Saturday 22 December 2012


Just been catching up on stuff I've missed over the last few weeks and this post here struck a chord. I'm the worlds' worst for keeping track of hills I've been up and am very much the "anti list-ticker". More and more often I find myself reading about other folks' trips and thinking, "That looks familiar." but I'm no longer 100% sure of where I've been and when.

As I watch my mothers' memories being wiped out, I wish that I'd been more anal about the whole thing; kept a log book, properly cataloged photies and such-like. Still, never too late to start, eh? Time to find a pen and dig out the (unmarked) Harveys Munro and Corbett chart.


That, btw, is just one of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of photies that my maw has taken over the years. I know that's her in the picture but where it was taken and when is anybodys' guess. That knowledge is gone, along with almost every other memory she'd built up in her 70+ years.

Fuck you, Alzheimers.

Fuck. You.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Here comes the summer

Summer in Scotland. It's a bit shite, really. And totally rubbish when it comes to walking up hills and such-like. It's either too hot, too wet or somewhere in between. And then there's the midgies. And the ticks.Thinking back, I never did very much between May and September.

So, fuck it. I'm staying local for the time being. Any spare time will be spent up at the allotment, growing stuff. It's a much more productive use of our time. Literally. The tatties and some of the salad stuff have been going down a treat. And the sense of satisfaction is easily on a par with gettin' tae the top of a hill and a day of digging is just as knackering :(

I like it so this'll be me until September.

The Man Cave

There's been some talk of doing the Fife Coastal Path in a "section-hike" style, once the weather settles a bit, which'll be good. And I'll be heading back to the Cairngorms for a visit that's long overdue.

I'm trimming down the gear pile in the meantime, selling off tents'n'packs'n'stuff and getting it all back to some semblance of order. Only thing I actually intend buying is another of Sean's custom inners for the Hex; something lighter than the original Oooknest and with a bit more mesh.

So aye, best get on. The weeding'll no' do itsel' :o)

Saturday 23 June 2012

A Big Yellow Vest

Bananas. Natures' energy bar. Every walk begins with a banana and a shot of strong coffee, usually taken in the car or mooching around wherever I've happened to park. I've tried carrying the fruity wonder up hills in a variety of containers but that just feels like wasted space and failure to put it in any kind of container is just asking for trouble. The BananaGuard was never an option btw. Carrying something shaped like a big plastic cock just doesn't appeal.

By far the best solution that I've found is to turn the fruit into cake. The recipe below was shamelessly nicked from Andi Peters, former childrens' TV presenter and a bit of a whizz in the kitchen. All credit goes to him, beautiful man that he is :o)


To serve
  • peanut butter
  • whipped cream 


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 (160C/gas 3 for fan-forced ovens). Grease a 1kg-capacity loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment.

2. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale in colour.

3. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add the bananas to this mixture.

5. Sift the dry ingredients together with a pinch of salt and then fold gently into the banana mixture. (It is important to fold the dry ingredients in gently until just incorporated, rather than simply stirring.)

6. Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer placed in the middle of the cake comes out clean and dry.

7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. (Resist cutting it for 30 minutes or it might crumble.)
It'll keep for a few days but I've found that it rarely makes it past day 2 :o)
Comes out looking a bit like this:
Goes down a bit like this:
 JC Seal of Approval
Spread a bit of peanut butter on for some extra calories. And in case you're wondering, the title of this piece comes via The Singing Kettle and their cover of Bananas are the Best.
Bananas, bananas, bananas are the best
A soft squidgey middle in a big yella vest
Today or manyana, ah'll be sayin ‘Can ah,
Can ah have a ba-na-na?’

As hiking songs go, there are worse.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Horses Mares Tail

A long weekend in Lochaber saw us in a variety of picturesque places and at least two well-known eateries, surrounded by mountains and lochans and stuff. Of course, the weather helped; 19C or thereabouts and just a tad unseasonal, given that we're still in March. Still, as I always say, Scotland in the sunshine is a sight to behold.

Speaking of which; Me? In outdoors gear? Ootside a pub? In one of the most famous mountain locations in the Universe? Too much sun, that's what it was :o)

 Obviously Photoshopped. It's the only explanation.

 The Real Food Cafe

Award winning Carrot Cake

Haste Ye Back, indeed.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Planning Application: FAIL

Fife Council continue to show an admirable degree of common sense. It's a small victory but a victory nonetheless.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Garbh Choire Refuge

I'm no' a great fan of bothies but it's good to know they're there if the shit hits the fan. The wee howff in Garbh Choire is in need of renovation and its' continued existence is in doubt. Neil Reid and Kenny Freeman have put forward a case for its' retention. Interested parties should nip over and have a read.

Clicky link.

The Horns Of The Buffalo

I found the graphic (below) while I was surfing for information on Little Raith Windfarm which I'd heard had been given the go-ahead. Sure enough, there are 9 100m+ turbines going up on the land between the A92 and the Mossmorran Petrochemical Plant. "What's the big deal?", I hear you cry. Well, for one thing, the visual impact will be extreme for anyone living nearby. Mossmorran, despite being a large industrial site, is at least partially hidden by surrounding land. And the turbines will be close to Loch Gelly, the Loch of the Shining Waters, an important habitat for wildfowl, both resident and migratory.

Little Raith is shown in Blue, at the bottom of the graphic. Far more worrying, and I had to double-check this, is the Red area over in the top left. It lies within the bounds of The Lomond Hills Regional Park, or "The Meedies" as it's known locally and is the subject of a planning application for an "industrial-sized" wind factory. I can't help but feel that these fuckers are either taking the piss or simply trying to deflect attention away from other sites. (2 large turbines recently bypassed the planning process altogether via some deadline-related loophole).

Fife Council Planning Dept are currently "inundated" with applications and at least one Councillor has called for a halt until they can work out a coherent strategy. Local opposition is strong and growing stronger which is great to see but these things are easily missed if you're not actively looking.

Those light blue bits btw, are areas marked for housing development. That's houses that no one around here can afford or even wants. More greenfield concreted over and trees and hedgerows ripped up. The Horns of the Buffalo are closing in and the views that I currently enjoy will disappear one day soon.

Monday 19 March 2012

Photographic Memory

The woman in the picture below was 70 years old when it was taken. She still worked and walked 7 or 8 miles a day, every day, whatever the weather. She'd travelled over 50 miles (2 buses) to arrive at the appointed place and time, dressed for the occasion.

That was 3 and a half years ago. Now she has no memory of that day or indeed many other days. Almost every scrap of her independence is gone. Alzheimer's is a proper cunt of a disease.


Bless you all for your kind words. I think the worst part of it is that she is occasionally aware of what's happening. Physically, she's hale and hearty but her short-term memory is almost non-existent. Day to day stuff that we take for granted is impossible for her. She literally couldn't boil an egg and this is a woman once famed for her home-baking. That's how we knew she was going downhill; the Tablet and Caramel Shortbread, once highly prized, started to be discretely binned. Tea and toast is about all she can manage these days.

In a way, I'm kind of lucky. I've never been terribly close to my mum so I'm able to step back a wee bit and be a bit more pragmatic about things. It's still hard work but the support we've had from East Lothian Council and the local NHS folk has been astounding.  Thank fuck for the professionals. And my Mrs, who is, as always, my rock.