comments iconDay 37: Tea with the Trumps


Today walk: 10.80 miles

Total walk:   533.10 miles

Today raised:  £ 300.00  +  ¥ 2599.55

Total raised: £ 12,063.09  + ¥  91,472.00

Now I can immediately see why you would be sceptical that this is just another headline like ‘Night with Game of Thrones Star’ or ‘Downton Abbey’ which is a shameless attempt to draw the innocent visitor into reading this blog.

And you would be right, well sort of:

Today was a cold, windy and rainy day. Very difficult conditions for walking especially along the narrow A77 with hundreds of trucks rushing down to the ports in Loch Ryan to cross to Northern Ireland. When you are within a few inches of a large truck travelling at 50 mph the draft that this throws up is enough of itself to knock you off your feet and even more so when there is spray from the surface water on the road.

There had been a thought that I might try and go beyond 10 miles to the location of our next hotel at Maidens but after ten miles I was soaked, cold and my nerves were jangling–that was enough for one day.

On my way I passed the famous Turnberry Golf Course which has been used to host The Open (the oldest of the four major championships in professional golf) four times–the last being in 2009. It was the stage for one of the most memorable golf matches of all time between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson for the Open title in 1977.

The course has a more interesting past. Turnberry Castle the ruins of which are still visible on the course was the birthplace of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland (1306-1329). Robert the Bruce doesn’t get a great write-up in the movie ‘Braveheart’ (1995) with Mel Gibson who played William Wallace, a Scottish knight who became one of the main leaders of the Scottish Independence Wars. But one thing is for sure, even before they put a golf course here in 1906, for the Scots this was already sacred ground.

In the First and Second World Wars the golf course was used as a training base for the Royal Air force (The Royal Flying Corps in WWI) and the hotel was used as a hospital for the war wounded, but it is for golf that Turnberry has become world renowned.

In 2014 the iconic hotel and golf course were purchased by Donald Trump and became known as ‘Trump Turnberry’. The attraction of Turnberry for the golf loving Donald Trump gave way to probably an even greater love, that of his mother, Mary MacLeod who was born in Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland I 1912. Mary was a devoted Scot speaking Scottish Gaelic and being a member of the Church of Scotland.

In 1930 Mary MacLeod left Glasgow for New York to begin a new life and there she met a wealthy property developer called Fred Trump, they married and the rest as they say ‘is history’ as in 1946 Mary gave birth the future 45th President of the United States of America and owner of Turnberry Golf Course & Hotel and perhaps more importantly for his mother, Turnberry Castle birthplace of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.

Now I realise that saying positive things about Donald Trump is not popular at the moment but let me just pitch this idea for starters:

I am a democrat so bear with me here but the system the Americans have chosen for selecting the president runs a bit like this;

You stand in primaries (a series of elections) to select the Republican or Democratic party nominee in the presidential election. It is a gruelling year long round of campaigning with endless debates meetings and interviews where every aspect of your past is brought out into public view, usually by your fellow candidates, in order to question your suitability for the role. In 2016 Donald Trump defeated sixteen other highly qualified candidates and won an all time record number of primary votes received by any candidate (nearly 14 million).

Then you enter the main race for president where the Democratic and Republic nominees go head to head for the final 4-5 months of campaigning. It is not golf, its more like a bare knuckle political cage fight and Trump was up against one of the most successful political campaigning dynasties, The Clintons. In political terms it was David v Goliath with politically inexperienced Trump running against one of the most assured and confident politicians of her generation. Almost everyone, including myself, expected Hilary Clinton to win comfortably.

The election on 8 November 2016 over 136 million Americans voted in a system which elects a number of people to a 538 member Electoral College to support one of the candidates. As a result of the election Donald Trump secured 304 votes and Hilary Clinton secured 227. Donald Trump was therefore elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. It was by any standards a clear and decisive result in favour of Donald Trump.

The United States is the largest economy in the world ($18.5 trillion) though China is catching fast ($11.5 trillion)–no one else is even close, the next largest economy is Japan at $4.9 trillion. It is the most influential country in the world judged by business, education, culture and technology.

My point is that though we could not afford to stay at the Tump Turnberry and only managed a cup of tea the President of the United States is someone who instinctively commands my respect, just as his predecessors have done and his successors will do.