Sometimes I can’t seem to get on to a hill, other times it seems I’m never in. Last winter saw me pick up a chest infection which laid me low for 6 weeks, then the snow came to ensure I didn’t get out and about. I didn’t get on a big hill for over two months. Fate has been kinder recently, and in the last six weeks I’ve climbed 12 Munros, cycled from Airdrie to Tinto, and cycled from Dunbar to Prestonpans via Traprain Law. I shouldn’t complain, but… when will the wind die down?
I’ve also been busy off the hill. Having last week met with Alex Neil MSP about Blackhouse Bridge, on Monday I met with various members of North Lanarkshire Council, including Provost Tom Curley and Cllr David Fagan. They have been very supportive of the efforts to save Blackhouse Bridge, and I was very pleased when they decided to commission a team of engineers to examine the bridge with a view to renovating it. Being brought up near the bridge, both Provost Curley and Cllr Fagan have used the bridge themselves and are very keen to see it retained in it’s present state, which from a local heritage view is brilliant news. Local historian Dr Ann Glen has been tracing the history of the bridge and has found reference to it on old maps, dating it back to around 1850. I would hope that everyones efforts see it survive another 160 years, but at that the moment funding is the key, and it will take a great effort by the local communities to ensure that the bridge is saved.
I used to run regularly, until various injuries and niggles put a stop to it. I read some time back of the potential benefits of Glucosamine supplements and have been taking them for some time, with, as far as I can tell (and I’m no doctor) very good results. I have started running again and while my knee is still painful it’s manageable. Another thing that may be helping is that I’m trying to run off-road as much as possible. While sometimes (I say sometimes, I mean usually) wet, the path over the moor between Plains and Longriggend is good. A few days ago I ran from Plains, via Longriggend to Blackridge, taking in various rights of way, one of which, near Drumbow, had been blocked since I was last there, only a week before. On the plus side I found that a trailer blocking the right of way at Westfield was now gone. While en-route I met a man from RSPB Scotland who was carrying out a bird survey near Blackridge. In just a few hours he had filled two pages of his notebook with numerous species of birdlife, and was encouraged by what he had found. I told him how the highlight of my run was bird related, when running across the moor I spied a buzzard sitting on a small tree next to the track. It saw me and prepared to fly off, but held it’s position until I was around 15 feet away from it, before launching over me. It was an outstanding sight, and to get so close to a wild buzzard was amazing. How come they never sit like than when I have a camera handy?
While on the subject of birds, I had been told that there was an osprey in the area, and headed off to where I had been told it had been sighted. Two hours tramping around saw no sign of any osprey, athough I did see some Canada Geese with young, and a heron. I got in the car and headed home, and noticed as I drove a large bird of prey being mobbed by crows. Pulling over to the roadside I saw it break off from the crows and land on a fence post, where it helpfully sat for around twenty minutes, allowing me to get close enough to get a photo of it. My Nikon camera with the 26X zoom had developed a fault (or three) and was back with Nikon for repairs, so I was a bit annoyed that I missed out on some good shots of a rarity to these parts. I used my 10X zoom Fuji camera instead, and while the osprey was a good distance away I still managed to get some reasonable shots.