For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Monday, 30 August 2010

From Brora (Scotland-east coast)

On Friday I moved from Ardmair to Brora on the east coast. The drive took me past  Oykle Bridge Hotel where I had taken refreshment on my Land's End John o' Groats walk, so I stopped and had a nostalgic sandwich and pot of tea.
Yesterday (Saturday) I walked from the Caravan Club site over a moorland path to Loch Brora and then completed the circuit of the loch following a track on the southern shore. I plotted the route on Memory Map which gave a total of 18 miles and I had taken 6 hours and 20 mins. which gives an average speed of approximately 2.9 mph. I stopped once for about 15 mins. to nibble and drink coffee so my walking speed must have been over 3 mph.
Today (Sunday) I walked into Brora on the beach and then back over the links golf course taking half an hour each way. I am heading for home tomorrow
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Thursday, 26 August 2010

From Ardmair

Yesterday morning sun was shining at Ardair. At the starting point for Quinag it was raining and the cloud was down. Relying on a favourable forecast I set off following the path up Allt na Bradhan and then up to the summit of Sail Garbh which is the highest part of the Quinag complex. As I hit the summit there was a full clearance and I had wonderful views. I returned to Bealach a Chornaidh and then ascended Spidean Coinich, but the weather closed in again.

Having done all the Munros and having attained the age of seventy I can look back on many fine days in Scotland. Today must count in the top ten. I traversed the whole of the Ben Mor Coigach ridge starting from Culnacraig. It has been glorious sunshine with high puffy white cumulous well above the tops. The peaks were: Garbh Choireachan, Ben Mor Coigach, Beinn Tarsuinn, Sgurr an Fidhier, and Cairn Conmheal. The views were stunning, but most of all I felt really fit which meant that I could fully appreciate the whole experience. This was only a five hour round, but fairly demanding with no feeling of fatigue right to the end . This has been a day of pure enjoyment.

Ben Tarsuinn





View from Ben Tarsuinn


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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

From Ardmair

Yesterday I went for a walk on The Postman's Path. The walk started at Blughasary NC 136 021 near Strathcanaird. The path is supposed to be one taken by a postman twice a week to get to Achtilibuie for 2s 3d per trip. The path follows the coast line but very much up and own across the cliffs and has a real mountaineering feel. I followed this to Geodha Mor and then turned inland to follow the stream that skirts the south eastern flanks of Coigach to arrive at Loch Easar dha Bheinn and then by track back to my starting point. From the coast inland my route was pathless over rugged terrain. The whole route was about 9 miles and took 4hrs 45mins. I met one other couple coming the other way.

Today I went for Stac Polaidh. The ridge is a series of rock pinnacles and the last of these guarding the summit pinnacle has a rock climbing move which is not graded. I looked at this and then watched some agile youths scale it, but not without some difficulty. I reckon the hard move was v. Diff verging on severe and I jibbed at it. I seem to have totally lost all appetite for rock climbing, especially if not protected. Perhaps ex rock climbers are wise people? although I used to second with very few problems at HVS until about six years ago I think I always had too good an imagination to be an enthusiastic leader.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Awoke to rain, and cloud at sea level, and had no motivation to go on the hill. By 10:30 am I was stir crazy so set off for Canisp; the rain had all but stopped.
I started walking at 11:30 am - I don't remember setting off so late before on a decent sized hill. The SMC guide gives 2:30hrs for the ascent, and I was mighty pleased to do it in 2:00 hrs. I had walked in a fine drizzle and had no view from the top.
The round trip took 4:40hrs. I am now back at Ardmair and cloud is still at sea level.
I am into the second of a thriller trilogy called The Girl Who Played with Fire by a Swedish author - Stieg Larsson and I highly recommend if anybody is interested.
Here is a pic of the shelter on the top of Canisp just to prove I was there.



