Friday, 21 January 2011

Some more steps

It was a frosty morning. The grass and trees were covered in icy crystals. A hoar of a frost, in fact.. The destination - Tilly Glen.
Stage one was a brisk walk up to the Uni to get the bus. The air was crisp, the sky was blue. My body was purring like a piece of well oiled machinery. It was all bound to end in disaster.
 Buspasspartout took care of the travel arrangements as usual. and we were soon speeding along the Hillfoots in brilliant sunshine. But looking ahead, I could see that from Alva onward the view was obscured by cloud. And so it was that I headed up the road to The Clock Mill in a cold haar  I was, however, pretty certain that around about the height where the paths split, I would be above it. And so it proved.

Fintry Hills in the distance behind a cloud covered Carse

This is one of the "make the height early" jobs and starts with a bit of a slog up steps and a zig-zag path. Where the path splits, with the lower path going into the Mill Glen, I took the upper path which leads eventually through the Ochils to Blackford. But not today !

I could have sworn there was someone following me all day.

Looking up the Daiglen

The Law with the trade route to Ben Cleuch clearly visible

The Law dropping into the Gannel Burn

Still bits of cloud about

A familiar landmark

Snowfield across the path

The col at the top of the glen

This was as far as I got. Always leave a bit in the tank to get down. Where do most accidents happen, children ? Conditions were a mixture of frozen ground, ice, and squelchy on a narrow path with some big drops. I'd guess about 5 miles in total and a lift of about 1600 ft. But thats not important right now. Total quiet - total isolation (I only saw one rather surly couple  right at the end of the day) Did I enjoy myself ? You're darn tootin I did !

Nice song - shame about the video. So eighties.

Aaah the eighties. When I was The Man, when I had The Power. And I pissed it all away. So it goes.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Stinking Bishop

No journey down the M6 is complete without a stop at Tebay Services to buy some of these little pies with asparagus and stuff on top, and a piece of one of my favourite cheeses.

I am holding a piece up to the keyboard now - just take a sniff.  Mmmmm.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Off to jolly old Skem...

...for a couple of days "work" this week. I was doing a course in Skem a few years ago, and when I came back early to the training room to set up after lunch, I found two blokes carrying the tely out through the patio doors !

When I get back, it's off for a wee break  in the land of cake. Then I'll have a bit of a think about this blogging thing.

something over on Pieland made me think of this.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Carpe Diem

A salutary lesson.

I had planned a wee walk up Sheriffmuir and into the Ochils for this weekend. Then we got a significant snowfall on top of the remaining ice. I called off and entered a phase of thoughtful introspection.
No, not a huff at all. What I said.

About 2pm I was aroused from my reverie by some foul, industrial language emanating from the kitchen, where The Lady of The House was replacing the belt on the washing machine. I rushed through and offered to fetch her an elastoplast. "Why don't you just pop out for a little walk in the snow, dear ?" was her response, although I may be paraphrasing slightly here.

So off I popped, planning a bit of slip sliding up to the  Coop.
However, shockaroonie ! The snow was perfect Walking Snow. The weather was mild , the sky blue.

I carried on up through the Mine Woods and back via Drumbrae and Pathfoot.

Today's significant stat

Feelgood factor  8.5  (it would be 9, but I'm Scottish, remember)

And what, you ask, of The Project

Well, I have applied the latest space-age technology to the problem and the good news is that it is do-able. There are good routes for the two tricky sections, and there would be no need to play chicken across the motorway with a full pack.
Now when I originally imagined this, I saw it as a 7day, town to town B&B effort. And a young fit person could probably do it as such. But even if ( and it's still a big if)  I get fitter there is no way I'll be able to do 20mile+/2000ft days. So, for me, I would have to split the first two days into 3 and another day later into 2.Which of course introduces the elephant in the room - wild camping.Now I think I have been unconsciously blocking out consideration of this (not least because I don't think I have a tent anymore !). Hmmmm.

So I am currently looking at this as a possibility for September with a cut-off point at the end of July for testing fitness. I would say, current probability 20%.

Isn't it amazing how a sunny day at this time of year sets the imagination running riot ?

Remember Saturday mornings at the ice-rink ?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Over My Head

There was an element of "unfinished business" about today's walk. I could explain the complex technical, emotional and geopolitical background, but I can't be arsed. Suffice it to say, I was up at sparrowfart and away skiting on the black ice up to the bus stop and off to East Linton. There was a forty minute delay due to an accident on the motorway, but I slept through it.

East Linton is one of these typical Scottish villages of stone built houses with front doors which open straight on to the street and a flourishing culture of wife-swapping and devil worship. I walked swiftly up the main street and picked up the John Muir Way, heading for North Berwick

 It was around these parts that The Saltire flag originated when the leader of yet another tiny force of blue painted Scots, confronting a massive force of well equiped shaven headed tattooed English, saw a St. Andrews cross cloud formation against the blue sky and took it to be an omen. The not-too-bright, lager-soaked English took it to be the vapour trails of the Scottish ground attack aircraft and didn't stop running until they reached Stoke Poges.

I like East Lothian. Apart from being the birthplace of John Muir, it has lots of interesting nooks and crannies and a variety of coastal and upland scenery. One of its characteristics is the red tiled houses.

Development opportunity?

A field of rather sad looking cabbages

Lunch  Spot

Destination getting closer

North Berwick Law with quarry

North Berwick

Weather was crisp and sunny to begin with clouding over later. Good path/track over mixed terrain. Waymarking adequate. The John Muir Way goes all the way from Co'path to Musselburgh.I plan to do other bits of it.
About 7 miles which fits into the fitness programme fine, particularly as no blood in the socks.

I had about an hour to wait for a bus connection in Edinburgh. Without thinking, I started heading for the Cafe Royal for a couple of pints of the black stuff and half a dozen of Whitstables finest.Then I remembered. I don't do that stuff any more. When I got home, I found out that the drink had taken wee Raffo.

Aye, well

"Over my head
There is so much to see in the sky
Just that feeling of being alive
Don't let it go, don't let it slip away"

Sunday, 2 January 2011


Oldmortality - nil (after extra time)

I've been trying to get out and make up some lost time (wee tumble just before Christmas-bruised ribs- only when I laugh, thank you.). Most of the snow and ice has gone around here, but every now and again you come round the corner of the path and are confronted by about 100m of hard-packed shiny ice, wall to wall, or hedge to hedge. For me, this means a back-track and search for another way round. Now, I have got some very old crampons ( I bought them after they were given a good review by Eddie Whymper on his blog "Not with a bang"), but they are a sodding faff to put on and off for short distances. Perhaps I should invest in a pair of these Katona Miicrospikes everyone seems to be talking about.
What ?
Really ? 40 of your earth pounds ? Do they do pensioner rates ?

It has come to my attention that there has been a lack of vulgar, primitive, down and dirty music on here, and this has been causing rumblings among our vulgar, primitive, down and dirty readership.Need I say more than "Take it away, Bon"

Angus's stats

Distance covered;  1.6 kilometres

Ascent : 22.4 metres

London man gets OBE

I hadn't noticed when I posted about Dougie MacLean that Richard Thompson also got an OBE.

So to celebrate this
Not a clip of Richard
Not a clip of Fairport
Not a clip of Sandy Denny

but. Mary Black singing one of Richard's songs. Cos I like it. There.

Started as I mean to go on yesterday. 2.58 miles, 158m up. Cold, foggy, brilliant.