Sunday, 15 September 2013
Beinn Dorain.Bridge of Orchy. A questionable path?
Beinn Dorain is a popular hill and twenty years can bring about some radical changes but I was not prepared for the damage we encountered underfoot. The path in places in 2013 resembles the hillsides you see on the news from South America where they power wash gold and precious metals from the ground using giant hoses leaving only spoil heaps in their wake.. Same effect here using booted feet and the west coast's abundant year round rainfall. I'm as guilty as anyone else obviously with five ascents.
This is one path that needs some form of maintenance badly however as it can only get worse. It also brings, to my mind at least, the question of numbers on the Munros versus income generated for the economy against the cost of path maintenance. Certainly when I was bagging Munro summits we camped, brought food with us and contributed very little to the local economy other than tent fees and a substantial pub drinks bill. We liked a good swally then and still had money in our pockets when petrol was cheap. I'm aware some folk do far more as regards accommodation and sit in meals when they arrive. As I wandered up here however I found myself wondering how much the actual profit and loss measured up when placed on the scales side by side. Obviously it's a range of different bodies paying out for different things so it's too hard for poor old simple me to work out.
I'd imagine this example is only one of many needing attention.
In another twenty years we will probably have much the same thing here in places like Glencoe as I've noticed an abundance of signs springing up with some amusement in places like Knoydart and Fisherfeild advising the visitor that... 'you are now entering a remote and uninhabited area'. (I know that's why I'm here.) In fact it's getting harder in Scotland to walk into a 'remote uninhabited area' without a large sign informing you of that fact. It felt even more secluded and uninhabited before all the large signs went up pointing at destinations in every direction. I naively thought hill walkers knew where they were at any location in the UK now thanks to GPS and smart phones but apparently not.
Bridge of Orchy railway station.
I enjoyed the walk but mainly for the memories. A real novelty nowadays having a hill day out in the rain but I still prefer the sunshine on the mountains so normal service will be resumed.
The news that bats lungs and internal organs may collapse flying close to wind farms and that pods of dolphins and whales might just have serious navigation problems with the undersea version (tidal turbines) highlights that this modern age can seem to throw up more problems than solutions every time we think we have invented a good idea. Not that I think wind farms are a good idea but it makes a point. The complexity of modern life....or maybe it was always complex but we were too unenlightened or uninformed to notice and just ignored it.
With the civil war in Syria raging on and the powers that be reluctant to get involved for one reason or another I thought I'd include this video by the only artist to have won the Mercury Music Prize twice. This song seems more topical than ever now with its open question at the end. I also like the fact that she includes the mistake on the autoharp, leaving it in. Very few artists would. The ever evolving PJ Harvey.