The Future is Orange

I’ve had a notion for a walk for a wee while and it’s something a little different for me, Fort William to Morar.
It looks like it could be a couple of nights of camping after getting the train up and starting walking from there. There’s a good bit of Great Glen Way towpath to get me to tail of Loch Arkaig, then quite a bit of singletrack road or rough hillside to get me to where I really want to go at the head of the loch; Glen Pean.
I’ve long wanted to walk through the glen, feel the history and savour the emptiness. It’s wild and remote and looking at the map just makes me grin. Leaving the glen isn’t the end, it means a walk along the whole length of Loch Morar to either Morar or Arisaig and hopefully a train home.
I think it’s partly that these days I’m wanting to see the bits in the middle that I’ve been driving past or looking down on from a Munro all these years.

But, as I was writing this, I got an email though, and it’s my commissions through from Trail for my routes for the next year. I don’t really talk about my Trail stuff much, but I’m always in there, there’s my Routes, Used & Abused reviews and I’ve always got other bits and pieces scattered about. I’ve got a great piece lined up for the lightweight issue later in the year that’ll see me in the Cairngorms, and then there’s these new routes.
I am grinning from ear to ear right now as I read through my schedule and see that I’m revisiting old friends and tramping familiar trails, and visiting places in Scotland I’ve never even seen with my own eyes.
I’ll be sleeping in caves, peering down on fjord-like loch, putting my feet up by the fire after climbing my last unvisited peak in one of my favourite areas, repeating the first ever Munro ascent, standing on the first hill where I saw a cloud inversion (with waist length hair!), looking for an airframe in the heather, biking into a remote peak or two, bagging some tops before they lock the gate, losing myself in the Assynt wilderness and more besides.
I am overjoyed. Sometimes I need a nudge to get me moving and this has me falling out of my chair.

My Glen Pean walk will be in there, so will some other stuff I’m sure if I’ve got time.
I’ve said this many times, but Scotland really is awfy big for such a wee country.

Insert Unrelated Title Here

I’ve spent a lot of time this past week with maps and books, even looking back through the blog and packets of my old photies for ideas for new Trail Routes. And you know something, my enthusiasm and excitement for this stuff has never been higher.
No matter how much gear I get sent to test, or how many outdoor-related distractions appear, none of it is taking anything away from the simple joy of heading out there.
Something changed for me last year, and it was on that final successful trip to Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. I had that feeling of re-discovery, an awakening of sorts after a long doze maybe, and it hasn’t gone away.
I’m planning trips where I’m pointing at the map and walking through the contour lines in my mind and grinning away to myself, I’m thinking about what colour that lochan will be, indigo or algae green, where will I pitch to feel the sunrise warm the tent and waken me gently. I’m sitting here typing, but if I blink I’m also on a top breathing in the cold air and pulling up my hood as the light dims and thoughts (once again) turn to hot cuppas and dinner.
I can be awfy faddy at times, but the Highlands have been a constant for me and as I grow older their grip is tightening. No, not a grip, an embrace.
To find a little thing like that in life, that feels like it’s just enough, I just couldn’t ask for more.

I see that beady eye

It circled, it swooped, it called to me,
Its song croaked from a snow capped rock ahead.
It marked the route with every landing,
It was daring me to follow it. 
It cruised the Window like a Sunderland chasing U-Boats.
It wanted me to turn right. And I turned left.

Note to self: Sew that kick patch.

I knew I was going, I just didn’t know when. I had booked in meetings and site visits on Monday and Tuesday and then I looked at the weather. Wednesday morning was looking good. Bugger, that meant an alpine start, miles of driving and less fun that it should be.
Phil knew the score and as he stepped off the return flight from Iceland he was texting to see if I’d been.
“Naw”
“We should go up and camp on Tuesday night”
“That’s a possible, it’ll be later on though…”
We had a plan. Of sorts.

I got back to base late in the afternoon and started packing carefully, everything laid out on the living room floor. It looked like it was going to be properly cold and as much as I was in a hurry, I didn’t want to leave anything behind. I’ve got previous of that to be taken into account.
Phil appeared before I was ready of course, then there was some faffing around as I had to reunite Joycee with her car keys at my folks house, during which Holly said “Daddy, back from the mountains” and started to pull my jumper off. Ach.
Then we were on the road. The A82 in fact.