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Saturday, 21 August 2010

From Ardair - north west Scotland

Yesterday was a fine morning but very windy. I climbed Cul Beag. There were fine views of Stac Polaidh until I got into cloud. There were two brief clearances on the summit giving wonderful combination seascape and mountain views. I got caught in the rain on the way down. My circuit brought me to two kilometers from my car on the road and within ten minutes I was offered a lift which I accepted.
Last night the wind really got up. The caravan was moving violently and I genuinely feared it would go over. This persisted right through the night and I hardly slept.
This morning I saw the caravan next to
me had his awning totally destroyed. The site owner has a weather station and had recorded gusts of 62 mph. The wind has persisted today. I have ascended a small hill from the site but it would have been folly to attempt anything more serious. Wind allowing I may do Canisp tomorrow.

Stac Polaidh


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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Scotland again, at last

From Ardmair Caravan Site - Scotland

I arrived here yesterday (Wed18thAug).

Ardmair is on the far north west coast of Scotland about 4 miles north of Ullapool.

The site is on the sea and my caravan is thirty yards from the water. Last night there was a wonderful sunset looking out to The Summer Isles.
Today I climbed Cul Mor 849m. Time to the summit was 2hrs 40mins.
A young couple who had all the appearance of being serious walkers set off before me and had about eight minutes lead and within fifteen minutes I passed them. I do seem to be walking  quicker than I have done for some time.
The views of Suilven, Canisp, Stac Polaidh and many others were superb.
At the start on the road is a small notice board advertising The Elphin Tea Rooms and that's where I ended up with tea and scone.
Midges are a bit of a nuisance but it's good to be back in Scotland.

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Saturday, 14 August 2010

A bit of introspection


The file of the Norfolk/Lakes Walk book is now uploaded to Lulu for publication. Parallels Support sent an email detailing fairly complicated procedures which resurrected Windows and all my data. 
I have nearly finished reading A Spirit of Adventure by Colin Mortlock. Colin was a  climber and president of Oxford University Mountaineering Club and later undertook epic kayak sea journeys. He had a career in youth adventure training and seventeen years as a director at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside. Colin has published two books outlining his well respected and influential theories on youth adventure training
A Spirit of Adventure is an introspective study defining decent human qualities and an ethical and moral way of life. I have found reading philosophy and ethics difficult, partly because the complexity of the subject demands creation of an invented technical language, and, arguably, some of the concepts may be impossible to put into words. Colin is not an academic in these subjects and he writes largely from his own experiences and thoughts with welcome clarity.
My last post referred to my technology struggles. Colin analyses desirable virtues including determination, persistence, and self discipline, providing of course they are directed towards good and not evil. He alludes to positivity and making the most of the large amounts of untapped potential that most of us are unaware of having - such personal development makes a positive contribution to the human condition whereas the opposites lead to its degradation, atrophy and decay.
I recognise that my bouts with technology demonstrate my qualities of determination and persistence, motivated, I think, by a desire to retain my own self esteem, and a dread of seeing myself as a quitter, but could this also be a form of egoism ? I hope I shall continue to search for my huge untapped potential.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Priorities

My Lowestoft/St Bees Head walk is renamed Norfolk/Patterdale after I aborted on 9th July.
Since then hours have passed on the computer integrating the journal and photos. 
The cut on my shin has not fully healed.  Apart from short walks with Jill’s dog Jake I am grounded.
Some months ago I converted to Apple but installed Parallels to run a virtual Windows machine on the Mac. To produce a book through Lulu’s website the ms has to be in Microsoft Word. Almost at completion Word crashed, perhaps because I had too big a file - the photos were integrated with the text.
I still had text and photos and started again, adding photos after the text for each day. Today Windows crashed. I  get the screen saying “Windows is closing down” and cannot proceed.  I am now awaiting a reply from  Parallels help team.
Yesterday my iPhone stopped receiving signal and has been sent back.
In some ways I am proud that, at my age, I have dragged myself into the world of tech, but sometimes I wonder how much more I can take. At the moment I feel philosophical about the current problem, and do not see it as a threat to my wellbeing. What is more important is healing of the leg,  and visiting Scotland before BST ends so I can listen to stags from on high rutting in the glens below.