Friday, 29 August 2008

The King and I

10 years ago this month, I parked my car at the bottom of Dollar Glen and set off up into The Ochils. Fresh from shopping in Tiso's the day before, I was all shiny leather boots, baggy TNF pants and a "Wild Rover" ruckie, packed with fleeces, waterproofs, a big flask and assorted paraphenalia that the magazines told me were "Essentials that must be carried at all times" or somesuch. The day was hot and humid. So muggy, in fact, that even the midgies stayed home lest their hair go all curly and daft-looking. Needless to say, I didn't get far. My target of Kingseat may as well have been on the dark side of the moon. I flopped down, completely burst, on some wee bump.

The highest point of my first attempt

I could've thought "F**k this for a laugh" and gone home but, as the Lucozade Sport and flapjack worked their magic, I realised that I was actually having fun. Looking down on Dollar from way up on high, I actually remembered why I loved being in the hills. I dawndered back down to the car and that was it; I was hooked again.

I was out on the hills nearly every weekend after that and, 6 months later, returned to Kingseat. This time, I only stopped on the way up to admire the views. In just over an hour, blazing past all and sundry (including the man who did the "Walk of the week" for The Scotsman) I reached the shelter cairn and sat there for ages. The day was bright and clear, the temperature barely above freezing. Even the banter was good that day.

I left the top via a steep, and slightly reckless, direct descent down to The Burn of Sorrow. The glen was quiet, everything rimed with frost and not another soul in sight. A great walk out by any standard.

Back to the present and Wednesday saw me with a free day and a need to stretch my legs. Wanting to stay local, I headed along the A91 and swung a right at Dollar. 15 minutes later, I was walking up the road to Castle Campbell and, not long after that, I was heading up Kingseat.

Looking back towards Castle Campbell

It's no' a terribly big hill but it's broad as well as high which means there's a bit of walking across as well as up. It's also lumpy so there's 4 or 5 false summits to mess with the mind.

The saddle between Tarmangie and Whitewisp. Wind turbines just visible.

It's well worth the effort tho', the shelter cairn giving extensive views in every direction. It's a great place to linger.

Refuelling station.

I can see the hoose fae here. Well, nearly.

The lumpy, bumpy way up and down.

There was a wee bit of banter with a couple of auld boys, the only folk I saw, and then, 45 minutes later, I levered myself up and away. I actually found myself jogging back to the car, such was the spring in my step. Great stuff.

Somebody's been nibbling. Wisnae me. Honest.

The author.

Note: This is my 100th post and it's hill-related. Things must be improving :o)

Friday, 22 August 2008

After the rain

Some mornings, it's a pleasure to wake up and this is one of those mornings. The weather's been rubbish for weeks but it doesn't matter, eventually the sun will come back out.

If I lean back in my chair, I can see East Lomond. I've lost count of how many times I've been up there but it's a lot. It's nice to be able to stand out the back with a coffee in hand and look across to it.

Looking left I can see the top of West Lomond, just peering over the top of Bishop Hill.

The sun's shining and there's a fresh breeze coming in from the West. These things, among others, make me happy. It's good for the soul.

When the man comes around

I've had Johnny Cash in my head all week but it's all work-related, so nobody panic, OK?

Play it loud.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Saving the Planet

I'm a great believer in recycling. Anybody who's bought stuff from me via ebay will get a well-packaged bundle of happiness but it won't be the first time the wrapping has gone thru' the postal service.

So, when The Future Mrs D says "You've got a parcel", I immediately think "Woohoo!!". There's a moment of confusion when she chucks it over. It feels a bit crinkly, almost as if it's been wrapped in a shopping bag. "WTF?". It is wrapped in a shopping bag.

Crafty marketing or something else?

Now, if this had been bought from some nice person via Ebay, I could understand it but it wasn't. It came from a well known retailer.

On the one hand, it's a great bit of recycling. On the other, I paid nearly £4 for P&P. It did arrive quickly, right enough. Within 2 working days in fact.

I'm really no' sure how I feel about this. Actually, I do but I won't say anything here until I've spoken to their customer services folk.

I'm away to open it. I'm sure the contents will put a smile back upon my coupon.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

I Want To Believe

Yes, I do. In fact, I think I do believe. What I know, is that The X Files is/was one of the finest Sci-Fi series ever shown on TV.

I was a Fanboy. I've seen every episode at least twice, and a few of them a lot more than that. I had Seasons 1-9 recorded on VHS, each tape labelled, in order and with the write-protect tab broken off. Then Ebay arrived and the DVD box sets were winging their way to my door.

Image then, the crushing disappointment that is the current film, The X Files: I Want To Believe. I'd seen the trailer and it looked good. I was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen and in surround-sound. As I sat there, bucket of popcorn and industrial-sized fizzy drink to hand, I started to feel strangely sad; sad for myself but also for everyone that had ever watched, worked on and loved The X Files. It's awful. Truly, truly dire. I could've cried. Thank F**k for Orange Wednesday.

The Future Mrs D didn't like it either. Crushed, so I was.

So yesterday, we sat down to watch the first fillum, The X Files: Fight The Future, something which TFMD didn't even know existed. She enjoyed it . A lot. Declaring it "Really, really gid(sic)". It was nice to see it again. It made me feel much better. That's a proper film, that is.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Any Excuse

The Anjungilak Air Pillow; I must be one of the last people in the world to get one of these but it's one of those things that I never got around to buying for myself.

A decent night's kip? Here's hoping.

Praise be for birthdays then. Now I just need to get out and use it. Next weekend looks promising*. Something a wee bit higher up to avoid the midgies. Or not, if it's breezy lower down. A hill will be climbed tho'. Yes, indeed.

I suspect this coming week at work will be a bit of a pig and I'll have earned a break by Friday.

Update 08/08/08: Rain stops play. Forecast is uniformly rubbish from one side of the country to t'other.

*All plans are subject to change at short, or no, notice.