Wednesday, 27 February 2013
Newtonmore. Cat Trail.Craig Dhubh.An Arctic Nightmare.
Fairly ironic that it was the 'recently dispossessed' fighting the 'just about to be dispossessed' in many cases.
The story of the remarkable Cluny is told in the above Link along with a brief history of the Clan.
When we woke on Saturday morning it was to find the hills clagged in. Graeme dropped off Alex and Andy to do their Corbett of choice, the young fit members of our club went off Munro bagging or Ice climbing and I stayed in the cosy comfort of the hut then car as long as possible watching them all depart.
I was unceremoniously dumped out in this godforsaken spot however which was the last parking layby on the minor road up Glenballoch where Mike and Graeme intended doing a Munro. A Chailleach I think.
Having a five hour wait ahead of me in this below freezing hell hole I decided I might as well walk back to The Cabin (The fire, oh the warm fire. Stove of my dreams.) using the signposted right of way up Glen Banchor then over the Strath an Eilich.
I met a couple of locals from the farm walking their dogs.
'You'll never make it.' They informed me cheerfully. 'Its not pleasant up there once you leave road end.'
'Don't worry I'm used to tough terrain.' I replied confidently. 'I'm a mountaineer you know.'
An hour later they had the satisfaction of observing me walking back past the farm, soaked almost to the waist and covered in mud.
'Boggy up that way isn't it? The farmer asked.
'I've seen worse. I offered back. 'Just remembered I left something important in the car.'
This turned out to be my enthusiasm as I decided to walk down the minor road into Newtonmore instead to buy a paper at the garage. Now that was mountaineering! All the weeks TV in one Saturday edition. Hard Core Entertainment.
In summer this right of way looks a splendid idea but in slushy winter conditions, with thigh deep soft snow and no visible track to follow, the numerous river crossings and water filled marshlands and ditches gave me the hump. Never in my puff have I walked across such unadulterated soggy crap.
On the way down the tarmac ( Sweet tarmac I'll never leave you again!) another local dog walker had given me a much better idea to keep warm in this frozen sink hole of a place. A Pussy Trail!
Then some more....
I found out that Newtonmore has roughly 100 of these hand decorated animals scattered around the town. There is a shop in the main street where you can buy a Cat Trail map and young kids and visitors alike can go off Hunting Some Prime Highland Pussy. What a marvellous tourist attraction I'm sure you'll agree.
In Ireland it was Muff Diving this week its Newtonmore Pussy. I visit all the hot spots. Surely perfect candidates for twin town status.
Long Tailed Tits anyone? Blue Tits I've seen when its cold. Great Tits I've seen on occasion. But Long Tailed Tits take the biscuit or on this example the Balls.
(I'm anticipating thousands of extra hits from porn site search engines for this post. I'll reach 100,000 visitors yet by fair means or foul. :0)
This offers steep wall climbing on nasty sloping holds. Only climbed here once. King Bee VS 5a. 135 metres.450 feet. 4 pitches.
Great exposed route but once was enough as I found myself lacking in the Big Balls department here.
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=37 Inside this link have a look at the list of climbs on all the walls here for a laugh. I was inspired by them when writing this post. This crag is notorious for its bold routes and bolder names. Photos at the bottom are good too. Use 'Click on all 57 photos' to view them.
The hill itself was lovely though and a good viewpoint overlooking the area.
After watching last nights excellent programme on Iraq. Ten years on, and finding out both it and Afghanistan don't appear to be much better off after 10 long years of hardship and conflict with possible civil war and terrorist threats still looming large around the corner I though immediately of this video. Cat Power. Rockets. Her lyrics are subtle and ambiguous at the best of times and can lend themselves to myriad interpretations which is why fans love to put their own spin on her songs.
Is this a good fit? You decide. Thought provoking stuff though.
A visual treat of a compilation road trip across America and Europe. Love the Racoon standing up on the highway in the middle of this. A unique artist that never fails to amaze, frustrate, embarrass ,excite and inspire her long suffering fans. One of her finest songs.
Best watched full screen for some stunning landscapes.