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A few thoughts again on those that comment on Mountain Accidents.

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Yesterday I fielded a fair few calls from the media after the accident in Torridon  in the North West Of Scotland where an Avalanche took  another life. My thoughts as always are with those involved and especially the family. This is a heavy winter for weather, high winds and heavy snowfall can make conditions hard to judge. Many climbers seek new areas to climb some  in the remoter areas of Scotland places that I also love in far North West. Descents from climbs and summits in bad weather are tricky and there are few other climbers  in the remoter corries ,communications can be and are poor, help can be far away.  Yet these are incredible places to be and you only have to look at the media this weekend to see how many had a wonderful walking weekend climbing and skiing safely in this unique country.

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I was alerted to…

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Against Scottish Wildness

Provocative and interesting.

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Community land ownership and Scotland’s “difficult” places

Beyond the Horizon

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In January 2014 Charles Moore shared his insights on Scottish land reform via a mercifully short Spectator blog. Its hackneyed title – How is Alex Salmond like Robert Mugabe? – suggested that Mr Moore was less than enamoured with the prospect of communities owning the land on which they live. Quite the opposite in fact because according to him:

Without philanthropists, megalomaniacs and serious sportsmen pouring cash in to maintain these difficult places, their communities, and so the environment, would suffer. You can see this happening already in the islands where crofters’ rights have been exercised”.

It’s not immediately clear which Fantasy Islands were populating Moore’s imagination in his portrayal of benevolent private lairds gallantly stepping in to protect otherwise enfeebled and helpless communities with their limitless largesse. They can’t possibly have included the Western Isles where I come from and where I spent a couple of days…

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Why I’m voting YES

A very positive case from Cameron McNeish!

CAMERON McNEISH, Writer & Television Presenter

SOMEONE said to me recently that Alex Salmond has “divided a nation” with the independence referendum, but if division is about discussion, about debate, even friendly argument, with so many people engaged in something as important as the future direction of my country, then I’m absolutely all for it.

I heard someone discuss this on the radio the other morning and he said his family were Italian – and they often have loud, vociferous family arguments about kinds of things – but they still loved each other… 

I think it’s wonderful that a small nation like Scotland can reach this point in considering its future direction with what has been a campaign of hope, optimism and positivity.

But before I set out my reasons for voting Yes I should remind folk that I’m not a politician – mind you, that’s not stopped Danny Alexander from becoming First Secretary to the…

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Spring in my step

Lovely pictures

Running Buffet

One of the best decisions the organisers of the 5×50 challenge have made was to switch from holding the annual challenge in the autumn to the spring. Rather than running up to the last day of British Summer Time, it now starts on the first day of BST and runs for the next 50 days. This means that, rather that getting darker and colder, the weather generally gets better as the challenge progresses. Throughout the challenge I have enjoyed seeing spring blossom so, on one of the days of the challenge, I swapped my 5k run for a 5k walk with my camera to capture some of the sights from the routes I run around Ashburton.

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May 23, 2014 · 7:45 am

Did Someone Say, “Taper”?

Here we are, halfway through my taper. I’ve not been doing much running, but it’s been pretty full-on apart from that.

I made life easy for myself on Friday, just cycling in to the St Andrews, to have a drink at the St Andrews Brewery ‘tap house’.

Jan and I had set the weekend aside for mountain based activities. Seeing the weather forecast, it looked like the east would be best place to be, so we planned a trip to the Cairngorms, with a stay in the small refuge hut in the corrie east of Braeriach. This turned into rather an epic, thanks to tough weather and an already-occupied refuge! Bivvying in light rain, out in the open wasn’t ideal for a romantic night away, but we survived quite well. By Sunday night we were eating Italian buffet at La Taverna in Aviemore: the night before seemed a world away.

Me before my rough night in the Cairngorms!

Me before my rough night in the Cairngorms!

The Lairig Ghru looking like the entrance to Mordor

The Lairig Ghru looking like the entrance to Mordor

The Northern Corries of the Cairngorms, still glowering under at the end of our walk on Sunday

The Northern Corries of the Cairngorms, still glowering under cloud at the end of our walk on Sunday

When I returned to the house on Sunday night, I checked my phone, which I had left behind, for messages, and was partially dismayed, partially delighted to get a message from my friend, Huw asking if I fancied a mountain bike ride in the East Highlands the next day. I was delighted because it sounded like immense fun, and dismayed because my legs were pretty sore. I texted Huw to say I would decide in the morning, but I already knew what I would probably do, and sure enough I was over to his house the next morning with my bike in the car.

We went, with two of his friends, Robbie and Mike, to the Spittal of Glenshee, to ride a circuit that included Glas Tulaichean, a new Munro for me. We enjoyed a fairly sunny, breezy in places, 26-mile circuit, although I pushed rather more of it than the other 3, not being a ‘proper’ mountain biker, or having a ‘proper’ bike.

Grand views over the Grampians

Grand views over the Grampians

The MTB Boys Enjoy a Break

The MTB Boys enjoy a break

My bike, which has hub gears and a fat (29x3) front tyre, but no suspension, was a bit less suited to the more technical parts of the ride: a partial excuse for me to walk a lot!

My bike, which has hub gears and a fat (29×3) front tyre, but no suspension, was a less suited to the more technical parts of the ride: a partial excuse for me to walk a lot!

I’ve not exactly given my legs an easy ride on this part of the taper, but I’ll be away from home right up until the Kent Road runner after tomorrow, so they’ll get plenty of rest before then.

Please don’t forget why I’m blogging:
http://www.justgiving.com/excellentlondonmarathon

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Get to the St Andrews Brew Co. tap house if you get the chance

See what it’s about here.

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