During an extended family tour of Scotland in the summer of 2001, some emphasis was given to the old country as the cradle of two family bloodlines, the reason for going to Scotland in the first place. The travel group included Bob and Lois Settles (grandma and grandpa), their first born Steve, and his three kids, Marie, Robert, and Tanner, all known by the same root name, Settles. On the other side of the family was their maternal great grandfather, William Wallace Steeples, whose namesake is sprinkled like rain across Scotland’s countryside. As the English would say, the trip was lovely, and was completed without incident.
In part because of the children, a number of activities were included to appeal to the youthful mindset. An hour-long boat trip on Loch Ness revealed no monsters. We visited a Scottish farm to watch the wooly highland cattle. We examined numerous ancient ruins, toured through many castles, both vacated and inhabited, climbed to the top of the William Wallace monument, walked the spiral circles in the magnificent Leith Hall Gardens, hiked to the top of an ancient ceremonial hill near Insch, and finally examined the streets, alleyways, churches, and castles in Edinburgh.
Examining the ancient roots more carefully took us to Musselboro where we saw the old Steeples family business building, and residence which is still in the family today. We were served a delicious dinner by cousins living directly across the street from Scotland’s very first golf course, a thrill equal to that of walking the Old Course in St. Andrews, where the Royal and Ancients held forth.
With such a fine vacation experience, the decision was made to top-off a perfect trip by spending a night in Settles, England on the way back to Manchester for the flight home. Settles is a beautiful little rural town tucked away in a remote part of north England. To have an entire town named after you, or your ancestors is something of an honor, so spending a night in Settles could warm the cockles of your heart. Indeed Settles had an old hotel, a quaint collection of old houses, and even an old golf course.
Marie, the oldest of the grandkids, had tolerated the trip and an examination of her roots in the old country quite well. Spending the night in Settles, in Marie’s book, simply took it one step too far. At that point she expressed her preference for travel quite clearly, as most fourteen-year-old girls often do.
“Why must we spend any time in this dumpy little town?” Marie asked.
“Why couldn’t our name be London or Paris?” she added, expressing a sentiment she may have been harboring throughout a wonderful tour of Scotland. Either Julie London, or Paris Hilton would have done the trick nicely. She had tolerated William Wallace across the face of Scotland. However, when it came to Settles, England, she quickly reached a painful limit for examining any more of her roots in the old country.