Thursday, 30 August 2007

Bennachie 30.08

Only an hour from car park to summit, despite stopping to prat around with new neutral density filters for camera. I'll see if any worth posting when i get home.
Neutral Density filter. f/5. ISO 800.
Neutral Density filter. f/5. ISO 800.
Neutral Density filter. f/5.6. ISO 200.
Neutral Density filter. f/4. ISO 400.
Tripod. f/14. ISO 800.
Tripod. f/14. ISO 800.
Tripod. f/5.6. ISO 100.
f/3.5. ISO 800.
f/3.5. ISO 800.
f/3.5. ISO 800.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A Gift and A Move

The post delivered an extra package today. The first clue as to the sender was that the weight had been written on the outside of the packet. The second clue was the smell of smoke on opening the parcel. Hmm, a smoker who weights items. The third clue was the enclosed letter from BG!

The gift he sent me was a 1984 edition of "Munro's Tables". There's a useful pronunciation guide and meaning list at the back, and some scary photos in the centre - of which the only one I have seen in reality is "Cairn Toul from Braeriach". (link)

And the move - well, WeirdDarren has finally emigrated from LiveSpaces. He's chosen to go for WordPress, and also his own .com address. The first improvement is that lots of people can leave comments without having to sign up for an account. May all your comments be constructive, Darren.

In summary,

BG! - thanks for the unexpected gift, I've already noticed a name in one of the lists that I'll need to investigate.

Darren - good luck on the move, it can only be an improvement.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

How can it be so Wrong?

I've started wearing my new buff around the flat in the manner of a Victorian night cap. I wonder if Montane make quilted smoking jackets?

Monday, 27 August 2007

Nasty Piece of Work

I've been banned from the outdoors bloggers forum! I can't remember what the last thing I said was, something about open source graphics software called The G.... ahhhh, I remember Pulp Fiction, maybe someone thought we were talking about M&S, or something.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

My Munros

Mosh up of Google Maps and My Maps

Dave's Great Climb

Dave MacLeod's gives his account of the climb up Hell's Lum in the Cairngorms (the one that he was going to do in last weekend's canceled "Great Climb").

A fall from anywhere on the second half of pitch one is unlikely to be survivable.

Well done, Dave. Link to Dave's blog.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Mike's Presentation

When Mike woke up and then spent ages chatting up/to some lass in Spain, he popped round for a coffee and received his presentation AktoMug. There's only three in existence just now. If you want one yourself, they are at the shop - watch for the shipping if you are ordering from outside the USA. Each month I'll be changing the message on the side of the mug so that they are timestamped (eg August has July's number of visitors).

Mike's AktoMug

For those not aware, Mike designed the AktoMan logo (link). He also pushed me into buying the dSLR and sourced a zoom lens for me. Cracking chap, not an evil, nasty bone in his body ... it's all in his brain!

Mike's busy working on Mark's current film release, and now a new project too - which sounds great.

Buff Nr 3

I was distracted by the word "sale" in Blacks' windows and came out with my third buff. I went for a tribal design, brown base colour. Some of the folk at work were interested, and one reckoned it could be worn as a yarmulka - and we managed it.

Back at Work

Sunny Aberdeen
Helping with some more inductions. If i had just been looking out of the window, this is the view south.

Beach at Dusk

Aberdeen Beach

Aberdeen Beach, looking north.

Aberdeen Beach

Panorama of Aberdeen Beach, looking north.

Vessels leaving the harbour

Vessels leaving the harbour.

Support vessels

Support vessels.

Marine Operations Centre

Aberdeen Harbour Marine Operations Centre.


Esplanade, looking north.

Boy racers

Boy racers.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Following MapleKiwi's lead, I applied for a rating for this blog. I feel slightly disappointed that I didn't at least get a 'parental guidance' rating.

Mingle2 - Phoenix Singles

There is, however a $2000 dollar reward on my blog. Look, I never touched that hamster. I was just cruising around.
What's Your Blog Wanted For?

Free Online Dating from Mingle2


I think I spotted Chris Townsend on the STV news today in a crowd of people protesting about wind factory proposals on the Dava moorland. He wasn't interviewed, and appeared out of most shots, or with his back to the camera. I think they were avoiding him, as he knows The Truth of it all.

STV news link

OfCom Report 07

Article on the BBC News page states "Britain enjoying 'digital boom' " (link). The article mentions that Ofcom "said Briton's were getting increasingly sophisticated in their use of communications technologies and often used several concurrently. For instance, a teenager playing an online game might take a picture of a high score or achievement unlocked while they play then text or e-mail it to friends or add it to a website or Facebook page."

This all related to the release of OfCom's 4th annula report into the communication's market (link). It looks ike it will be an interesting read, with such facts as:

The communications sector plays a vital role in the UK’s economy and in the life of its citizens. We estimate that revenue of over £50bn was generated in 2006 by a combination of broadcasting and telecoms networks and services. And figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that in terms of Gross Value Added, telecoms, broadcasting and the content-related components of the creative industries contribute over three times as much as the UK’s electricity, gas and water supply industries combined.

