May I?


I don’t work too many weekends or late nights these days, but both have been forced upon me by circumstances outwith my control, but well within others, making the whole thing avoidable. Other folks’ mistakes, sloppiness and corner cutting always feel personal somehow.
Besides our own electrical problems in the old church we’re working in, the previous heating engineers had hidden an open ended pipe behind the old lath and plaster wall, meaning that every time I pressurised the upgraded system, water could be heard jetting off “somewhere”. A lengthy process of elimination was satisfyingly resolved when I finally lost patience and launched a steel toe though the wall to find the pipe in question right there in front of me. Capped, sorted.
But, some of that teeth-clenching frustration was offset by Jimmy and I having a Chinese takeaway in the church late last night, which was kinda fun, and then turning up today to find that the heating was running okay and there was a jumble sale on with cuppas and cakes in abundance. So the place was warm for the wedding, I got fed, and everyone was happy.

But, I was supposed to be oot doing stuff this weekend, in fact, I should have been doing other stuff the past two days. I’ll revist that in a few weeks I hope, a wee trip to see outdoor gear getting made in the UK, imagine that?! 
Right now though, I should be settling into a cave for the night and rediscovering the “joys” of a bivy bag. That might have to be midweek now I think, I’m going to see KISS next weekend. Well, two of KISS and two real musicians in makeup picking up the slack if we’re being honest.
I’ve got two other trips in May that are on my mind. One is to the Cairngorms, where I’ll be spending two or three days out and about. I’m really looking forward to that, I’ve hardly been over there the past few years. It’ll all feel new and exciting again.
Next is something that I’ll be making a bit of a fuss about (hush now), in three weeks I’ll be taking some of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park folk out wild camping in the park. The consultation on the Drymen to Rowardennan camping ban ends in just a few days, and whatever way it goes, we’ll be demonstrating that wild camping within the park is business as usual. I’ve got a fantastic route in mind, I’ll be supplying gear, we’ll be looking at where to pitch, how to make your stay low-impact and environmentally sound.
It’s an opportunity to publicly differentiate what we do to what the neds do, wild versus informal. Most importantly it’ll show that The Park is still encouraging wild camping.

Ooh, part two of Doctor Who is on soon…

25 thoughts on “May I?”

  1. I forget is this the 4th or 5th KISS farewell tour! Out with the face paint here too :o)

  2. I spent today with a group of Gold DofE kids and some brill MLs out in the hills. We had a cracking chat about National Parks and responsibility. The kids designed their own mini parks and talked us through them. Not one banned camping. It’s education about proper responsible wild camping that’s needed.

  3. Had a similar discussion down at innov_ex. The conclusion was that the folk that want to do it right will seek out the knowledge because they care and are interested. The neds that lay waste to our beautiful places don’t care, aren’t interested and will not be educated. It’s that difference in how you see the outdoors, an environment or a leisure venue.
    Rather than a camping ban I’d take these arseholes transport away so they can’t get any closer to Loch Lomond than they can walk from their local off license.

    Amazingly, with all the online bickering there’s been about the ban, when I last put up a reminder up less than two weeks back only 250 people had filled in the consultation form.

  4. work really can be quite vexing. i’ve got no spare time now apart from 4 days around the 20th of may until mid June..
    Mays my favourite month too. Bad planning on my behalf. ‘To the back of the class and hands on head Slope’.

  5. Aye, it’s traditionally a great month for the hills.
    It seems like it’s been all theory and no practise the past couple of weeks!

  6. Look on the bright side chaps, you could be a freelance web designer with hardly any work on and aeons of free time to mess around in the mountains. With the corresponding lack of funds that that entails…

    I know the Loch Lomond thing has been chewed over for months on and offline, but I just can’t see any way this is going to work out for the best. Seems like anything you do is going to hurt the good guys more than it hurts the bad guys. I don’t even think the byelaws would affect me that much, just seems like a dangerous precedent… you know: when they banned Loch Lomond wildcamping I said nothing because I never camped there, when they banned walking about in there I said nothing because I had a train ticket to Ft. William… eventually you’re going to end up having to hike up to the top of Ben Nevis to pitch.

