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12 February, Sow of Atholl (5). Not having the relevant map could cause a few problems. Especially in low cloud. I found the summit fine and even managed the walk there and back from the A9 in pretty quick time. Lindsay and Janet Munro had been on the top a few hours earlier, and I met up with them that night.
Lindsay: Did you see our steps in the snow?
Brent: I'm sure I would if there had been any snow.
Lindsay: Perhaps it melted. Look, here's a photo we took earlier.
Brent: No, I don't recognise any of that.
What a bonus - turns out I'd bagged a Graham Top (Boar of Badenoch). Shame I still have the Sow to do though.
31 May, Scarp (24A). Forgetting to take your compass and getting lost on a small island for two hours in low cloud wouldn't be so bad, but keeping the boatmen waiting and avoiding a coastguard call-out by ten minutes was not good. The worst bit was taking 30 minutes to walk round in a circle, but strangely enough this was my favourite island of the whole Western Isles trip - just a shame I didn't see a bit more of it.
1 October, Peel Fell (33). Don't attempt the track starting at NY622952 for the drive-in to this one, unless you have three hours spare to dig your car out of a mud-bath. Spare clothes, a jack and a roof-rack bar all came in useful here. I then had the small task of a 21-point reverse and a drive out through the mud I'd got myself marooned in. I did finally manage the summit (plus Dewey), after finding the right track, but no surprise that the clutch needed replacing the following week.
4 November, Nutberry Hill (27A). The forest gate was open and the sign simply said 'Please close the gate', which is what I duly did. After Peel Fell I exercised caution and parked up when the mud started to thicken. The mountain bike got me to the summit and back (passing the timber company van on the outward ride). Said van was gone on the way back, having exited the forest and combination-locked me in. I attempted an exit via the east of the forest (easily negotiating the muddy area) but another locked gate barred my way. The chap at the bungalow in Douglas West thought the forestry man would be back in the morning, but offered his bolt-cutters to get me out. I said I'd sit out the night and treated myself to the firework show over Douglas through the car windscreen. No sign of the wood-cutter the next morning, so it was the bolt-cutters instead. Very impressive.
I offered money for the padlock, but he pointed out that the timber company had cut one of his own locks, and they continued to trundle wagons past his house hours after the agreed times, so no love lost there. Top bloke - he wouldn't even accept any beer money, and he treated me (and his kids) to a fast ride up the hill in his Range Rover. And I did the high-level drive-in to Common Hill too (didn't really want to walk up there with all those bloody turbines anyway). The following month Santa brought me a nice pair of bolt-cutters of my own, to save me having to write this story again next year.
14 August, Ben Clach (1B). This episode reminds me of the 'On The Buses' film where they end up taking a wrong turn and head off up the motorway before rolling into the depot hours later. Old woman duly exits the bus and says 'But I only wanted to go to Tesco!'. Just a slightly late summer bag for me and Alison, and we parked my car due east of the summit. Alan was meeting us after the walk, and it was agreed that we'd see him on the farm track to the north-east. The descent in the dark wasn't helped by bracken eight feet high, and I took a few falls just to make Alison feel better for going arse over tit on Benbeoch. We finally arrived at the track only to be met by the deranged farmer, supposedly worried about someone attempting to nick his quad bike. Despite Alan having already told him that he was waiting for a couple of walking friends, he regaled us by stating that we were entitled to be on the hill, but 'not at night!'. Much threatening and finger-wagging in our faces. Despite our twin axis of reason, he still demanded our names and addresses, before I told him he wouldn't be getting any details and we left the yard. The fun had only just started though, as his headlights came down the track and we realised he was hot on our trail. We ran for the car and he attempted to chase us to Braco, little realising that the owner of the Mazda estate was in fact Fernando Alonso (in a bad mood). Well, my nose was up against the window as we sailed past my own car at ooh, 80mph? We eventually lost the mad farmer, and he wasn't even waiting for me when I got dropped back at my car about an hour later than anticipated. The long drive home was a bit less entertaining than the previous car ride.
FA: Angry farmer not so easy him to lose. Was needed several kilometres and also the changing of the tyres (soon after race chase they need finish). So maybe perhaps DANGER AREA on map means local peoples they have disease of the mad cow.
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