Little and Often

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Anyone who follows, or even just occasionally dips into this blog, will know that I like to get out for an evening walk. Or a morning walk. Or, pretty much an any time of day walk.

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To a certain extent, since I started the blog, I’ve become guilty of seeing the aim of these walks as being to provide fodder, and particularly photographs, for the blog. So that, for example, there would be little point of rousing myself for a late walk on a gloomy day in early March to see whether the daffs were flowering in the woods near Far Arnside, if the low light was going to hamper my photography.

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Green Hellebore.

Since the New Year, however, I’ve bucked my ideas up, turned over a new leaf, rung the changes,….(insert similar cliches to taste) and have been trying to get out every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. Many of these walks have been in the dark. Or the rain. Or both. And often my camera has been left at home.

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But now the evenings are getting lighter and even when the light is low and the sun has sunk behind a bank of cloud to the west, there’s still always something to see or hear.

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I see that Mr Sloman has a daily target of 3 miles. And I know that Bertrand Russell once advocated a regular 6 mile walk. Maybe I need a GPS enabled device so that I can track my own milage.

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In the meantime, I shall just keep on keeping on.

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Little and Often

Beinn Dubhchraig

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Sunday of our Bridge of Orchy weekend and we’re all out in one massed outing of Muppets.

The weather had started with great promise – some cloud, but also lots of blue sky and sunshine – but as we’d climbed the cloud had dropped and eventually it began to snow a little. But then, as we approached the end of our climb, the sun appeared as a watery disc in the cloud above. Sometimes lightening skies can be deceptive, but on this occasion rents in the cloud began to appear and partial views, both of the ridge and of the valleys below, were revealed.

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The mass Muppetry? – we’d set off intending to climb one of Beinn Dubhchraig’s ridges and descend another, but had instead ploughed up the hillside between the two. So what happened to our navigation skills? It was one of those cases of…

“Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.”

Except, I don’t think anybody was even remotely angry.

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The Tower Captain on the summit.

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Just off the top, we found a place out of the wind for the latest of many butty stops.

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The lifting clouds gradually revealed more and more of our surroundings in an exhilarating and tantalising display.

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We descended by the ridge we originally intended to climb. In places it was quite steep. And icy…

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The views just got better and better.

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Loch Lomond.

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Ben More and Stob Binnein.

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Ben more and Stob Binnein again.

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Beinn Challuim. (I think).

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar.

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More butties.

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar again.

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar. Again. I liked that view.

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Beinn Challuim again. I think.

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Alpenglow on Ben More and Stob Binnein. I suspect.

After two great days last year (accounts here and here), I was a bit shocked that we were lucky with the weather again. What’s more, I felt much fitter than I did last year, despite my lack of recent hill days, and so was able to enjoy it all the more.

Looking forward to next year’s trip already!

Beinn Dubhchraig

Around Orain

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Our annual Highland gathering, transferred this year to a new venue – The Bridge of Orchy Hotel. On the Saturday, the party split into several smaller groups. I joined the posse heading for the ridges just behind the hotel: a round of Coir’ Orain taking in Beinn Inverveigh and Meall Tairbh.

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It was one of those sort of days when I took a few photos before we entered the cloud.

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One at the highest point…

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Meall Tairbh (665m).

…possibly; there was some dispute at the time.

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And then a few more photos after we had emerged from the clouds.

The weather wasn’t great, but we’ve had much worse. It snowed a bit, at times, but at least it didn’t rain, so it was a round of Orain, rather than a round in the rain.

This lukewarm, lack lustre description, perhaps makes it sound as if I didn’t enjoy the day. But I did. Enormously so, in fact. Partly because of the excellent company, but mostly because, when all’s said and done, wandering around  a soggy hillside in the mist and the snow is my idea of fun. I like it. Admittedly, I don’t always think I will in advance, and it’s proving difficult to think of anything exciting to say about it in retrospect. However, round the day off with a very fine steak and some inconsequential chatter with your oldest friends and you have a recipe for contentment, in my view at least.

No hill-day is complete without some element of list-ticking. Meall Tairbh, whilst not high enough to be a Munro, or a Corbett, is, apparently, both a Marilyn and a Graham, probably a Hump, not a Donald, but maybe a Trump. I’ve added it to my personal list of Hills to Revisit when the Weather is Kinder.

As usual, the weekend was organised (very well), booked (at a discount), and generally only took place because of all-round good-egg, Andy, who’s account of this walk you can read here.

 

 

 

 

 

Around Orain

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Clark’s Lot – Hollin’s Lane – Slackwood Lane – Leighton Moss – Trowbarrow Quarry – Eaves Wood

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In like a lion, they say of March, but if I remember right, this had been a very pleasant day, although sadly, a Wednesday spent at work. I had the idea that I would get out and catch some sunshine, but, as you can see from the photo above, by the time I reached Clark’s Lot, only a few minutes from home, the sun was already sinking behind the trees.

Slightly blurred photos of Long-Tailed Tits have become an irregular feature of this blog. Here is another example of the genre…

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Generally, the problem is their propensity to flit about relentlessly, but this was a remarkably relaxed Long-Tailed Tit content to sit still whilst I took three photos. Sadly, the auto-focus trained in perfectly on the branches just in front of the Bumbarrel. Even when the tit moved on, it rested in new positions, allowing me to take more photos, but in high branches, silhouetted against the sky, it came out very dark. It was obviously some kind of Zen Long-Tailed Tit however.

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Down at Leighton Moss the Starlings were gathering for the roost, which isn’t the massive affair of earlier in the winter, but still worth watching.

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On the Sunday before, I’d been out for a walk in unpromising conditions, leaving my camera at home since rain looked so imminent. I hadn’t intended to stay out long, but in the end, had a great walk, on a circular route I don’t think I’ve ever walked before. (Which says a great deal about the wealth of options in this area). At Hawes Water there had been four Cormorants on the trees where I saw one not so long ago. Later it began to rain, but at Leighton Moss I was cheered by an abundance of spring fungi, Scarlet Elf Cup…

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Which was why I wanted to return to Leighton Moss, now that I had my camera with me. Whist I was taking this photo, this Robin…

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…surprised me by practically landing on my shoulder.

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At Trowbarrow there were some climbers still bouldering despite the gathering gloom, and in Eaves Wood, when it was almost dark, I met a couple of dog walkers. I wasn’t the only one thinking that it was good to be out.

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