It was clear and it was cold. We kept watching for clouds, but it was all stars and optimism. We had to drive through Tyndrum, there were no lights on and no dinner there for us. Ft Bill also had the shutters down, Morrisons was shut, McDonalds was shut, I’m not on speaking terms with the chippy and the only other option was the Morrisons garage where we got sammidges, snacks and some gay badinage with the wummin in there who was from Cumbernauld it turns out. The lesson is, that after 2100hrs Scotland is shut on a Tuesday.
Spean Bridge came and went, the Fersit sign was next and then we were driving through wind-blown snow on the road. Fresh and unexpected. It was late, were convinced that there was now a cloud overhead, and other doubts started creeping in about night navigation in cloud, will the car park be locked, it’s after ten and we haven’t had any dinner.

The car park was empty, and a skating rink. After a half-arsed salchow we reversed into a snow bank and parked up. Lights on, cold sammidges and Lucozade for dinner.
A wee van pulled in and the sounds were those of racks being assembled for climbing in the morning. That affected our plans, if they were camping at the cliffs we wouldn’t, not totally an anti-social thing, but courtesy, the environment and flexibility in our route made it a good choice. We found out next day that they’d slept in the van, but it was academic anyway. After walking until 2350 we knew we hand to stop, and we were neither on the ridge or at the lochan.
The trail had been iced, but walkable and the mostly clear sky had seen us walking sans headtorches. Very pleasant indeed, if increasingly cold.
We found a cracking spot a little way above the track, my wee tent needed just a little flattening with the Snowclaw to get a pitch, but Phil needed some digging for his winter fortress. After a small mechanical with a pole that needed some McGuyvering we were set and the stoves were soon on as we wandered our little plot.

A beautiful night it was, and nice to be camped below the tops for a change, it gives you a different persective on your surroundings. I’ve had an odd desire to camp on a beach for a while, so maybe this is good mental half-way point?
We both slipped into sleep quite quickly, it was very late, hot chocolate and high loft down will do you in every time.

Zzzzziiiipp! Mmmffff… crump crump crump. I opened my eyes, bloody hell, it’s light outside.
“Mornin'” I shouts, “What time is it?”
“Five past eight!” Says Phil as he pads about outside.
Ah bugger, all the advantages of our drive up last night had been lost if you look at it from a logistical perspective, but we were firing up stoves in the mountains in the sunshine and snow. That’s a Win.

We just hung out at camp for a couple of hours, taking photies, sipping a hot brew, shooting the breeze and waving to the chain of climbers clanking past on the track below. Any notion of having to do anything else all day was lost. I was quite happy where I was.

A front moved across us from the West, like the sunroof being pulled closed. The light was diffused by high wispy cloud and I took that as an omen. We packed to leave.
We rejoined the trail and headed towards the cliffs or Coire Ardair on hard frozen snow, high ridges all round and in air that grew ever cooler.

The bright blue ice on the cliffs began to shine out from the frozen rock faces. And soon tiny black figures on the blue ice became visible, then their movements, then their shouts.
The cliffs had a dozen folk clinging onto them, some in obviously more precarious positions that others. Coming towards us were a pair who’d called off after one had hurt his ankle. He limped after his mate who was carrying both packs and both sets of gear. That was going to be a long walk out for both of them.

Lochain a’ Choire (below left) was frozen and snow covered. It’s a beautiful spot. We could have camped here, but at what time, 1am, 2am? Another time.

Poles were changed for crampons and ice axes. The snow was very inconsistent though, being variously frozen rock-hard and fall-through-up-to-yer-baws deep. This made the climb to the “window” bealach  slow and tiring, but the scenery made every rest stop a joy. The huge cornice to our left looked so precarious, it was cracked, it was weary and it was right above us. The rocks here were iced on their faces as they turned into the Window, ice-falls draped the overhangs and every scree strewn gully was was filled with a blanket of fresh snow. The wind was picking up and the mood was changing as we climbed in to the wide channel and onto the broad back of the mountain.

