Tuesday 30 November 2010

Beware of soft-shoe shufflers

We will now be closing down for essential maintenance.

Please feel free to talk among yourselves.

Beware of Darkness !

 BTW does this remind you of anything ?

Sunday 28 November 2010

Did I order snow ?

Many years ago - (have you noticed that most of the matters of which I write  happened  'many years ago'? Funny that. Well, not for me, obviously.). Where was I again ? Right.

Many years ago, I went down to a crossroads at midnight and did a deal with The Devil in one of his many guises - he got the media rights to my immortal soul and I would be able to play guitar like Robert Johnson. While my people and his people were doing the necessary due diligence, Auld Nick informed me that he held a part-time agency for Scottish Widows, and, in exchange for an affordable monthly contribution, I would be in receipt of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice when I achieved three score years.The dizzy prospect of serenading Judith Chalmers with Stop Breakin Down Blues on some sun-soaked beach proved irresistible,and I signed up for both deals.

Alas, in the fullness of time, neither arrangement proved wholly satisfactory.Perhaps as a result of finding hitherto well concealed deficiencies in the soul under advisement, Beelzebub (or Jeremy as he is currently known) limited my virtuosity to that of Boris Johnson. And the pension thing was a bit of a bummer too.
Lucifer had neglected to list his directorships in Scottish Power, Scottish Gas, and BT , as a consequence of which I am required to occasionally venture forth again into the world of commerce in order to avoid the freezing of the drip on the end of my wife's nose.

And so it was that last week I was engaged in the ignoble pursuit of casting pearls before clients. During this time the unattended blog was visited by a (relatively !) large numbers of people apparently based in Finland. Whether they are all disciples of their countryman Tom, I have no way of knowing. But, given his predilection for unnaturally large members, I thought this from the Wirral's finest might be appropriate. And its about hillwalking too !

Monday 22 November 2010

Just a quickie....

to say I'm a bit busy this week and I'll get back to you all later in the week. But in the meantime

To those who have joined as followers  "Welcome. Your badges and certificates are in the post"

To those who have posted comments  "Thank you- you are very kind"

To those who have visited and enjoyed. " I'm astonished and gratified "

To those who have visited and wonder what the fuss is about " Serves you right"

To those who googled Emperor Clothing and Goughtex  "Dearie, dearie me"

 I'm slowly starting to get into the Christmas spirit

Thursday 18 November 2010

World Championship

World Scotch Pie Championship (also including bridies and sausage rolls). Over 400 entries.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Yesterday I walked ..... to Tesco

I was awakened as usual at 04.30 by the slamming of a car door as The Lady of The House left for her job at the quarry (these rocks don't break themselves, you know). After anothe couple of hours of warm snuggling, I went downstairs to find my spurs on the table.
Now, I didn't actually find spurs on the table. I don't own any spurs, having found them to be rather counterproductive on a bicycle. No, I was using a figure of speech. Like what they used to teach you at school 'n that. I was of course referring to the The Borders legend that when a Reiver saw that The Lady of The Keep had placed his spurs on the table it meant that they were all out of beef, and that it was time to get on his horse and reive some more cattle from the Geordies.Except of course for the Kerrs of Jedburgh who, as well as being congenitally left-handed, were also vegetarian. Many a pack-horse laden with quorn and humus looted from the College and Coquet Valleys did they lead over the Carter Bar !
Nowadays, of course, Mrs. Rutherford/Scott/Armstrong/Laidlaw just texts her husband to pick up two pizzas and a couple of Mars Bars on his way home from the call-centre. And then switches on the deep fat fryer.

I digress
In fact it was through the medium of a post-it note that I was instructed to "Buy porridge". My first reaction was that it was a hot tip to invest in cereal futures, but more mature consideration showed that a journey to Mr. Cohen's food bazaar was required.
Now, I know what some of you are saying . "Why didn't he go to the Coop, its closer ?"  Well, it's a bit delicate. One of the ladies who works at the Coop was in my class at primary school, and I know that she knows that I remember that she used to pee her pants. So, best avoided, I think.

The White Bridge
So off we go then over the White Bridge, past the factory and up the station brae.
What ? Yes, I know it's blue. But it's still the White Bridge. Alwways has been. Just because the council painted it blue, doesnt make it not The White Bridge. OK ? May I continue ? Good.

The station
This des res used to be the station. Where I used to marvel at Sir Nigel Gresley's masterpieces thundering northward. Now there is a new "station" - a few platforms with a couple of bus shelters. But it's not a real station with porters and barrows and Celia Johnson and stuff.

