Sunday morning I finished off my TMA for the OU music course I’m doing, looked out the window and saw it was easing off. A wild morning had given way to a short lull in the storms rolling in off the Atlantic. I needed out. I needed some adventure after all that studying so headed round to Blaven, intent on not much other than wandering around.
Ever since I read The Only Genuine Jones I’ve been waiting for Alex Roddie’s next novel, the first in the Alpine Dawn series, that’s set in the heart of the Cairngorms. The other day I got hold of it on Kindle and devoured it in a single sitting.
The Atholl Expedition is set around Blair Atholl and the southern Cairngorms, with the expedition taking place into an area I love dearly, the great corries and crags of Braeriach in search of, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out. Don’t be put off by the mountaineering connotations. This is not a mountaineering book. It’s a damn good story with fantastic characters set in fantastic scenery. It’s a book for anyone who loves wild places and cracking good yarns.
I was contacted the other day by the company handling the promotion of UNIQLO products in the UK, letting me know about their Ultra Light Down Jackets and the chance to review one of these very light bits of kit. I’d seen a few reviews across the internet so I was quite keen to help out and in the next post I’ll be describing it in a little more detail, plus a more in depth post once I’ve had a chance to use it.
Decreptitude comes to us all! But I thought, surely these buns of steel are still steel-ish and to pop out on an Audax wouldn’t be asking too much of them. You see, Audax UK (AUK) have a groovy new ‘permanents’ system. But first let me explain what an ‘audax’ is. It’s a non competitive long distance cycling event, from anywhere between 50km to, well, over a thousand km. The longest I’ve done was the National 400, which you can read about here.
I’ve recently had a cull of blogs from my reader as most of them were just gear writers with little actual outdoors interest but there are a fair few remaining and one that I like to keep up with is Chris Highcock’s Cairn In The Mist. A while back Chris wrote about a new book coming out, The Only Genuine Jones by Alex Roddie so I made a note to look it up later.
At the start of last week, the forecast for the weekend was awful. Torrential rain and gale force winds. As usual these days it was wrong and by Friday it was up to 80% chance of cloud free summits, light winds and sunshine! So Saturday around 10:30am I left the car park and bimbled up the path towards my most favourite of hills, Blà Bheinn. What’s that? Gaelic? I normally call it Blaven but a most redoutable lady reminded me of its proper name. More of which anon.
It was a bit too humid for my liking as I stopped for a chat with Annie, whom I met at the burn crossing, before I sprayed like a garden sprinkler up into the corrie, past the big stone and up the scree on the coire headwall, where recent winds had taken their toll on the foxgloves clinging to the steep choss. Pink bells lay strewn across the slope with surprised looking stalks wondering what had happened. Life up here can be harsh at times. Most of the time in fact.
A while ago I asked on twitter if anyone had good ideas for an iPhone app for use outdoors and an idea came in for an app that can identify hills.
It’s always an awful choice to have to make. Go to the hills or work on something to do with the hills. However, with lots of bad weather providing an excuse I’ve found the time to develop an app, codename ‘Nevis’, that does just that. Identifies hills.
I’ve just been reading Hell of a Journey Kindle edition by Mike Cawthorne, a book I had not really shown much interest in when it came out in 2000 but I it’s been published anew and age has matured it like a fine wine.