Adventure, Africa, America, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Records

Talk Sport Radio has been a Godsend these past few months.

And my ears pricked up that little bit more with the latest cricket Test match.

Between England and South Africa coming from my old stomping ground of Port Elizabeth.

And they love their rugby in SA too

Now I’m not putting myself on the same level as Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee.

The pace aces bowled over 100mph there in the World Cup.

It’s just that the less-vaunted PE in South Africa is a city I fell in love with last year…

It got me thinking too about other destinations that have become tied in with world records.

You want a 401… call on Murty

Brian Lara, 400 not out, St John’s, Caribbean, 2004:

Any excuse to showcase the Caribbean I hear you say but there is a tale here about Lara and me.

My old university pal Jevan had taken me to Foreday Morning on my first visit to Barbados.

And introduced me to his old Trinidadian pal Brian.

I’m a Bajan: I don’t give a damn

He told me he was over for the cricket and I naively asked if he played.

I didn’t expect the greatest modern-day batsman would ever wear anything other than cricket whites or one-day burgundy!

Olympic champions

Stefan Kraft, Vikerssundbakken, Norway:

Now there are some sports we all do and those that are just death wishes.

Where’s the peloton?

Me, the Tour de France, 2019: Yes, here I am atop the 6,939ft Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France’s most used climb.

And I’m not even out of breath. No wonder I needed some magic muscle-soothing water.

Climbing mountains is in the genes for Scots… I give you King of the Mountains Robert Millar.

Where’s the next record?

Me, white water rafting, Colorado:

The record for staying in the water tub long enough on the Poudre River…

Of course British Columbian Hazel Amos puts me to shame as the oldest rafter in the world at 96.

And yes, it’s another from the Wild West, but hey, I was born to be a cowboy.

Waltzing to the next title

Samuel Groth, world’s fastest serve, Busan Open, 163.7mph:

No, nor me, but this is it…

Of course my on serve after being coached by Judy Murray at The Campus, Quinto da Lago wasn’t chronicled.

That’ll be then.

Michael Austin, world’s longest drive: At 515 yards that’s some power.

Mike gripped it and ripped it at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas in 1974.

Blasting it 65 yards past the flag on the par-four 5th hole.

Vegas, baby: And Murty hits it into the next state

Me, I drunk it and sunk it… that’s my pitcher of beer at Topgolf in Las Vegas

On my Vegas trip a couple of years ago… Strip… the light fantastic.

While I also showed them how to do it in Quinto…

And hopefully I’ll be back to break my own record at the American Travel Fair


Adventure, Countries, Culture

This Sporting Weekend – Touchdown Vegas

Celtic relocate to Dublin, Liverpool to London… what madness?

But not in the Oo Es of Eh where sports franchises up and move across the continent at the drop of a helmet.

The Brooklyn Dodgers’ flit from New York and to LA in the Fifties will always remain the most controversial.

But who can blame them? Not me when I visited. and

But sports teams have been relocating since as far back as 1902 when the Milwaukee Brewers moved to St Louis.

To become the St Lous Browns.

While American Sports’ most famous team, the New York Yankees, started life as the Baltimore Orioles, the original iteration in 1903.

High-rollers have been coming and going out of Washington DC much like politicians.

Before the Nationals took on Montreal Expos’ place in 2005… and went on last year to win the World Series.


Although the fans didn’t feel in the mood to hail the chief Donald Trump, preferring to give him a slow handclap.

The Redskins aren’t figuring at the business end of the NFL season with the play-off games coming up.

Of course Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win the whole thing again this year.

But next year?

There is much excitement about Vegas getting football for next season.

Because they hit the ground, or ice, running.

The puck stops here

When the Las Vegas Golden Knights reached the Stanley Cup final in their inaugural season.


Only to lose to the Washington Capitals.

And because you know that when I travel I go to where the locals play and pray then I’ve treated you to a few pics of me…

At Anaheim Angels’ ground where they like to get their Mickey out.Visit

With Elvis in Vegas,

Some thoroughbreds at Denver Broncos’s ground… and


Hitting it out of the park at the Washington Nationals’ stadium.

Icing with Wild Wing at the Anaheim Ducks’ Honda Arena,


And getting ready to dunk it with the Memphis Grizzlies…, and





My Sporting Weekend – racism and bigotry

World Cup winner Paul Pogba’s personal gesture against racism in wearing a black and white wristband commends him.

Which is something you don’t often hear many people say about Manchester United’s mercurial Frenchman…

The wearing of rubber bands denoting charitable or political campaigns seemed to kick in in the Noughties.