A gate

Withe the heavy rain last week, and the frost coming out of the ground, there was a lot of this

and this


The Ladies Pool
One of my favourite spots on the planet. I could sit here for ever. In fact, I'm told that I sat here for nearly two days in 1966. But then hallucinogenic drugs were legal in those days. I think.

The Boulder Field
The crux of the route !

This bit is Roman. You can see how it is cunningly laid out so that a chariot with blades on the wheels could run up and down and trim the grass verges.

The golf course
And not a golfer to be seen. Dammit. I'd brought the crossbow,  too.

The railway bridge
Yes, I know it's blue, but I'm not starting that again

The summit !
So there you have it.

Really ?

Van ?  Website ? Credit card ?  Jeez - now you tell me.
A pencil, presumably, must be led ?

Can Spring be far behind ?

Sunday 14 November 2010

Gear Review

Committed as I am to the doctrine of continuous improvement, I have been studying some of the proper outdoor blogs for ideas which I could appropriate.

Several options presented themselves
1. Walking long distances over hostile terrain, climbing to high altitude, and then writing about it in an entertaining, witty and inspirational manner. This option I discounted out of hand.

2. Walking with a small animal which can feature as a focal point in various amusingly captioned photographs. This I considered a real possibility, but a search of local pet shops for an arthritic sloth proved fruitless.

3 Gear reviews. Could this be the answer ?

Now , I'm sure most of you think of me as a flat-cap, ventile jacket and tweed breeches kind of guy. Those of you who know me better (something I naturally discourage !) appreciate that I am someone who does not shrink from "getting down with the kids". I have,therfore, recently purchased a jacket and trousers from the Emperor range of outdoor clothing. This stuff has the three-fold attraction of being ultra-lightweight, shockingly expensive, and hard to get in this country. It's made of the revolutionary new Goughtex fabric which uniquely functions as base layer, mid layer and soft-shell.

So,how does it perform ? Well I have to say that it's by far the best kit that I have ever worn. I'm not sure how many grams the jacket weighs, but you really don't know that you are wearing it. It certainly attracts favourable comments from people you meet on the hill. Lady walkers seem particularly impressed ! All in all a definite winner and it gets 4.5 stars out of 5 ( the only minor quibble is that small boys tend to shout at you, but thats not important)
I'm now looking forward to receiving the latest Emperor lightweight tarp, (hopefully free of charge!)

You know, looking back, it's hard to believe that I climbed over a hundred Munros without the benefit of wicking underpants or an HTML editor. Christ, we were hard in those days !

Just read that these guys are back together

Unusual things to find on top of a hill #147

Not trig points or cairns or walruses. More like the stuff you get on top of Snowdon, or Green Lowther or Broad Law.

 So, todays little competition. Can you name this hill ?
D'ya know what it is yet ?

Ok. Here's another clue. About half way up, the Ranger Service has set up a viewpoint with indicator

Which bit of "viewpoint" did they not understand ?
Now some of you know this, but keep quiet and don't spoil it for the others.
Getting near the summit now - deep inside the "death zone"

Come on, surely.......

OK. You're chappin. Here it is

Or perhaps this makes it easier

Or perhaps this view is more familiar

Yup. It's The National Wallace Monument atop the lofty Abbey Craig, one of the line of basaltic intrusions which stretches across the Carse of Stirling. The Craig itself is about 360 ft high and the monument adds another 220 feet. I considered going in, but first phoned TLOTH to check if our lottery numbers had come up. She answered in the negative so I gave it a bodyswerve. £7.50 - that will be shining.

The monument, of course is in memory of William Wallace who led a tiny force of blue-painted Scots to victory over a massive army of the perfidious, arrogant, malodorous English at the battle of Sirling Bridge.They, however, being notoriously bad losers, put him to death in a manner which cannot be described on a family blog.

Bridge of Allan with snowcapped Ben Ledi
One of the Links of Forth with the castle in the background
Looking to BenLomond and Ben Venue
Weather : Lovely winter afternoon
Distance ; Some kilometres (Some multiplied by five eighths miles).
Height gained ; Nil. (I  was 5'11 when started, and the same when I got back)
Toe status: Still there.

Monday 8 November 2010

Greta Bloody Garbo

The wind was in an unusual airt last night. Sure enough, just as I was dropping off ....... tap, tap, tap.

Thursday 4 November 2010

Is it just me ?

The local library has a sign saying "Fiction ends here"

Mountain Warehouse have an offer on monoculars - "Buy one, get one free"

Edit. Trespass are doing "3 for 2"  on all socks.