Thursday, 31 October 2019
On the same day that we climbed the hill above Portree in the morning then I shot up Am Meall at lunchtime while Alex and John were in the shops I also found time to do some quality photography in the afternoon. They were intent on bagging Bioda Buidhe,466 metres, a long rising slope on the Trotternish Escarpment above the picture postcard village of Staffin. I hadn't committed to that yet but was happy just to be there in an area we do not visit that often. A handful of times in 40 years. Once everybody in a club has bagged the major Munro summits on Syke, plus getting older with less same age friends still keen on the hills, the opportunities to visit here get less. Also, with fuel costs ever rising, and Skye's notoriously fickle weather it's not always guaranteed to get fine conditions if you do go. The summit of The Storr, above.
By contrast- away from The Munros and selfie hot-spots Skye is empty and you can park no problem with few other visitors around. Just depends where you go on the island. Same with Scotland in general.
Thursday, 24 October 2019
On the descent off the hill in the last post I noticed this little hill and stone tower, seen above, yet I'd never visited it despite being in Portree half a dozen times over the years, but only with other hill-walkers. There are always pros and cons in any group and you have to compromise at times. The up sides are good company, laughs, shared adventures, shared petrol money, useful exchange of info, and a common purpose- downsides in my case are a love of everything scenic- not just climbing hills, but low level stuff and urban walking as well. I would never have enjoyed so many walking and back-packing trips around Europe with friends in the past if we had not shared travel costs, safety in numbers going to remote areas where English speaking locals are thin on the ground, and a heightened level of adventure, knowing someone has your back when rock climbing/caving/mountaineering/ exploring. And just for companionship/security/ mutual support in strange unfamiliar lands with different customs, especially if you have an accident or fall ill abroad.. I have howled in silent protest however when we have raced through interesting foreign cities to get to the hills, usually spending just a day or a brief night in alluring places like Nice, Berlin, Rimini, Milan,Geneva, Turin, Paris, or Toulouse when a week was required to see them all individually in full. It has to be that way though on holiday trips when we always have limited time to cram it all in before returning to work or other commitments. Two to three weeks maximum on any holiday.
I'm sure loads of local youngsters in communities would be keen as long as they got some small reward, recognition of skills, and kept the subject matter appropriate. Or there's plenty of adult unemployed or underused local artists out there in every location. Scotland has always had high levels of suicide, drug addiction, and mental health issues in all its communities and while long walks outdoors, positive upbeat visual stimulation, and a genuine sense of purpose/hobby/obsession in your life is not a complete answer for everyone it does help a great deal- especially during the long, grey, damp winters northern communities often experience. If you live in a miserable, grey damp town or village- this could be your chance to turn it around with artistic endeavour.
Monday, 21 October 2019
When we awoke in the hut on Saturday morning the sight of the Black Cuillin on Skye was one of early morning clag over the jagged peaks. Well named. It was black alright. Gabbro tends to repel any vegetation growing on it.