Saturday, September 24, 2011


One of the things I have really enjoyed on this trip is the language. I realize it is English that is being spoken, but there is still a language barrier of sorts. First of all there is the matter of the different accents. I would like to say I absolutely love listening to the Scottish brogue, even when I don't understand a word the person is saying. A friend who lived here for a couple of years told me if I didn't understand someone the first time to just smile and nod, then ask someone else. It wasn't going to be any better the second or third time if I asked the original person. It was great advice.

Then there are the words and phrases that we aren't familiar with. As a Canadian I definitely share more terms with the Brits than Kath does. But still there are a few that I have not understood, or worse, have misused.

Tonight's example proved to be particularly embarrassing. We are staying at a small hotel in a village called Kirkmichael. The nice lady who checked us in said if we had clothes that needed drying she could take them down to the boiler room. So when we were finishing our dinner and she came over to our table I asked her if I brought some pants down could she please put them in the boiler room. When I brought them down and handed them to her she seemed surprised. It turns out that in Scotland pants means underwear. What we call pants are referred to as trousers. Great. I had apparently informed everyone in the dining room I needed my underwear hung up to dry.

Which brings me to the title of today's post: Knackered. It is my current favourite British expression. It means tired. Not just tired actually. More like exhausted, spent, or totally done in. And it perfectly describes how we both are feeling after our 17 mile walk. Today's section was supposed to be just 15 miles, but those extra 2 were compliments of us missing a trail marker. This wouldn't have been so bad if the extra two miles hadn't been the steepest climb we had all day.

We might be tired, but it is a good kind of tired. The scenery was like one continuous photo opportunity. It was amazing how many different kinds of terrain we encountered - pastureland, wheat fields, forests, heather, and bogs. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story. I'm too knackered to write any more.


  1. Heartbreakingly beautiful, thank you for sharing these, Kristie.

    We hitched a ride with a Scotsman from Edinbourgh to Jedbourgh. Didn't understand a single word he said.

  2. Those pics are something else! So glad you're sharing your adventures with us. Funny you mentioned the word's the perfect word to describe me today, too.

  3. Definitely worth the walk. I usually can't sleep in hotels, but I imagine you two are having no trouble tonight.

    Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  4. I'm really "chuffed" about hearing your adventures. (my favorite English expression) The question is though - how much knitting are you getting done? :)

  5. As an English woman who is frequently knackered (I live a hectic life) I'm chuffed you're having a good time ;) And what lovely weather, for Scotland ;)
    If it's any consolation the English and Welsh often don't understand the Scots accents. And most of us in the UK are so steeped in North American English via television that the people in that dining room probably knew you meant your trousers. Particularly as pants is more likely to mean a chaps underpants than a ladies, um, knickers* ;)
    Happy walking x
    *You'll sound really quite English if you use knickers as an expression of displeasure, e.g. when you step in a Scottish bog or are attacked by millions of midges ;D

  6. Lovely photos :) Didn't even realise Knackered is English, silly me! I guess you don't realise these things if you don't go travelling. Sounds like you're having a lovely time :)

  7. Hi Kristie--thanks for directing me to this post! It looks like an amazing trip and what beautiful pictures. I feel peace just looking at them which I needed. Oh--if it makes you feel any better, so often I have to put English subtitles on movies that have a Scottish or British accent (among others)...of course it makes me feel good when it calls it 'English subtitles for the hearing impaired'!