may have had a more flexible view on what constituted success in those days, as they lost about one hundred and eighty tanks to very accurate German artillery fire and mechanical failures. Some of the VC winners in this fraicas were: Gobind Singh (born c 1887) who had three horses shot out from under him, by German machine gunners, while relaying messages back and forth between his unit, which was surrounded by the enemy, and the British HQ. A soldier called Temporary Lieutenant Colonel Neville Bowes Elliot-Cooper ( born 1889, died 1918), was awarded the VC for his unarmed charge at the enemy who breeched the British lines, his action caused his team to follow him and check the advance but he was subsequently wounded and taken prisoner. A VC winner, who fought in the Battle of Cambrai and was born c 1898, in Kinlochbervie, was Robert McBeath. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for attacking a machine gun nest, with only a Lewis gun and a revolver, resulting in the capitulation of three officers and thirty enlisted men (though he may have had a bit of help from one of the tanks).

Travelling six crow miles north of KLB, would take us to Sandwood bay and one mile of golden sand , 'neath which many wrecked ships lie buried. The John Muir Trust has an eleven thousand, six hundred and twenty one acre estate in the vicinity. The Sandwood estate has a special area of conservation, given this status because of the dunes and fertile Machair.

John Muir, according to some of his biographies, was born c 1838 and seems to have spent a lot of time in America, where he was instrumental in persuading presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, to create national parks in places like Yosemite. I found several sources which claim that the John Muir trust was founded c 1983.

A sea stack to the west of the beach at Sandwood bay, which in English is called 'The Herdsman' or 'The Shepherd', is probably 'Am Buachaille'. The mermaid legend of Sandwood bay seems to originate with a Mr Alexander Gunn, who claimed (after glugging some of the local firewater no doubt), to have been alerted to the presence of a strange creature with reddish-yellow hair, green eyes and yellow body and about seven feet long, sunbathing on the rocks, by the howling of his sheepdog, while out for a walk one day. Sandwood bay was the site of many shipwrecks but in an effort to prevent these from occurring, the Cape Wrath lighthouse was constructed c 1828, by Robert Stevenson. It does seem to lie to the north east of the bay and the references I checked, claim that it is about twenty metres or sixty six feet in height.

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink, posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.

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