It was a sea of snow with a ring of dark blue on the horizon. The sky was the same colour as the ground, and just as blank. Tinted lenses didn’t help, this was distinctly odd indeed.
We were both starving by this point but Creag Meagaidh’s plateau isn’t where you want to be stopping for lunch. As time was getting on, and the light was tiring at the same pace as ourselves, we waved to Mad Megs Cairn and turned down to Puist Coire Ardair for some shelter in which to enjoy our pub lunch (Lasagne and Chili Con Carne).
We dug in the snow a little and I got the stove on, cut some chunks of snow and added them to what little water I had left in the pot. the rising steam was like a lost brother coming home. Dinner was gone in a flash, we really did leave it too long and that makes you all upset. I had been sucking on a frozen protein bar, but I think that had been using so much effort that any benefit was cancelled out.
A climber topped-out near us as we were packing up. We were the only folk on the mountain that day who weren’t climbing. I waved to his grinning mate as he too clambered over the edge following a pink rope, and then I turnd after Phil.
I curled my thumbs into my fingers inside my mitts as they throbbed. It was very cold now, it hadn’t risen above -5ºC since we’ve arrived, but it was now properly cold.

The walk along the ridge towards Sròn á Ghoire was exposed to the wind and we had our faces covered and hoods up. The views back to the cliffs of Coire Ardair were wonderful though. By now the cliffs were starting to swirl with spindrift and the snow was moving in behind us. Down was the right direction.

The heathery slopes of Sròn á Ghoire were frozen and there was still much snow, and after that we found the track was iced right back to the motor. So we had the happy task of removing boots with crampons still attached and throwing them in the back.
It was dark with snow lightly falling. The glen where we’d camped was in cloud now and we’d got the timing right, just and no more.

The drive home? Ah, now there was an epic. We had intended to stop at the Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum but it was closed, and we had been a snails pace as the snow had gotten increasingly heavy and the road had become ever more ill-defined. Had I been alone, maybe there would have been some chancier driving with my new snow tyres, but the presence of a passenger does tend to reel in such tendencies these days.
It was much great relief we pulled into the BP garage a mile from home (my home anyway, and where Phil’s wheels were waiting) and I picked up an Indian Meal For Two for Me.

Just in the nick of time too, I was fading away.

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It’s like visiting a friends house, or your granny. Sure, it might not be exciting this time, it might just be cuppas and some telly, but you know that you’ll be welcome, time will pass at whatever pace it likes and you’ll be immune to any outside influence or interference for the duration.
I watched the mix of snow flurries and sunshine, looked at my watch, filled the kettle to make up a flask. I was heading to Ben Lomond for my first visit of 2010.

The pure white summit ridge swings in and out of view all the way down the road from Drymen, and never seems any closer. It’s a big bloody magnet, and it’s pull on me has never lessened through the years.
I changed into my big thick socks and boots(?!), pulled on a windshirt and headed up the tourist track. It’s been a couple of years since I climbed Lomond this way, and as good as the Ptarmigan ascent is, the views this way are different and I was already enjoying myself as I cleared the woods and stepped into the breeze and cool sunshine.
I met my first descenders of the day, a couple who’d not made the summit, but were just out for the joy of it to see what lay up the track. As with most folk I meet on the hill, they were immediately concerned for my well-being as I was walking in the wrong direction late in the afternoon. I explained myself.

The next meeting was one which will stay with for quite a while. An auld fella was coming towards me, and my first thought was “What the hell is that on his nose?”. It was a bit of tissue to stem the blood.
“Have you taken and tumble?”
“Aye, my crampon came off…”
I surveyed him and my mind raced through the options as I questioned him. He was worried that he’d burst hid cheek, but although his face was swollen, he’d just skinned it. The only blood was from his nose and it looked to be stopping. He was having black eye today as well. He was lucid, sharp in fact, and was moving well.
“Come on, sit down and I’ll get you cleaned up”
“No, no”
“Well, let me walk you down then?”
“No, no.. I’m fine…”
He was edging past me at this point. I let him go. It went against all my instincts, and all my standards as an interventionist, but I watched him walk away.
You know what swung it? I reckon he was well into his 70’s, he had a mix of gear from recent to old-school, I reckon he’d been in the mountains all his life. He’d taken a tumble and he’d picked himself up, sorted himself out and was making his way home. If I’d taken over would it has broken his confidence in his lifetime of experience? I just thought of him staying home next time because of his memory of this “young” fell taking him off the hill.
I felt queasy, it was a very emotional moment.
I watched him descend into the dip where the little bridge is, emerge onto the track at the other side and motor along, as he faded from sight he was almost with the couple I’d met earlier.
I don’t know if I did the right thing, and I don’t know if I’d do the same if I had a second chance.

