Flicking the Vee

We’re being reroofed so I haven’t been opening the bedroom curtains. The steps up through the scaffolding run past the window and it’s not dirty laundry I want them to miss on their way up to painfully slowly and incompetently replace the slates, it’s everything else.

However has made this wee happy accident possible and the sliver of light that was slicing in through the gap in the curtains had to be caught.

I was nearly going to put a rucksack in to catch it, but this was way better. Another of my most favourite things.

Lockdown has kept this out of the studio for what feels like a lifetime.

I miss making music with other people as much as I miss the hills beyond my council border.

 

Tomorrow’s Dream Vol 3

I can recall most any day spent in the hills in some capacity, photies do help with a prompt, but a map or a dog eared copy of SMC’s Munros starts the wheels turning too. Even years after my last walk, I can describe almost every step of the West Highland Way.
Sometimes it’s the little things that stick though, not just the wow views or the near miss that gets hairier with every retelling. This axe is one that stuck.

This is the cairn of Carn Mor Dearg which I visited on the fun way around to Ben Nevis on a fine winter’s day in the late 90s, I think it was ’98 so we’ll go with that.
It’s a photie of a printed photie which now I see it on my dark mode (Aye, dark mode. “Oh my eyes” folk used to say when the read stuff on here, now any site that doesn’t have dark mode it circled by snarling Gen Z’s. I am totally assuming the told you so high ground and also claiming an early adopter shoulder stripe for my uniform.) I haven’t cropped very well, but what the hell.

So, it’s an old wooden ice axe, stuck deep into the cairn. It was clean enough, no rot or too much rust on the head so I felt like it hadn’t been there long.
I barely saw anyone all day and the internet wasn’t what is now back then so I had no wider world to ask about it.

It just looked, I don’t know, enigmatic, poignant, mysterious, even funny. Without context there was no way to know quite how to react.
But it just looked magic where it had been placed. The light catching the head, the broken leash hanging loose suggesting tales of glory and a hard life lived and all on a glorious clear day where cloud lazily poured in thin waves over the low point on the CMD arete. But, it’s the axe I remember most.

It’s not there now of course, I’ve been back many times to check. And that adds to the mystery, did the owner reclaim it, did it slip away with wind and weather or did someone with not quite as much heart and soul as you or I take it home for themselves?

The hills have so many stories to tell. They have their own history as living, breathing islands of both delicate and harsh nature and wonder and then they have what we have woven across and through them over the years to tie them onto our sea-level lives.
I think that’s why so many of us long time hill goers treat the hills with an unthought respect, we see it as that precious, fragile environment, not an entertainment venue.

I hope the many new feet of the past year passing through the contour lines of our wonder high places learn to see the difference sooner rather than later.

Football comes to the Lang Craigs

We had some messages from visitors that there were large groups of people drinking and shouting and that there was lots of smoke at the Lang Craigs on Sunday.

Some of the debris was picked up and bagged for pickup this morning before I did a sweep for damage. I found plenty. I could still smell the burning despite the heavy rain early on.

Apparently this was all due to football.

Don’t know quite how that works, but aye, thanks for that.

Tomorrow’s Dream Vol 2

We had made an attempt at this camping spot by going over Stob Coire Sgriodan but it took so long to just get the start point at Fersit with much fannying around on the way that by the time we got to that first summit on the route, Beinn na Lap was just too far away to reach with any joy to spare before it got dark with a big descent and reascent and we just couldn’t be arsed with it so we spent the night there. Which was no second prize at all by the way.

I went back a wee while later and looked at it another way, sometimes the long way around is the quickest, or at least possibly the most fun.
It was a long walk but it sticks in my mind vividly. The weather wasn’t great, it was raining some of the time and the clouds sat low and dark, scraping the summits ahead of me, Beinn Eibhinn and Aonach Beag.
Looking back I wasn’t scared as such, but I felt I had to be focused because I was a little bit out of my comfort zone, making new steps towards the many summit camps and solo adventures that would follow.

It was exhilarating.

It had calmed considerably by the time I got to the summit and it was dry now too. I got 360° views and even though I don’t necessarily remember it, I just know I was grinning from ear to ear. I am certainly grinning now thinking back anyway.
I do remember what I had for dinner though, Travellunch Chicken Noodle Hotpot. I had a lot of those back in the day. Would I eat that now? Ha.