And I’m a fan although it’s more to do with destinations I’ve visited.

Band of gold

To remind me on a wet and dank day in Ireland of sunnier climes.

So I have California and and hand.

Denver and and

And Portugal and

While there’s Dresden and as well.

My link with the Maldives and and was broken.

When the band snapped over the Christmas season.

Although my memories never will.

Glasgow belongs to who?

Symbols have always been at the very heart of sport:

The colours and designs of strips or uniforms, club badges or crests and buttons.

Although sometimes they can land you in trouble.

And the players in the Celtic and Rangers Catholic and Protestant divide know it.

Whether they grew up in the West of Scotland or bought into it.

Mo Johnston controversially crossed the divide and himself (well at least when he was at Celtic, the Catholic gesture particularly provocative to Rangers fans).

While Paul Gascoigne gullibly responded to the egging-on from Rangers fans by mocking a flute player.

Another incendiary action in Glasgow’s religious tribalism, conjuring up the Protestant King William of Orange’s victory over the Catholic King James II.

That flute is OK

Sometimes even the football forces its way into the argument.

The debate du jour in English football is whether players and teams should walk off if they are racially abused from the crowd.

I never had to encounter being either physically or verbally abused over the colour of my skin.

But I was spat at on a bus by religious bigots in Glasgow as a child because of the colour of my uniform.

Which is why I was so drawn to Rosa Parks’ sit-down protest on the bus in the Deep South.

And was so humbled by the sacrifices made by black (and white) Civil Rights protesters.

On my trip through Memphis, Tennessee and www.deep-south-tourism-com Mississippi. And

Not our problem

No such discussion is had regarding religious bigotry in Glasgow despite they’re being on average one murder surrounding the Old Firm game every time the two meet.

Which they do tomorrow.

Worthy words will be expressed in Glasgow, my home city and

And when (and it’s almost always when, not if) it kicks off there will be no end of head-shaking.

It’s only a kids’ game

But no talk of partial ground closures, playing behind closed doors, walk-offs, fines or points deductions.

It’s not for nothing Celtic and Rangers are called The Old Firm. The religious divide fuels their economy.

So the answer is in Glasgow vernacular: Nae Chance.


My Sporting Weekend – Washington Nationals

No, I’m not trying to avoid mentioning the Rugby World Cup Final… or the British Commonwealth Cup as I prefer to call it.

There aren’t many sports, to be fair, that are truly universal and can really claim to have a ‘world’ cup.

Baseball falls into that sphere with the World Series being an all-American affair (with Toronto Blue Jays).

These past couple of weeks all American, ex-pats and Americanophile eyes were on the World Series.

Jayson Werth shows the way

Between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.

But for the rest it was only when The Donald popped up at the stadium of his local team and was booed that they took any interest.

Shame because baseball is at the heart of American culture.

And is the nearest to a blue-collar game comparable to my favourite sport football that there is.

Home run: The Nationals’ next big star

I first got interested in baseball when I spent a summer after university working in Boston.

And spending my spare time watching Roger Clemens’ Red Sox.

I also took in the World Series-winning new franchise Toronto Blue Jays where my brother was living.

Beautiful baseball fans

And I really got into them and their rituals such as ringing a bell when star player George Bell came out to bat.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago and I fulfilled a sporting ambition when I took my stance in a batting cage.

In the Washington Nationals’ ball park.

And knocked it out of the park.

I’ll support Colorado Rockies too

We were being hosted by the American travel fair and were treated to a fireworks display to bring down the curtain on the convention.

Mr Murty goes to Washington

Washington is a political town (obvs) and Washingtonians are a discerning crowd.

It remains my fave American city Easy DC although I have far too many still to visit.

I also visited Denver’s team, the Colorado Rockies when in town last year… Go West.

That caps it: The Angels

And took in an Angels game in Anaheim earlier this year.

When despite the best efforts of star player Michael Trout it was clear that they wouldn’t be troubling the World Series.

A new baseball ritual

Now that we’ve established that baseball is more than a game and that we love their rituals what about adding this to the seventh-inning stretch…

That every attending US President should be booed (yet to decide on which inning)!

Get me out on the field: The Angels

Aer Lingus have what they are billing Wickedly Good Deals to North America, with pre-clearance, including the American capital.

From €159 each way as part of a return trip. Travel dates through to 31 March.

Book by November 4…



Holidos and don’ts – time flies in the US

One of the great joys of going on holiday is never having to worry about what time it is.

Until you do.

After all they’re on a different clock.

Which means you have to factor that in to your new daily routine.