The next group I met were instructed to watch for the auld boy as they went down. Soothing my conscience or taking precautions? At that moment I wasn’t sure at all.
The next pair were a couple of retired boys, using their free time to good effect with-weekly hill trips. We shot the breeze, talked gear and hills and it lightened my mood.
I went a little farther, but with losing so much time the light was fading and it was time for dinner, and it was time for crampons.

Now it was snow and ice and wind. The moon came out, but it’s bright, clear light was cold and the insulated jacket I’d put on when I stopped had stayed on as the wind fired spindrift into my legs, my mitts stayed on as my finger tips nipped and my face stayed covered as every inhalation ran sharp fingernails over my fillings.
The cloud was patchy and fast moving, the snow was hard and my spikes cut into it very definitely with every step. My headtorch was still in my pocket, the moon cast my shadow long and well defined in front of me as I traversed the wonderful summit ridge.
The trig point was iced and exposed, it was so cold on the summit. A quick refuel and I descended to the little coll to watch the camera constantly get blown over into the snow. But I did get the chance to play about a little.

It’s funny how a long exposure makes the city lights look so bright, it turns Lomond into an urban peak. But standing there, they’re just tiny twinkles to the south and don’t feel intrusive at all.

I took forever to descend. And tired eyes and some patchy clouds brought out my headtorch.
Eventually all the cloud disappeared, the moon rose a little higher and the wind sunk a little lower. it was beautiful.
I pulled up a rock and finished my flask. I had a lot to think about. I often say how easy what I do is, how accessible it all is. But the mix of people I’d met and their varying fortunes had reminded me of how relative it all is. We can all make mistakes, experience isn’t a bulletproof shield, we can all find ourselves out of our depth, and we can all find a little victory from reaching a level that others would scorn at.
So I don’t think there is a right or wrong, or if there is it’s just applicable to you yourself. What’s maybe universal then is the need to have an understanding for the “other”?

The carpark was deserted and pitch black. My feet were glad to be back into trainers, and suddenly the most important thing was hot food. I hadn’t realised it was getting so late.
Is a McDonald’s a guilty pleasure? I was the last customer last night, they’d put the cat out, turned down the duvet and were about to lock the door and turn the lights off when I appeared at the counter. I half expected them to just say “Here, just take the assorted lukewarm foodstuff that’s left with out compliments and give us peace”.  But instead I got a Big Tasty with Bacon and onion rings frshly made and fries still with a bit of crispiness about them. Nice.

You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll

It’s bloody miserable out there. Cold too, and not that nice frosty cold, it’s a damp cold that you suck in with every breath, it lingers inside you, sapping your enthusiasm and draining joy reserves.
What of Creag Meagaidh? What indeed. I can’t face the drive without knowing I’ve got a good chance of it being clear, even patchy would do.
It’s such a great hill, and I know exactly the two shots I want for the Trail route (how’s that for uncharacteristic organisation?), but as nice as testing the Berghaus Temperance hood in a blizzard would be, those likely conditions do not help our mission.

So as I’m flicking through the computer at my folks’ I found some photies from a hike-a-bike to Gulvain a few years back. I remember it well, warm sun, cool air, a light haze softening the stark white streaks of snow lying late into the year. A fun ride in and out as well.

I want out. 

Left unattended

I’m in all on my own, and I should really be packing my bags for tomorrow’s trip down to the Lakes, but I find myself sitting with a cuppa and getting all wistful instead.
I’ve been looking at maps which have been sparking as many memories as they have moments of inspiration. I’ve had a DVD on of the old West Highland Railway Line, engines toiling up Glen Almond or arriving at Ballachulish Station, and now I’m working my way through Weir’s Way.
It’s a timely reminder of where my heart lies and where my inspiration comes from.
In these days where everything is engineered to look like a super sexy product or lifestyle choice that’ll make you better than you were before, be it a simple day’s hillwalking or a £400 jacket, watching an old bloke in a hand-knitted woolly bunnet wandering around Scotland telling a wee story, reaches into me and plucks a perfect note that makes my heart sing.
That’s something that no sponsored athlete exploits, advertising campaign imperatives or completed tick-list will ever bring to me.
It’s just the same feeling as I find when I’m sitting by my tent with the steam rising from the mug in my hand, simple joy. Hold onto it.