I don’t remember the night itself, maybe I slept, I think a night of misery would have left its mark. I do remember a very fine breakfast, I was out of water on the top and had to descend after making a cuppa with the last drops. I sat in the sun on warm rock by the Allt Féith Thuill boiling water scooped from the fast flowing burn.
It was a glorious feeling, feelings indeed.
Apart from all the flowery adjectives I could apply to my state of mind then, it was also very rewarding, I felt I’d earned that moment of bliss, I felt free, light of heart and soul. I suppose that sounds like a hippy thing, it’s a natural high man. But it’s more grounded than that, it was an exchange of joy for effort.
I think that’s partly why exploring the hills especially with overnight stays is a very complete activity, you put effort in and you get something back.
I mean, it’s not always instant gratification of course, sometimes I’ve payed in advance by sitting in a tent or worse in the truck in a layby in the pissing rain waiting for it to stop so I can get out and enjoy even a wee bit of the day.
Then I’ve lucked into more Broken Spectres than I can count because of that, so aye I’ll sit in the rain sometimes.

It’s all about taking the chance I suppose, being willing to take a couple of days and risk it coming to nothing. But it never really does come to nothing, wet and cold misery is a stirring tale to tell, it also leaves a deficit which you burn to make up for next time, that next trip which you plan on the way home as your pile of wet kit steams the windscreen on the long way back down the road.

Taking a chance? Aye, I can do that.

Monday on my mind.

Maybe this will be my last thought on it, or vaguely related to it. Maybe not.

It’s so grey now, you have to love the contrast. It’s like the bloke that worked on a job we were on for many weeks, I think he was in the ventilation squad.
Anyway, he quite anonymously and quietly worked away doing ducting and whatnot making no real impression or impact until one day at a general informal site meeting where we were standing around chatting about where we all were so were weren’t working over each other or getting too far ahead for each other he started juggling steel pipe fittings like a seasoned circus performer. And with a straight face too. You could have heard a pin drop.

Never underestimate anyone and never assume anything.

Tomorrow’s Dream Vol 1

I had a nice question in the comments this week about the last post title and I realised that in nearly 15 years of post writing I’ve rarely had a relevant title, in fact I don’t think there’s much on here gives a clue as to any of the actual content. Ha, I like that.
So. with that in mind I’m starting a wee series of posts as lockdown grinds on called Tomorrow’s Dream. It’s a Black Sabbath song (of course) but it’s also a very real hope. I’ve hit the wall, I want out there and I can physically feel the tension now.
I didn’t think that would happen, I thought I was in control etc, but no. To choose not to go to the mountains because there’s more important things at hand is one thing, to be barred from going by factors beyond my control has finally got to me.

So, I’m closing my eyes and going through 20 years of photies with a few words alongside to just touch my feet onto the ground, back then and right now.

We’d climbed a fence and a wall to find a path through to the lower crags. I was doing a route for Trail Mag and I had assured them I had one for Ben Nevis that I’d never seen published. We were now looking for that, one step and pencil mark on an A4 printed cropped and enlarged map at a time.

It was fine spring day and there was much banter from Z and Brian as we climbed the long drag from the glen up the south of Nevis to find snow and surprisingly, people for the first time that day.
So much scree and boulders, but also views. The Mamores were wreathed in cloud but also streaked with sun and the grins stayed wide. My face was tight with sun, wind and snow when I got back down. That’s a sign of a good day.

The route ended up a good one, I took in the CMD too and told the readers to walk back up the Glen to the Polldubh car park if they had to return to the start point.
I know folk did my routes because I got frequent feedback. One bloke on another route I wrote complained that my distances were unrealistic and he’d had a rough time, I’d walked it in deep snow while stopping to take photies and make cuppas, and he was there in summer. I learned a lot from feedback, didn’t change my approach though. This stuff should sometimes be aspirational, not always easily accessible.

I’ve often thought of going back and repeating the route, there were views that you just don’t get from anywhere else. Seen from high on Nevis the Mamores level out, on the southern flank, they look just awesome, the peaks stand out individually and impressively.

This was still on borrowed camera time, above and below. Below though that bigger pack show me arriving at camp on the summit of Carn Dearg to the north of Rannoch Station.
This was an early summit camp for me and it’s still fresh in my mind for what I woke up to the next morning, which I’ll probably get to when the photies pop up in whatever folder they’re in.

“Are you not scared?” I’ve been asked a lot and no is the answer. On any summit in any conditions I’ve always felt at home despite some hairy moments such as wrecked tents or a blizzard trying to bury me in the night.
I hope that feeling comes from an understanding of my situation built from knowledge and experience and not just bravado wrangled from stupidity and being lucky. I’m going for the former, I think I know my shit by now.