The first thing to do is change the time on your watch.

Reset the watch. Photo by Malcolm Garret on

Don’t try to do the math in your head – that’s too much of a rush when you’re trying to catch the plane.

Remember too to triple, quadruple, quintuple check your flight time.

And if you’ve booked independently from your trip make sure that your times match.

You don’t want to be that clod who books his flights back from Denver, Colorado… Go West.

Worse places to get stranded

Only to check the times the night before and find that the connecting flight is too early.

Too late is too bad to.

Now you’ve probably got time converters on your phone but if not check out

You’ve probably got the transatlantic flight time sorted out but the connecting flight can catch you out.

The date on your flight schedule will be clearly written on your documents only among a plethora of other information.

And while in your head you’re on the same day as back home remember that there’s a chance that you have to jump a day.

Yeah, I might have been messing around being a cowboy

So the flight that you’re expecting to take eight hours is really taking 16 hours.

And the date on your schedule could be a date later than you think.

Eight hours in Denver Airport

Just saying, and you can thank me later.

The upside, and there are precious few, is that if you have to spend eight hours in Denver airport then there are worse airports.

There are great food fares and shopping outlets, a putting green and an art gallery.

They had a fantastic exhibition of a photojournalist’s pictures and a video of his work in the wilds.

It’s not a dirty word. Photo by on

And I should know. Because I circumnavigated the airport a dozen times.

And I eventually did make a score in the putting that I could tell people about.

Can you not make up time?

With every oversight your mistake is multiplied by the first error.

Remember America is a continent and is subject to weather fluctuations and flight delays.

If you’re the type to just accept what life or your mistakes strews in your path, good luck.

If you’re like ‘my friend’ though you will probably spend your flight looking at your expected time of arrival.

Willing it to arrive earlier. And miss the movies.

It’s a minefield. Photo by Oscar Chan on

You’ll be damn sure that you’ve got the time right for the new connecting flight you had to book in the States.

Just be sure that you’ve not got your headphones on listening to your playlist when your name gets called at the departure gate.

Not on the same trip I promise you, but not good either.


OneRepublic: Rockin’ all over the world

There is nothing quite like a song to transport you to a time a place, a person, in your life.

I always make a point of claiming a song from everywhere I go and make up playlists when I go home.

It helps me hold on to that place that little bit longer.

And bring it up every time I hear it again.

The song can be a random, recognisable tune you hear on the radio or the TV.

I’m in there somewhere: At Red Rocks

Or a new tune that you pick up which leads you to investigate the singer, band or composer and build a collection.

While the best of all is if you see live music when you are abroad.

In this random series I will share some of the great music I’ve heard on my travels which oft times has defined the destination.

I’m going to kick things off with one of the great musical venues in the world, Red Rocks in Colorado.

Hymn of the Republic

Where I saw Denver band OneRepublic.

I stopped and stared: At Red Rocks

I didn’t know it at the time.

But the lead singer Ryan Tedder as well as penning a number of very recognisable songs I didn’t know were his has also written for a number of big stars.

Including Beyonce – and he sang a rousing Halo.

And here’s me giving all Ryan’s secrets away…

But the tune which stayed with me was set in his experience of growing up in Colorado and thinking of moving on grabbed me.

Stop and Stare cut the brisk Colorado night.

And of course the ancient rock setting and the acoustics from the music hitting them made for a magical night.

Red Jocks: Myself and fellow Scot Neil at Red Rocks

The only regret was that I hadn’t seen The Beatles, The Stones, Bruce and U2 play there.

Rocks of ages

But I will be back and I expect Brandon Flowers and The Killers to keep their side of the bargain and be on when I’m there.

To get you in the mood here is my review of Red Rocks And heck, because you asked my series on Denver and Colorado too

And here are some websites that you can check out more… and and

And with Daddy’s Little Girl making some new memories of her own at Electric Picnic this weekend here’s my guide to a few music festivals…


All gone to look for America

It’s that time of the year again… when I head off to America’s Travel fair to meet my friends from the Fifty States and report back to you on all that’s on offer. This year it’s Disneyland in Anaheim.

Americans come in all shapes and sizes, and isn’t that wonderful?

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Chewbacca and even more unreal, Hollywood’s fantastical creatures who all hang out in West Hollywood where I’ll be visiting, staying and partying in.

Just to whet your appetite here’s my tales of past American Travel fairs from the past two years…. in a new tab) in a new tab) in a new tab)

Oh, and I’ll be donning some new costumes and headgear. By way of a preview this year Mickey Mouse will be wearing a Jim Murty outfit.