The Bedford Level Experiment

Christmas is the end of the year for me. It’s the bullet hitting the target, the week that follows is just the old year falling to the ground. I get my thoughtful moments and reflection out of the way, and by the time Hogmanay is here I’m thinking “new and next”.
But, I was just flicking through my old photies after posting some stuff on Scottish Hills and there were some that made me frown and smile at the memories, and there’s some of these again below. It was a year of stuff and things, victories and defeats, happy accidents and big mistakes.
This place has trundled on quite happily and has helped my memory no end, for the first time in my life I can actually see where I was and what I was doing. The other previous 39 years are a haze of faces, places and ducking to avoid incoming fire.

One last moment of reflection before the lights go out. For those kind messages sent that I couldn’t find the right words to reply to, thank you.

What’s new and next I wonder… ?

Walk like a duck

I remember my first crampons. Purple Stubai’s, ten points with about ten feet of straps which always came undone and trailed about me until I tripped on them and tried to hide them inside my gaiters.
My first axe was a Stubai as well, a metallic blue thing with a welded-on adze and no teeth on the pick.
I felt like I was a mountaineer.
My instruction in their use was very much the application of a trial and error technique followed by looking at “action” line drawings of men in breeches in an old book when I got home. But learning what doesn’t work is as important as what does, like self arresting with a 70cm axe. I bought a 55cm Mountain Technology the following Sunday afternoon.
I’ve stuck with 55cm or 60cm since. 57.5cm would be perfect, but you can’t have it all.
Winter kit has so many memories tied to it.

Karma

I don’t believe in any of that stuff when it comes down to it. Science and dinosaurs, that’s me.
Blacks cats? I’ll chase them under a ladder no problem.
Maybe it’s just natural that good times and bad times seem like speed bumps on the slightly worn but usuable road of life.
Coincidence is a good one, luck maybe? It’s abstract enough to apply unversally without offending or brainwashing anyone.
I’m telling you though, it still felt like karma.

The Spirit of Radio

These past few years I’ve often wondered about the effect a camera has on my time outdoors. I love looking at my photies when I come home, and I’ll treasure them for the rest of my life, but does the time and effort involved detract from the experience of actually being there?

At the Gary Numan gig I got my answer. There were folk all through the crowd who spend much of the show (in some cases the whole show) with a camera or “device” of some sort held aloft, snapping or filming, adjusting as they went. Now, if you’re looking at an LCD screen you’re not looking at the stage, the lights, the faces of the performers, you’re not catching the nuances of the musicianship, you’re not absorbing the spectrum of emotion coming from both the PA and the audience. You can’t rewind the show because you missed it either, are you compromising the experience just to get some rubbish footage of three quarters of a song on YouTube before anyone else? Yes, I think you are.

I’m in the mountains, I’m ascending, the clouds break and light streams through. I throw off my pack and get the camera and tripod out. I take a shot, I set the timer, run around the front and grin a bit, then I stand and watch for a while to see what the clouds do next, I have a drink, I have a munchie too maybe.
I know that when I’m not alone and I’m doing that stuff I’m slowing someone else’s progress as well, but I can’t remember any toe-tapping or folk sighing and looking at their watches.
Maybe rather than being a pain, stopping to take a photie is stretching that moment when the view is just perfect. Watching more intently, feeling the seconds tick by as the cloud slowly peels from the summit, or the sun slips over the horizon spraying the sky with ever changing colour. I don’t think that I would have half the memories and have caught half the moments that I have if I’d have kept moving. Stopping and fannying about with a camera would appear to be a good thing.

Happy now.

I’m a man not a fish.

Pale blues skies were above me all the way. The snow line seemed to start around 600m, clouds hid on the north sides of the ridges and summits, keeping out of the low sunlight. The A82 wasn’t the enemy today, it was a sparsely attended passage through a wonderland, and I grinned my way north.
I stopped at The Green Welly for a roll on bacon and a cuppa, also hitting one of the staff on the head with the toilet door. Well if I’m fixing a radiator behind a door, I tend to block it open. 
Skipping through FT Bill it was still as fine, although some high cloud was creeping in, it just added to the wintry feel. The road stayed quiet all the way through Kintail and I pulled into Eilean Donan’s car park with hardly a cross word spoken through the windscreen.
I took some shots on the bridge (it’s a Trail thing) and nipped over to see the folks at 914 Outdoor, just opposite at Ardelve Point. Local knowledge is a great resource, and I was soon revising my route choice. I’m never keen on sending folk into fast flowing water (or over it should I say?), I think river crossings put folk off trying routes, so it was back in the motor and into the hills on a magic wee single track road.

