Tuesday 24 March 2015


There's a variety of aspects about hillwalking that I enjoy, some perhaps less obvious than others.

As a f'rinstance, I'm not one for leaving the packing to the last minute, thus scurrying around feverishly on a Saturday morning, hunting gloves estranged from their partners. I like the leisurely Friday evening approach - check the weather forecast; work out the layering system combinations to suit; print off a map of the specific area in question; trim it as far as safe navigation considerations allow; laminate it - aye, you read that right, I have a laminating machine - and pretty much get the entire rucksack sorted and ready to roll, with the exception of the sandwiches. They need to be freshly made first thing. Also, it's not a time consuming part of the operation, because even I can rustle up two brown rolls with salmon spread in less time than it takes to say "unadventurous".

I like the earlier-than-usual-rise beforehand. I'm generally up every morning at the back of six to take the dugs for their daily constitutional, but despite the organised approach described above, it still takes me about an hour & a half to get up and out the door. That's partly an age thing of course. Still, when the alarm goes off anytime before 5am, it's a sign that (a) it's a weekend and (b) it's one that hasn't been totally sacrificed in the pursuit of alcohol consumption. Which is encouraging. At that time in the morning there's even some gratification in loading up the car as quietly as possible (save for the baying of excited dogs in the background) to avoid rousing the sleeping neighbours - who are missing a valuable part of the day off work.

So. Advance rucksack packing - sad. Pleasure from silent car loading - sadder. Any advance on that? Well, yes. I realised last Saturday how much I enjoy Blairgowrie Tesco bright and early in the morning when you're en route to somewhere that isn't your work. Top up the isotonic juice supply, get a family pack of crisps for the last stage of the outward journey, and buy the dog some sort of chewy treat for behaving in the back of the car. It's all part of the experience, and these days if I want to savour a brief visit to a supermarket, then that's whit I'll do.

On a slightly more predictable note, I also very much enjoy high level stravaigs over sinuous rocky plateaux with fantastic views of the Cairngorms, all the while bathing in Scottish March sunshine. The route we took up An Socach had that in spades, as well as a long, flattish walk-in, a gentle ascent over interesting terrain (even including some entertaining snow slopes) sufficient wildlife to keep the Wee Black Dug on her toes, and a glorious feeling of remoteness up top.

We've had a number of good days out in the hills around Glenshee. This was right up there. The whole experience, like the landscape, just...flowed.

The Baddock Burn flows as well. Bloody cauld though, , apparently!

1 comment:

  1. You're fairly getting oot and aboot quite often these days. I'm only a wee bit jealous :-)