That moment there, the arriving at somewhere new, touching the rock, digging the tent peg in and hearing the stove roar into life.
That moment there, that’s tomorrow’s dream.

Difficult to Cure

As the sun slipped far below the horizon on Monday the colours got ever more intense. Looking behind us it was dark, or maybe just seemed more so after turning from the burning oranges of the western sky.
The surfaces, the gathered faces, all glowed with the fire above us, eyes still fixed upwards with some grins evident and some faces just still and mesemerised.

The colours shifted, purples and blues bled in from the edges before the flames burned out completely. It was all done and dusted in 30 minutes. If felt like seconds and it felt like hours.

Over the years I’ve stopped the car and got out wherever I happened to be, ran for a summit until I thought my chest was going to burst, downed tools and bolted for a viewpoint on a church roof or just stopped mid conversation and walked away when I thought I saw a flicker of flame on the horizon.
Being handed this on a plate just at my front door doesn’t diminish the deep and total joy of experiencing it.
It’s like standing in a shower of colour letting it wash away worries and stress and repairing a smile that was maybe slipping just a little.

Make time for this stuff. Please.

*No psychedelic edits, straight from the camera, it really was like this. Crivvens.

Rainbow Rising

I was meeting Linda on the beach at half five, just so we could get a wee walk in. There’s always a chance of a view, but jeezo Monday night was epic.

We just stood and stared with the wee group that gathered to see it. There were phones and cameras, but mostly eyes up to the sky like it was the alien mothership arriving.
It was quite an astonishing event to witness as it all evolved above us over half an hour or so.

Nature always wins, from the most depressing miserable day to the most life affirming moments of joy, nature brings it all.

Part two coming up, that’s when it gets properly psychedelic.

Three (giant) steps to heaven*

The sun was breaking through off and on all day and it was a little distracting. I was taking calls and I really was trying to be where folk needed me while keeping Holly on track with school stuff as she drifts into browsing online fashion shopping every time she thinks I’m not looking.

I can’t complain, she’s done so well considering all the stuff she’s had to deal with and her work completion rate is very high. It’s not always correct (she has my maths brain), but she’s trying. Best girl.

I got some work done eventually, but I went dressed for the crags. I’m no’ daft.

The sun was still there, way over there actually and the rain swept in just as I got onto the edge of the crags. It was very windy too, definitely shell jacket and hood time. It was just magic.

I had another old jacket on and I was very comfy, I remember saying years ago that Gore Tex Paclite was fine, folk were just using it wrong. It’s true, with brand new Polartec 100 weight fleece under it and a couple of hours of constant sweat, it was fine, excellent in fact. The rain was intermittent so the jacket never wet out completely which I know would have accelerated the condensation build up inside, but still, happy.

I tried some timer and tripod photies, although most of the shots in this post are from my phone. I used to be so quick setting up for doing shots as I was doing them all the time for on here or for my actual outdoor work stuff back in the day, now it was a faff with unfamiliar buttons and gangly tripod legs.
Most photies have me looking directly into the lens to see if the timer’s gone off. Jeezo. I’ll get there again.

It was lovely light though, the cloud was broken and fast moving and I did get to see some glorious blue between the showers. The land just glows when the low winter sun hits it and the horizon is snow streaked and familiar but unreachable peaks. Beautiful to see as always but it wasn’t tugging at me today, I was happy enough with the buffeting from the weather and playing with the camera. It was quiet too, hardly saw a soul, I hate to say it given my propensity for random banter with strangers, but I think I enjoyed today’s mini adventure even more because of the solitude.

I’ll need to watch that.

I nipped into see the cup marked stone and check on the other possibles nearby. One is now buried under moss and the favourite one with the dice style five indentations is also looking very mossy. That’s good, nature will protect them better than we can

A march downhill and home to warmth and dinner and dealing with being caked in red mud. I love being out but I love being back home more, glad that’s not changed.

*the giants step reference is about the ascent route, the steep and quite craggy feeling giants staircase. I’ll take you sometime.

 

Gothika

Either solo or team, most nights are having a good walk with distance and urgency part of the agenda. Well, until it looks rather nice and we stop and get our phones out.
The nearly incessant rain hasn’t been a deterrent, it just means more jackets than ususal are hanging up and drying. It is giving some wonderful light though.
The old railway is mostly in a deep cut lined with tall mature trees, the A82 lights are high on one side and the village is low on the other so at night it really does feel a little like you’re adrift from the rest of the world.