    Maybe. That’s rather sensationalised, but it is a worry. Fortunately in this case the folk involved in the decision-making seem decent, intelligent, and with a genuine concern for the land AND the people that enjoy it. But not all local authorities are so blessed.

  7. I’m the same, always hoping the phone rings with someone needing work done. The stress and uncertainty are the price you pay for the freedom I suppose. Not worth it all the time.

    The ban? Time will tell how it plays out.
    I’ve camped by the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, and if/when the ban goes through I will again.

  8. Know the feeling all too well of when work gets in the way of play time on the hill or it knackers you so much you can’t play.

    We were commenting today how you’d have loved Slioch. Just you’re type of hill. We also spotted a younger double of you in the Kinkochewe Hotel, very unsettling when you don’t expect it

  9. Three observations:

    1. Think yourself lucky. Oor hoose went on the market last week. Just the three months of weekend and late night ‘work’ to get it in shape. A wild camping trip is certainly overdue.

    2. Dr Who – A bit of a ‘hmmmmmm’ about ‘the crack’ erasing every record and memory that a person ever lived. A bit close to an Alistair Reynolds idea, where the same thing happens to people involved in developing ‘faster than light’ propulsion technology.

    3. A good time of the year to do Slioch. The ferns on the walk in are not yet head high!

  10. Glad youse got there Blondie!
    A younger me? I knew one of them once…

    David, good luck with the sale, I hope you’re of to somewhere nice. And out in a tent!
    I reckon the crack thing is just a device for undoing all the daftness of the past few series :o)

  11. Count yourself lucky Pete, you’ve plenty of opportunity left. After 2 years with time but no cash, my rewards from 38 years employment arrived just in time for a splurge on PHD’s sale.
    My long-planned Aviemore-Fort William backpack was due to start on Tuesday, rail tickets bought, food dehydrated, sac packed. The arthritis (from an old climbing injury) kicked in for no apparent reason on Monday night & I’m stuck at home barely able to cross the lounge, never mind half of Scotland. Worse, I’m getting the odd text message from the guy who joined me at the last minute giving his progress on “my” walk. Where’s that whisky?

  12. Ah man, what a nightmare. I hope it eases off, maybe some single malt grease on the axle will do it right enough?

    I was at a meeting with a customer tonight and they asked…
    “What day next week can you do the job?”
    “That depends on what days the forecast is good for the Cairgorms…”

  13. Where abouts are you planning to head to in the Cairngorms then? Some of my best backpacks have seen me leave the van at the Linn of Dee and head off for a week at this time of year.

  14. Still not sure of the exact plan, it’ll probably be a big loop around the passes with some peaks on a middle day.
    It’s not all straight forward though, I’m taking the Radical Design “Wheelie” with me and basing a mag feature around whatever happens. I have a feeling I’ve made a perfectly straightforward trip into an overcomplicated personal assault course. Again.
    I’m really looking forward to it though, way too long since I was last up there.

  15. Sounds different! I’ll look forward to the write up and/or reports of the big yellow taxi being deployed to aid an ‘interestingly equipped’ individual.

    What ever happens though it it a great place to be overcomplicated…

  16. Lightweight Axminster – it would certainly beat the Gossamer Gear Polycro sheet that I currently use in the Lightwave.

    Anyway, I’ve just noticed your Twitter update so away and wade through the sea of red and cast that vote (throw that spitfire?).

  17. Come on you guys, have a heart! It’s bad enough missing my trip without having to read of your plans in the same area. Pete, if I’d known about that “Wheelie” I’d have borrowed it & been towed through.
    Whisky & anti-inflammatories do seem to be taking effect & I’m ignoring the doc’s suggestion that I maybe need to restrict myself to day walks. No wildcamp=no enjoyment!

  18. Wild camping is two or more day walks joined by extra harmless fun with tents in the middle, you wire in :o)

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