Sunday, 1 May 2016
Spring takes roughly a month to travel at sea level from the south coast of England to the north of Scotland, a mainland distance of roughly 600 miles but with more time added on for every 500 feet of height.
Back in sheltered parts of Glasgow it was in full swing with a variety of blooms growing in the parks and gardens near me. A lovely red tulip above.
You can see here why it's the last to be sung about. In 40 years of hill tramping and exploring this is the best photo I've managed to get of this quiet shy enigma as it's well known but rarely seen, silently bobbing around between the heather clumps, largely unknown to the general public except in a shop window, hanging upside down, or as a posh meal on a plate.
I think you will agree it's as colourful and wonderful as any parrot or bird of paradise.
As it's a colourful post here's a very colourful video.
This Alice is not the one from the book however. She is much darker having been unjustly committed to 'the hospital for the criminally insane' as a child and when she eventually gets out it's 'no more miss nice girl' as she is determined to seek revenge on the people who left her there to rot. An unusual, more adult, twist on the familiar children's story but fantastic graphics and superbly detailed artwork in a range of different styles. Worth a watch full screen to visit the beautiful kingdom and characters created within. Short (trailer) but not so sweet. More psychosis- less sugar.
Tuesday, 26 April 2016
Another bagging trip with Alex and the boys. This time it was the turn of The Fara, a Corbett situated on a long ridge line above the remote and lofty village of Dalwhinnie. Dalwhinnie sits in the centre of Scotland as far away from the coast as you can get in this country and away from the warming influence of the gulf stream which keeps the UK in a hot spot. This part of Scotland sits at the same latitude as the middle of Hudson Bay in Canada, the southern arm of Alaska, and further north than the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia. Dalwhinnie sits at an altitude of around 350 metres or 1148 feet, which might not seem much by world mountain standards but sitting on a high empty plain, exposed to any wind and surrounded by sizable bulky mountains it is one of the highest and coldest villages in the British Isles and also holds records for the lack of sunshine year round. As you can see our path up The Fara started via an old right of way, a rough mountain pass for cattle drovers between Kinloch Laggan and Dalwhinnie on the A889 where there is a small lay-by beside the Allt an t -Sluic river. This was followed for just under a mile then we crossed the river via a ford to reach a track leading up our hill of choice.
It didn't feel like that to us however and we were well wrapped up against a biting wind and general chill in the air.
I would find it hard mentally as I've always relished bright primary colours, lush vegetation appearing every spring and the vivid contrasts between distinctive seasons. I'd also miss natural deciduous woodlands growing on my doorstep but I suppose if you enjoy living here it's under an hour by train, bus or car into Inverness or Perth for a taste of city life.
We were soon up above the snow line but this could be avoided to reach the summit if desired. Unlike the larger hills around we stayed mainly in the sunshine while they were buried in cloud most of the time we were on the ridge.
Can't believe some of the stupid comments attached to these marathon videos along the lines of " I could do that if I had his support team and people watching me on telly."
There are far easier ways to get attention or money than a 54 year old running hundreds of miles across South Africa in 40 degree heat. No wonder I avoid Twit-er or Self- book with folk like these on it. Normally, I'm not a fan of corporate charity events which encourage mass hikes or cycles into wilderness areas, as they can trash paths completely if it's wet underfoot but this is exceptional for his age and as a non professional ultra runner. I'm sure most of the dafter comments are from people with no experience of multiple marathon events or long distance walking whatsoever yet they are still happy to give disheartening, very negative opinions on a subject they know nothing about. Only putting this on because I watched the full hour long documentary recently and personally I at least was impressed by it.
He's a comedian in his normal day job. Both videos are short. Some swearing in second one but
Thursday, 21 April 2016
I thought I would do a double post to highlight the contrast between the old and new Glasgow which is evolving at pace around the High Street and George Street area. A stone's throw from George Square, seen in the last post, is the thoroughly new Glasgow of glass and steel. A mix of buildings from different time periods make up the University of Strathclyde but that diversity is even more pronounced now with the latest additions to the campus. This is the new look Albion Street which has been totally transformed.
I have a backlog of posts at the moment so here's a gallery of some well known Glasgow attractions and buildings. George Square and Glasgow City Chambers. You can get guided tours inside this magnificent building every weekday at 10:30am and 2:30pm Mon to Fri. Tours are free, they last an hour, and there is no need to book unless you are intending to arrive with a large group. Very worthwhile and interesting interior with period architecture, huge marble staircases, and furnishings on a grand scale. Normally, you just turn up five or ten minutes before the tour starts then tag along behind the guide.