The phone does its best to capture the darkness through shaky hands and repeated screen fumbling and I really like what it comes up with: atmospheric poor quality shots.

When we get back sometimes we find we’ve been out for a couple of hours which is brilliant, it’s hours not spent in front of Netflix. Oh, the new Snowpiercer episode came out last night. Dammit.

It’s a blur of muted tones in a blur of hard to measure time in this endless lockdown limbo state. It really is things like this that are saving the day, time spent not wasted. It’s been too easy to swing the wrong way on that equation but hard not to, and there’s no judging for that for any of us.

But just think, a year ago if we’d shut the borders, strictly adhered to social distancing and not let the stoopids run free would we be where we are now or would we be looking back at recent memories of the best winter for years spent playing in Highland snow with ice axes and the ones we love?

I’m directing blame quite precisely and I think I might have grown a little vein of bitterness to carry forward because of it. I’ve never fueled up on negative energy but you could also say that if you don’t ever get angry you don’t care enough. I do care, and I’m angry. I always have been. But joy motivates me more, it always has done.

There will be no closure for any of us after this has died down, because it will not ever be over, I think we just have to make our peace with the effects on our own lives and those close to us.
That’s going to be the hard part, right now we’re holding on, once we can relax our grip and have time to think, really think. That’s going to be a lot to work through.

Anger and joy, the cocktail of tomorrow.

Border Crossing

I never though Argyle and Bute would feel like a foreign land. With documents and accurate accent in place I headed into the unfamiliar on a solo mission of extreme urgency.
Church heating needed my attention.

It was a glorious day and a joy to be out. The previous perfect white blanket of snow on the hills is now streaks after the thaw but Ben Lomond still looks very fine, and oh so very close to where I was driving.

The church is familiar to me and my toolbox, most of them are around here, and I always try to do maintenance visits in Spring and Autumn because it’s the loveliest graveyard I’ve ever seen.

Colour bursts from the ground (thank you to those pushing it up from below) in Spring and rains down from the trees at the tail of the year, but this year it’s a veritable explosion and a very early one too that I found when I pulled off the road onto the gravel with crocus’ and snowdrops flooding the grass from stone to stone.

The currently rare sunshine has other delights that I was glad too see when I got inside, even my wee pal up the back was getting some warmth on her cheeks.

I was very happy indeed to be at my work and overjoyed to be out and about. It’s such a lovely world waiting for us.

Sigg Saltire 0.6L Bottle Review

Is this the most pointless review I’ve ever done due to the general familiarity with the object? Actually no, there was some relearning done with this gallus wee thing.

I left Sigg behind years ago because they were initially slow to address the public concerns regarding BPA and the like and the wholesale industry change to safer plastics used in our drinks containers.
This is why you see a lot of Tritan and “BPA free” and stainless steel around although this has actually quickly become just another lifestyle spending opportunity with no thought given to health or sustainability. I mean one bottle really could do you for life but it’s all about new colours to match your latest gym outfit.
I also liked the wide mouthed bottles I was reviewing, still do, easy to fill from burns, pack with snow etc and the Siggs went to the back of the cupboard. But…

Fast forward from then or rewind from here and I was handed this 600ml Sigg a year ago. Sigg has long since addressed the lining in their bottles and they’re as safe as any other current alternative and I was happy to fill it up and take it out to play.

It’s joyfully light at 104g of aluminium body and plastic cap and a good size in the hand. The narrow opening is actually a joy to drink from, there’s less spills when I take a quick slug on the move, how did I not spot that before? Aw man.
The cap has that finger loop which is easier to grab that the looped caps on the wider mouthed bottles because there’s just less plastic (oh wait, that’s a good thing in general isn’t it?) and even a lightly gloved finger is whisking the Sigg from a pack pocket easy peasy.

The finish is excellent and hard wearing with barely a mark on it after a lot of use. The white cap is taking a bit of dye from my constant Robinsons diluting juice filling but both it and the bottle are resisting the scent of orange and lemon despite my near daily attempts to permanently tarnish them.

It’s been a wee bit of a revelation how different using a again Sigg has been and this 600ml is my go to bottle now.
Of course, this special edition design might have opened the door for me but the simple practicality of the thing has kept it wedged open.

Highly recommended to try out for lapsed Sigg users like me, the 600ml size is much easier to manage for on the move use than the classic now monster looking 1liter and it weighs practically nothing.