But that people who own personal video recorders tend to fast-forward through adverts. No suprise there, Sherlock.

Petzl Tikka Plus

Well, i lasted back at work until Thursday lunchtime, and then the need to hit a gearshop was too strong to resist. With recent issues relating to my use of the e+lite as a main light, i knew i'd come out with a new headtorch. As i already have the 3 led Petzl, the 4 led Tikka+ was the logical choice. I managed to get one of the older designs as it had a rad brown design on the head band. Just to be dif, dude.

Past Tents

I picked up on this from DigitalKatie - "Past Tents: The Way We Camped" an exhibition on camping by the California Historical Society. Link. There's a link from Berkeley, with a better photo.

I'm not sure if Susan Snyder's book of the same title is related to the exhibition, but I'd guess so. Link

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Gypsy Rose BG!

He's moved again for tax reasons - BG!'s caravanette of solitude can be found at

Monday, 20 August 2007

Inside the Great Climb

Dave MacLeod's posted his account of the weekend's canceled "The Great Climb". The post title "The Great Frustration" says it all. Link

PS, if you haven't seen them, there are some archived video clips on the BBC site (link), including a "sequence, shot in the Cairngorms and featuring the Cairngorm MRT and the crew from RAF Lossiemouth, shows what happened on a particularly difficult day in the northern corries."

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Legal Assault

Just caught the ITV news and was surprised to see a UK copper taking swings at climate change protesters running past him. He made no attempt to arrest them, remaining stationary, just using his 'asp' to hit out at their legs as they ran past him.

Of course, that was just the edited ITV/ITN highlight, and I'm sure no British policeman would be caught doing anything like that outside of the television editing suite. Maybe he was part of an arrest team, marking the bad guys for arrest, or something like that. Maybe.

World Pipe Band Championships

BBC1 showing the World Pipe Band Championships just now. The pipes and drums had to cope with terrible weather. The most colourful had to be the pipe band from Lahore. I then noticed why it was raining - Colin MacLeod from "Tir is Teanga" was one of the BBC presenters. For family reasons I'm rooting for the Shotts and Dykehead.

Big Climb take 2

Having been postponed yesterday due to bad weather, hopefully it happens today. There was a series of interviews on Saturday mornings "Out of Doors", talking about the extent of the 'leave no trace' policy, which includes tidying up other people's rubbish.

You can listen again to the program if you wish. Live feed can be viewed on the website (where I notice they say 3pm start, as opposed to 1pm mentioned yesterday).

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Bailed Out

View from Kenknock
I waited for Malcolm and party to arrive, for his compleation trek up Sgiath Chuil. Sadly i can't make it, so gave him the cake and malt that i was going to break out on the summit. Cancelled the campsite and heading home. Bleah.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Duvet day the Akto way

Private Road
Stomach fires raged all day and when i went to move, it was a struggle against my stomach muscles and aching head. I dozed, listened to radio, working up motivation and failing. Repeat cycle for just short of 12hrs. Broke camp as midges swarmed - so much for vitamin b and arnywear though it does seen to work on contact. Struggled back to car, listening to radio to keep my mind off things. Got to Killin, with it's Co-op that doesn't shut until 10pm and dosed up on antacid and milkbased food. I'm off to tomorrow's meeting place to sleep in car in case i'm fit enough to hike.
Heading out

Feeling down in the valley

Nearest I got to Beinn Sheasgarnaich
4 hrs after waking up and all i've done is have some isotonic drink to try and waken me up. Head hurts and stomach is on fire. A glorious day for hiking and i just can't be arsed. I thought of pulling myself up Beinn Sheasgarnaich, and then to the jumping off point for tomorrow, missing the 2 other munros i had hoped to do. I don't know if imodium is an antacid, so i'm not going to risk it. Going for the old favourite of hot water instead. Cicerone 'wilderness medicine' book recommends antacid tabs, milk or yoghurt. Radio Scotland had phone-in earlier on best and worst places to visit in Scotland. So i don't feel guilty about not bagging munros today and having a relaxing day off instead - if only i could quell the fire in my gut. And then tab it 9km overland toyards Meall Glas.
View from Akto

The King lives on

Pitched by a stone building by an allt at NN 447 393. About 2km short of where i hoped to be. Deer around, stags barking. No sign of humans since a solitary Ute drove by, spooking some deer that i hadn't seen. Heartbreak Hotel played on radio to reinforce the loneliness. Isotonic drink and a Melton Mowbray pork pie, then bed.