I headed up the trail into Coire Dhuinnid. It’s a wide,  high glen with 500/600m ridges and small peaks on either side, and it’s a total joy. Almost immediately you lose an sense of being close to the road and farmhouses as you travel inwards and upwards. Behind, Beinn Sgritheall is the first high top to poke out of the scenery, a fine hill with a little snow down the back of its neck.
As the coire widened, I found the oddest shielings. The structure to the left below is like a guard house, you can go right inside it, and if you’re about 5’8″, stand upright. Brilliant shelter if you’re stuck.

So many scars of glaciation up here, the wee rock above battered but unmoved. There’s a huge amount of bare rock on the upper slopes too. It feels wold in here, just a few km’s from the road and I felt as “out there” as I ever have in Scotland. I never saw a single soul either which added to it, I did see some fell-runner footprints on the track earlier on, but apart from some deer, it was my and my thoughts.
I was having lots of those too, it was getting very dark despite the early hour and I was again having to re-think the route. I had planned to to take in some of the higher tops and do a big circular route, but with the weather looking like turning I switched to tackling the rough looking ridge to the west and do a shorter loop over Boc Mor (brilliant name). I felt pretty good, only occasionally coughing. My legs were working, I wasn’t tripping over my trekking poles, and you know, it was just really nice be there and to be doing what I was doing. I could see the snow capped peaks of Kintail, Lochcarron and beyond, but it felt just right to be in this lonely and neglected spot. I was warm, comfy and quite happy with my lot.

On the ridge I found more of a breeze and also I could see that the distances of the original plan and the new version confirmed that Plan B was the right one. I wandered across the high moorland to look for the rocky outcrops and something that would look a little like a mountain.
There’s plenty of that it turns out, it’s barren, rough, very hard going and utterly wonderful. I made my way around crags, easing around the edges of deep lochans, and tried to stay upright on the bare greasy rock.
A few spots of rain had me scanning the horizon and the peaks were becoming flat grey shapes. This was proper rain coming. I pulled on my waterproofs and pushed on.

It got dark, the wind got up and the atmosphere changed. I was buffeted all the way to the little top of Boc Mor, and found myself struggling to stay upright. I didn’t hang about and descended into the complex terrain to the south, a jumble of more crags and lochans, with somewhere in amongst it, an easy descent route.
I fell over several times in the semi-darkness as my shoes assumed the grip performance of greasy piglets bungeed to my feet. The ground suddenly became much wetter as the rain became torrential, water ran down over the grass and I struggled mightily. All around were black shapes looming over me and steel grey pools chattering with the barrage of rain drops. I’d forgotten just what it’s like to be in unfamiliar territory in the worst of conditions. I needed this, hey, I loved this.

By the time I found the track it had become a burn. Clear, fast flowing water led me back to the motor.
Getting the wet kit off and getting into the drivers seat was the trickiest operation of the day, it’s been a while since I was so wet that my waterproofs were entirely gloss, but I sat there with the engine running and windows de-misting quite happy with my lot. I was hungry, I’d taken my stove and supplies, but the weather made that option unavailable. So when the windows were clear, I headed home and I swear to you the first thing that my iPod played for me was Just Walking in the Rain by Johnnie Ray (see it’s not all metal), then it hit me with Straight outa Compton by N.W.A. before settling into some Rush. Bless it, sometimes it gets it just right.

Food though, the first thing that was open was in FT Bill and didn’t want a Mickey D or a kebab, so I was heading to Tyndrum and the Real Food Cafe. Which was shut.
The Drover’s Inn is too close to home, so dinner was from the M&S simply food where I spend Monday night in the broken car. By the time I got home I was nibbling the packaging on my chicken balti.

A fun and varied day oot.

Winfield C60

The weather says no. And I’m kinda disappointed.
Today I actually, properly realised that I really miss being out there, the sights, the sounds, the cold fingers and nose that you get at this time of year, 7am cuppas at 900m. Time has skipped forward a big chunk without me noticing, and I feel a little melancholy.
I’m excited to go back into the hills with a tent. It’s like looking forward to going to the Apollo to see Judas Priest 30 years ago.
I’m glad it’s like that.