The saltire design is a special edition available from retailers up around my part of the world.

Sgurr na Cladach

In summer, beating the first rays without being in a tent at height is a thankless task with tired eyes behind the steering wheel and joyless miles before setting foot on the ground that had drawn you so far.
Better to see the low sun warm the slopes across the glen with a fresh cuppa sitting on a cool rock or a dry patch of grass if you’re lucky with a rainless night. The slopes are thrown into relief in a different and more subtle way than under snow, but it’s no less grand.
Dawn gold slides into fresh green as the new day’s warmth reaches your face and evaporates any thoughts of another wee kip before setting off on day two of a leisurely and most likely unnecessary mini adventure. But what hill isn’t worth two days of your time, one is never enough.

The pack is lighter with food eaten and water drank and it sits easy on shoulders that are soon damp under the straps as the sun climbs towards a warm noon.
A bead of sweat escapes my hat’s soaked brim, day two was warm and the ascent was maybe more than I was expecting. It was longer certainly and my pace was slow as much to subconsciously stretch the day out than the usual tired legs and burst lungs.
Slowing down your steps means that the end of the day is yours too, long after the day trippers are back on the road I’ll be watching the sun slipping away again. Just enough left to drink to get me smiling before I get downhill to a burn to fill a bottle, just enough snacks will be found after a rucksack rummage to keep the rumbling at bay until I get close to home.

Close your eyes, you can feel it too can’t you.

Berghaus Arkos Reflect Down Jacket Review

The Berghaus Arkos Reflect Down Jacket has been in my pack and in the motor ready to be pulled on the for the past few months. I’ve been swapping around with some favourites to try and get a feel for it too, insulation is very hard to get consistent feedback from, there’s so many personal and environmental variable. But, use something enough and you reach for it without thinking when you’re packing to go, so am I reaching for it?

The Arkos has a lot going on but luckily you can’t really see any of it so I haven’t been distracted by any thoughts of inner tech. But it is useful to know, so…
We have a mostly down jacket with 700 fill of water resistant ethical duck down around the torso and upper arms with synthetic Hydroloft in the hood, the lower arms and around the tail. All good choices for the synthetic, it’s where gets wet.
There’s no sense of zoning here in general feel, the Arkos feels like a single jacket. The Hydroloft is soft and compressible, I had to check carefully with the jacket inside out to see what the extent of the zones was.

The lovely shiny red fabric hides another bit of fanciness, the reflect technology (which I will come back to later on another Berghaus test jacket, we are far from done with this) which is an inner mesh which is meant to trap and er, reflect the heat back onto the wearer. The principle of this sound and it’s a concept that’s been implemented by various outdoor brands as well as across many other apploications. Does it work? I have no idea, at 720g for a size large the Arkos feels warm, and quickly warm which I would expect from what is a proper mountain down jacket. So is the reflect picking up some slack from using the duck down fill rather than goose down which is traditionally lighter and warmer? I have no idea, it’s warm and light, that’s all I can say. Warm enough where I’d be happy on any winter overnighter with the Arkos in my pack.

That same shiny red fabric shed water pretty well, I’ve been in rain and sleet a few times and it does give in eventually but I’ve only had it wet out once. In fact it got so bad that the arms were soaked, although the body stood up well. it dries fast though, the down fill too, I had the arms like a mushy pulp they were so wet and they came back like new to full loft very fast. Hydrodown or my big cast iron hall radiator? Again, no idea, it works that’s all I need to know.

The black fabric is there too, it’s not shiny but it’s resisting the damp just nice. I think it’s main job is to make the red look shinier, so I’m good with it.

Features are all sensible and as you’d want probably. Fixed adjustable hood, two chest pockets, inner pocket (all zipped), adjustable hem and zip pulls you can find with gloves on.
The chest pockets are brilliant, set a little lower than some they’re clear of a hipbelt but not too high either. They’re fleece lined and the pocket bags are behind the insulation, they are born to warm my hands.

The cut is slim, I could probably get away with a size up for over multiple layers but over base and 100 weight fleece it’s more relaxed. The body is nice and long too with decent arse coverage. This is where the synthetic insulation strip at the back comes in, sit down in the snow all you want, your down won’t get wet.
The arm movement is exceptional with complete freedom to swing my arms up and around without the hem moving. Berghaus managed this on a down jacket and I have base layers that can’t do the same.

