Culra Bothy Closed

I’ve only just heard the terrible news that Culra Bothy has been closed with immediate effect: http://www.mountainbothies.org.uk/news-general-item.asp?item_id=561

Culra is a fantastic place which is on of my all time favourite bothies, a real home from home. I was hoping to be visiting there soon as I’m leading a walk there in May with Glasgow HF Outdoor Club. Hopefully a solution can be found which doesn’t involve the complete demolition of this iconic bothy.

Lancet Edge and Culra Bothy

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Rambling again…

It’s been some time since I posted on here. It’s hard to write about your hillwalking and outdoors experiences when you aren’t actually doing anything.

On 1st January I managed to climb a small hill overlooking Killin and Loch Tay, and on 6th January I joined a few other members of Glasgow HF Outdoor Club on a snowy and wind battered Tinto to blow away the New Year cobwebs. Coming back down the hill I began to develop a pain in my left knee. As some of you who have read a few of my reports may be aware, this isn’t the first time I’ve had knee pain on the hills, but to experience it after only a short walk was worrying. It became even more concerning when it lingered, and lingered…

A visit to the doctors revealed nothing, so off I went to have the knee x-rayed. Frustratingly nothing was found. Having suffered a bad back for years which physiotherapy done wonders for, I contacted the NHS to be referred for physio. I had to wait a few weeks, but after only 5 minutes of my first visit I was diagnosed with Patellofemoral joint disfunction.

I’ve been given a series of stretching exercises, and things are slowly improving. I’ve now managed a few short walks and some light running. This winter has been a write off, but I’m hopeful that things are looking up, and I have my first big test this Thursday when I lead a walk for Glasgow HF Outdoor Club on the Airdrie 5 Lochs Trail. If all goes well I’ll be over the moon.

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The Sunlit Summit- Robin Lloyd Jones

I first became aware of WH “Bill” Murray around about the time of the release of his final book, The Evidence Of Things Not Seen, where he looked back over some of the stand out points in his life. Completed after his death, it covered his introduction to climbing, his capture by the Germans and his life changing time as a prisoner of war in WW2, and his expeditions to the Himalaya in the post war years. I often find that it can be worthwhile looking at things from another perspective, and The Sunlit Summit by Robin Lloyd Jones does that admirably.

Full review here:

The Sunlit Summit- Robin Lloyd Jones.

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Happy Christmas

DSCN1381

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Rannoch Station to Kingshouse Hotel

Perhaps, even without a beard, I now look like the conventional outdoors type, as on a recent trip I was approached by a stranger asking if I knew the Rannoch area and could I recommend any short walks there.

could, and I did…

Read the full trip report here: Rannoch Station to Kingshouse.

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Petty and ill-informed?

BBC Radio Scotland’s “Off The Ball” regularly advertise themselves as the “most petty and ill informed show on the radio”. I think perhaps they should be forced to stop using it. Why? I’ve heard BBC Radio’s  Call Kaye…

For the umpteenth time this year, cycling has been the topic of discussion. This time the focus was on dangerous cyclists, of which there are many. There are also dangerous drivers, and pedestrians, but as Lothian & Borders Police are about to launch a crackdown on dangerous cyclists, it’s a fair point for discussion. As a driver/pedestrian/cyclist I am well aware of the differences between the different modes of transport, obviously some people aren’t. Regular listeners of the show should be aware of some, as it’s been discussed often enough.

The stated mission of the BBC is to inform, educate and entertain. Giving airtime to listeners to put forward uncorrected opinion as fact may be entertaining, but it is neither educational or informative. Having already clarified in previous discussions that many of the facts which are bandied about are anything but factual, shouldn’t they be able to move the debate on, instead of rehashing the same old prejudices?

(c) ipayroadtax.com

Hoary Old Chestnut No1: Cyclists don’t pay road tax.

Considering “road tax” or the old road fund licence was done away with in 1937, no one pays road tax. Car owners pay Vehicle Excise Duty, based on the amount of emissions given out by their vehicle. Smart car owners with zero emissions would fall into the same category as a bicycle. No tax disc required. Disabled drivers, ambulances, classic cars, the list goes on. If you buy things which have VAT on, or if you pay income tax, you pay for the roads we all use. We ALL pay for the roads.

Hoary Old Chestnut No2: Cyclists aren’t allowed to cycle on the pavement.

The highway code is explicit. You MUST not cycle on a pavement. An easy one that. Except that a pavement and a footpath are two different things, and people confuse footpaths with pavements. When fixed penalty notices for pavement cycling were introduced in England & Wales in 1999 the then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng MP had to issue clarification on the subject:

“The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of the traffic, and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. This is not a clamp down on responsible cycling, and I know the police service too do not see it in that way.” (Paul Boateng MP, Home Office to Ben Bradshaw MP, 9/7/1999).

This would suggest that cyclists who cycle responsibly on a pavement should not be prosecuted.

There are loads more, but the two above seem to be the main ones which come up time after time. One of the other points which came up in the programme was that cyclists were riding “2, 3 or 4 abreast” on country roads. 3 0r 4 is unacceptable, but cycling two abreast is. Similarly one drivers view that cyclists should cycle as close to the kerb as possible goes against techniques promoted in the DFT recommended Cyclecraft scheme, which advises on taking a Primary position when cycling on the road.

The BBC have been under the spotlight in recent times. Long seen around the world as trustworthy and reliable, closer examination reveals this is less than accurate. Metro TV criticKeith Watson described a recent programme about the cold war as “bias buffed up as fact” and that is all too often the case. Opinion isn’t fact. Simply stoking up the flames of argument educates and informs no one.

This week saw another cycling death in London, the 5th in 9 days. In Edinburgh earlier this week a man was badly injured when he collided with a rope tied across a cyclepath in the south of the city. That the BBC are stoking this argument, rather than educating people is just not on. It’s time that the telephone line to Call Kaye was cut off, and that the BBC started producing the factual content it is supposed to, not a cheap on air argument on the same level as the Jeremy Kyle show.

You can listen to the show for a limited time here. If you must.  Don’t blame me if your blood boils…

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Ramble On- Sinclair McKay

Ramble On tells the story of outdoor access (specifically walking) through a series of journeys, through not only the landscape of the British Isles, but through literature and popular culture. The works of Wordsworth and Keats sit side by side with the “Carry-On” films, assisting the author to expand on a wide variety of subjects, all tied up under the umbrella of walking. From why we walk, to where we walk, to what we wear to walk, all covered with a fresh and at times witty eye. The layout of the book is such that it would translate well to television, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it pop up there at some point. 

Full review here: Ramble On- Sinclair McKay.

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