Despite the title, this is not a wind-up. It’s a true story about a walk in Scotland in August this year.
We were visiting my wife’s extended family in a gathering to celebrate her sister’s birthday. Her Dad is doing pretty well for a man in his early eighties and he decided to join us in a relatively easy walk to the Green Loch, close to the Cairngorm mountains. Unfortunately, whilst we four adults had visited the Loch before, it was probably twenty years since any of us had done this journey. We did take advice from the tourist information who instructed us to follow the path marked with blue posts. After the challenge of finding somewhere to park we set off following the blue trail. That is, until we came to a fork in the track where the markers plunged off down a small path to the right leaving the main track to go on ahead. My wife and her Dad were pretty convinced the main track ahead was the way to go. My sense of direction gene is seriously corrupted and so my opinion was not solicited. However, I am capable of retracing a single track, and so volunteered to go back to the car. There at least we had a large scale map which would be better than nothing.
About halfway back I met a group coming in the opposite direction. I wondered about asking them for help when the leading man, equipped with a map in hand, greeted me with a cheery salutation--as you do in the mountains. I seized the opportunity and asked if I could look at his map and explained our dilemma. This was no problem, and we looked together at the map. He looked vaguely familiar, but I was sure we hadn’t met before. In his wake were traveling a shorter woman and a group of kids, one of whom was of Asian origin. Taking up the rear was a bearded guy who had a child on each arm and was happily swinging them.
The woman was very friendly and chatty and I confessed we were only visiting from Sweden and didn’t come here often because I wanted to put her at her ease as I was starting to have suspicions about who I was walking with. Her origin was difficult to place but the two guys were Scots. I looked at the bearded guy intermittently, wondering. Fairly quickly we caught up with my family who were still pondering the conflicting information.
“Is that your party ahead?” asked my new guide.
“Yes, that’s them.“
The two groups converged and the map reader engaged in cheerful discussion with the rest of the adults of our party. Due to my aforementioned short-comings, I held back. The bearded guy--who I was now studying intently--was occupying his children. By now I was fairly convinced who we had met up with, but then I was faced with another dilemma. Do you say anything or not? In the end I thought it best to leave him in peace. None of the rest of my family seemed to have clicked at all. And you never know how people will react in such circumstances, especially your children. In the end the deliberations of the party leaders resolved that the Green Loch lay on the wide road ahead but the other party were following the blue trail. So we separated and walked ahead.
When they were out of earshot, I turned and smiled at our group “It’s not every day that you meet someone famous, is it?”
“Who?” they all chorused. For the benefit of my children I replied, “Obi-wan Kenobi” to the adults “Ewan McGregor.”
My sister-in-law’s countenance immediately lit up, she was fairly convinced too. Later, a quick Google confirmed my hypothesis as we looked at photos of Ewan, his wife and his brother, Colin—an airforce pilot possibly based close by to the Cairngorms and the leader of their group. The Asian looking girl was Ewan’s adopted daughter from Mongolia. And since the family decamped to California several years ago, the statistical chance of this meeting was quite low. The only remaining mystery was did Ewan realize I recognized him or not?Will our paths cross again? I doubt it- my name is not Luke and it is not my destiny!