The chunky main zip has a lovely baffle arrangement that I’ve seen on sleeping bags but not a jacket. AS you pull the zip up insulated tubes on either side are pressed together to seal the zip. It’s a brillaint we touch and works well with not one snagging incident so far.
The top of the zip is covered inside by this baffle too so no beard plucking and there’s fleecy patches for cozy face time fun when your all battened down.

The hood is a good size, not sure if it’s helmet sized, I don’t have one anymore, with good face coverage and a stiffened skip to keep the snow off my glasses.
The adjustment come from a double bungee drawcord at the back which is easy to use, even with gloves.
The trouble is what this does though. The drawcord channel runs from the back of my head to around my ear, so when you pull the cords in as well as reducing the hood volume for a better fit it also raises it upwards. On a bare head this can leave a gap above my forehead for the wind to get in and I have had the hood pulled off my head in strong winds.
With a beanie on, this effect is much improved, with a midlayer or shell hood on too the situation is largely resolved and even in staggering winds, the hood will stay put.
It needs a look at I think, it’s quite literally the only niggle I found.

The Arkos is a great jacket. It’s warm, compressible and light and it looks neat too. The arm movement is amazing, it’s a proper activist jacket this, not a town cruiser.
The hood I’ve learned to work around, I like the jacket to much to spit the dummy out just for that.
Sensible use of fabrics and fill for our damp climate, thoughtfully positioned pockets and little touches like the zip baffle that come from experience of use rather than aesthethic considerations.

Nice bit of kit, Berghaus always surprise me.

More soon.

Sugar Ring and The Jam

We had a wee window of opportunity and it was early enough that the stupids would not be present in great numbers, we packed and ran.

We know this place well, as a couple as well as on our own separate adventures but we’ve not had good winter days here together, I think we knew this was going to make up for that as we rushed the two minute drive there.

The views were simply spectacular. The hills pure white with cloud cast shadows flowing over them throwing their contours into focus but also showing just how windy it was going to get a little higher up.

Ben Lomond just looked epic. I’ve rarely seen it look so, yes I’m going to say it without a hint of irony, Majestic.

We had spikes on early, the turf was frozen and the snow was thin over ice and every step was a pleasing rip of teeth digging in.
We talked options, I’d taken the gully a couple of days earlier, but Linda was keen on the view from the crag edge, so we’d go that way.

Conditions had changed a lot since then and the snow had been blown or melted away except for the top where a cornice of sorts had fallen down and made it all feel rather mountainy. Linda took a moment or to think this through, because believe me, it is steep. But the cursing soon gave way to giggling once she was up and over .

A few mountain bikers appeared from the east. Shouting and whooping away, they were having a blast. They stopped at the lip of the crags for photies and swapped stories of the trail to this point and the way ahead.
Good effort in these conditions, I haven’t ridden on snow in years, don’t think I’d have the balls for this stuff now. I’d just think of the recovery time from any crashes.
That’s not getting old, it’s being pragmatic.

We slipped away the way they came through the coldest wind I’ve felt in a long, long time, even at just over 1000ft. I had my big insulated winter gloves on and my hands were still frozen by the time we crossed the Black Linn reservoir to find some glorious sunlit and windless shelter for lunch.

Home made pieces and a flask in the sun without a whisper of wind reaching us. It was just perfect.
I like being part of a team, I’ve spent so much time out here on my own and now I have banter and laughter and it makes the day better. Aye.

It’s going to be interesting when lockdown is behind us and I can head for the far away peaks with a tent. A lot has changed for me in the past few years, I’ve either been in the hills with a pal or exploring with Linda or Holly, or both.
I think the lone mountain man is still there outside somewhere, but I don’t if he’s very high on the guest list for getting in.

It’s not a big climb from the Black Linn, it’s swing across an undulation the moor, or should I say arctic tundra today, before it rounds a little in outline to swell into the little rocky outcrop that is Donut Hill’s top.

The view though is just, I don’t know, what would the thesaurus say? All the words that go with awesome.
Hitting this top with it’s tiny wee crags and familiar trig point is like going into your local pub and finding 70s Black Sabbath playing up the back. It’s a “No way, this can’t be right” moment. It’s that much of a surprise and that big a reward.

The photie below does kinda show it, it just doesn’t show it big enough. I’m typing this on my laptop (hang in there old boy, you can make it, another few months if you can…) and I can see it big on the screen and it makes me all giddy and happy, but I know on my phone it won’t be the same. Damn you modern life.

But still. Happy, happy, happy.

His and hers?