Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Disclaimer: The following post contains no references to gear, hills or indeed anything that could be remotely construed as "outdoorsy". (Although the graphical representation of trees, water and mountains is rather nice) If you play, you'll understand.

It's easy, in these times of scammers, spammers, phishers and other sundry low-lives, to think of the internet as nought other than a polluted conduit bringing all manner of sh*te into our lives. But sometimes, just sometimes, it can be a force for good and happiness.

The journey into the Haloverse can be perilous but also rewarding. Occasionally, the mix of folk is just right and you remember that the good people far outweigh the bad.

Witness then, the titanic struggle of Capture The Flag in Big Team Social. 16 strangers working together in 2 teams, in a spontaneous act of bonding.

No words spoken. Everyone knew the task in hand and each played their part. The defenders held their flag for 15 long minutes, the attackers relentless in their determination to pry it from their grasp.

And pry it, we did.

Death from above? Not this time.

With "friendlies" overhead, I managed to get two-thirds of the way back to base before a determined counter-attack took me down.

Run Forrest, run!

The rest of my team were already on the way and took the flag regardless. Nobody said a word.

With 2 minutes left, and the other team pressing hard, I fought my way into their base and took their flag again. One of my team mates was outside, transport at the ready.


We made it back with 3 seconds on the clock.Again, no words.

Game over and back in the post-game lobby, the banter was all "Well played" and "Good game." Friends were made, new loyalties forged and everybody had a ball. And that's what it's all about.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

The 45

Halfway to my Four Score Years And Ten. I've done so much and yet there's still much to do.

Best crack on then.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Who goes there?

There's nothing quite like waking up early on a Saturday morning to the sound of two very large, and very hairy, dogs barking their heads off. All bad thoughts were banished in an instant however when it turned out to be our pal, the Postie.

He handed over a brown paper-wrapped cube in exchange for an autograph. Some deft finger nail action revealed our latest aquisition; a sleek, black, and awfy fancy, camera. One of those posh ones with the wee telly on the back.

An end to slightly rubbish photies like this?

There will be much RTFM'ing, I'm sure. The wee Fuji is looking nervous and slightly sheepish. And so it should. My memory is long and its' previous belligerence has been carefully noted.


Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Ding, Dong.....

It's that time of year again when thoughts turn to Scotland's second most famous creature, the Midgie. A time when fannying about at the back of the car, sorting and adjusting various bits of stuff, isn't an option. Wishing to hell that you hadn't worn shorts and doing that strange wee dance* that's seen in every car park and campsite across Scotland from May 'til October.

I've been using Skin So Soft** for years now and, for me at least, it works. For complete preservation of sanity however, long sleeves, trousers and a head-net are a must.

Who cares if you smell like a girl?

Reading that back, I've realised just how soft I've become after all these years in the Lowlands. As a youngster, growing up on Speyside, Midgies were an accepted part of life. They're just there, as much a part of the landscape as trees and hills. I don't remember ever having to run home, screaming like a girl.

It's reckoned they cost the Scottish tourist industry millions in lost revenue and that may be true but they also keep the property developers at bay. Scotland without the Midgie would be a very different place indeed.

And if I kill a few hundred whenever I'm out, then that's just acceptable losses.

UPDATE - 19/07/08

The briefest of searches turned up a wee 50ml skooshy bottle in Boots' travel section. Some smaller ones in amongst the hair products but they were dearer and full of stuff. Worth bearing in mind though.

*Running in circles, waving both hands in the air while screaming unintelligibly.

**The search is on for a smaller, skooshy-topped receptacle.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Turning Japanese

WARNING! This post contains references to "GEAR". Proper Walkers should look away.

Nipped out at lunchtime to picked up a parcel from the PO, a Snow Peak Trek 900 Ti, bought via Ebay for not a lot of my hard-earned.

It makes me happy on 2 levels;
1. It's new and shiny and I like new and shiny.
2. It means I can get rid of the Alpkit MyTi Mug with its' Gosh-Darned Awful rattley lid.

It drove me demented with its' constant clink-clink-clink. A veritable titanium monkey on my back.

Anyways, I needed something a bit bigger for The Boy and his copious appetite for hot beverages.

All we need now is for it to stop raining long enough for us to get out there and put some "dings" in it.

OK. You can look now.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

A Thousand Words

The Boy destroyed my PC. I know how he did it; switching it off at the wall rather than shutting it down in the way Bill Gates intended. If it had been been one of my Linux or XP boxes, it might have survived. So, I take it into work and try and bring it back from the dead in my lunch hour but the hard drives have had enough. They kick into life maybe one time in 10. I managed to drag some stuff off and onto a USB drive before they expired forever. Among the salvage was a set of photies that brought a wee smile to my stir-crazy coupon. It doesn't take a lot of effort to cast my mind back to the day they were taken; I can remember what I was wearing, what the weather was like and even what I had for lunch.

Ben Ledi, Jan 2004

Wandering up the Stank Glen

Above the Pass of the Dead

Ice and snow sculpture

Snowy magnificence

They're not great photies by any means. They were hurried affairs on account of it being so fecking cold but they're priceless nonetheless. This was to be Meg and I's last "big" hill day. If I'd known that our time together was to be only two more short years, I would've taken more pictures. I would've lingered a bit longer on top and packed a few more treats to while away our usual dawdling at the summit.

Leave only footprints

Meg, sheltering behind the summit cairn

Ben Ledi summit cross (a sock-winning shot)

Looking back for the last time

Sad to think that we'll never have that day again but I feel immensely priviliged to have had a day as fine as that at all.