Milton's Revenge

Thursday evening. I shouldn't have mentioned Milton in previous post. Turns out i did bring along the taste of Milton, having forgotten to properly rinse the sterilising tablet taste out of my hydration bag. Doh! If i don't get luck with text signal, happy birthday Mum.Tabbing it up a private road to get to my jumping off point for tomorrow. I can see many of the 5 munros that i have to get up by 1pm on Saturday.
The writing's on the road
Local humour

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Meall Ghaordaidh

Meall Ghaordaidh
Munro 45. Why? 1039m and i've been asking myself that for over half the trek. It proves nothing to me, it only burns off the rubbish i've been eating, so why bother going out. Oh, i can see more of remote and beautiful Scotland. So what? I could do that in front of the telly or via the Web. What have i achieved that taking up jogging wouldn't do? And it'd be cheaper too. No arguments over tents, tarps, fuel, boots, shoes, magazines, forums or the like. Ah well, best get off this lump of rock and find a pitch for the night. I should have brought some Milton to read, that'd cheer me up.
Meall Ghaordaidh
Meall Ghaordaidh
Summit of Meall Ghaordaidh
Meall Ghaordaidh (1039m/3409ft) [Munro 45]
View from Meall Ghaordaidh
View from Meall Ghaordaidh
Rainbow off Meall Ghaordaidh

Shooty and BangBang

I suppose it is a sign of the times we live in that you can buy bullet-proof backpacks and stab-proof hoodies. Will it lead to people putting themselves into more dangerous situations because they think they can survive it? Be safe, use Hill Phones instead.


There's a community website, and a webcam - I like the archives. There are places of interest listed in the village history page.

Held up by Hiro

Late night route-planning session due to watching two episodes of "Heroes" and not wanting to miss any of it - especially Hiro's expressions. And because present-day-Hiro is speaking Japanese, his conversations are subtitled, so I cannot look away to read or look at a map. YouTube clip

Picked up some more OS Explorer maps on Wednesday in Tisos with the great 3-for-2 offer on. Also got the SMC book on the Southern Highlands. I think I now have all the Munro-region books ... no, just checked, and I don't have The Islands (inc Skye) yet (link). As I only buy them when I need them, it will be a while before I buy that one.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Gunther's Big Day

Help guide Gunther through a series of bouldering problems in this online game. There's a stand-alone PC based game too; with this note from the producer: For every game we sell from this page, we'll donate $10 to the Access Fund and 
The Boulder Project!


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Life, said Marvin

This came in from my usual source of such things - the URL says it all, I guess.

Well, it can be if you let it, and sometimes bad things just happen.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Dave MacLeod

Well, he's got a blog, he's called MacLeod, but there any similarities end. Have a look at his site and see his climbs. I have difficulty climbing out of bed in the morning!

He also has another blog at

If you haven't already got the recorder set - there's a day of live climbing on BBC2 in the Cairngorms. As it seems to be mainly BBC2 Scotland, out of the Chosen Nation, have a look on Sky channels.

Post Retort

A point-by-point reply to answer to Darren's "Brecon Beacon Bloggers Meet" - nae hoorhouse sidestep from me.

  1. we missed a turning to Neath
    No, I (me) missed the turning, there was no "we".
  2. Duncan was finding that the E-Lite is not really suited for night walking
    I'd used it in the dark before, and it does the job as a path-walker's torch. But with brighter torches around, the photons seem to get beaten up. I've already looked out my old Petzl Tikka to put in the pack.
  3. Duncan erected the object of his year long tent lust
    Love, not lust.
  4. Duncan striking that classic pose looking for his Akto (it's behind you)
  5. Photo
    Bob - man maketh fire. Poor chap, he's turning a few twigs and hygiene products into a flame that will cook their dinner, and we are cracking jokes.
  6. So sorry folks if you think I was being anti social I wasn't honest.
    More whisky, saké, gin, chocolate, Hello Kitty sweets (no, it's not catfood), seaweed cakes, fruit brittles, etc for the rest.

En Route, the Flying Scot

Yorkshire eye
Filled with festival folk, the train pushes on.
Past village and town, iron angel, cafe boat.
The talk inside is of plays and band,
as removed from the land as this tent inner fan.

On to the border the sun is still flickering,
the Welsh rockers stop bickering
about names hysterical.
The people before talked of Shakespeare and rhyme.
But they left the carriage when we crossed the Tyne.

Over the Tweed, we're into Berwick station:
is this the land of the Scot or still the Angle's nation?
We're into the Southern Upland, where coins merk the Way.
But the talk is of Chuck Norris, straight or gay.
Talking more shite, not watching the view.
No thoughts of Nature in any but the few.
The male train continues to Waverley terminus,
where Scott and his prose is ignored by the detritus.

London, Aye

I'm having a nice morning in London. There, i said it. It's not a crime. Due to nice train staff, i got in early after a night at Darren's (thanks again to the WD household and sorry for any upsets caused), i have a couple of hours to bimble between stations. And see the sights.
Newton at British Library

Human Resources

User-generated content isn't just for today, but for tomorrow too. I'd written about that previously but i'll need to work on the searchability of the blog too. What's the point of having information if someone can't find it. There should be a search box in the top-left corner, but i've not really tested it. If it falls short, I'll look for a better widget. The tag cloud is another way to find posts, but every time i add a new folksonomic word to the category list, i need to add that word to previous posts too. Meaning that there's no guarantee of 100% accuracy. So, if there's something you think i might know about (eg whisky sauce) ask and i can point you to the right post, or pass you to somewhere that might know (eg one of the outdoor forums) or i could suggest using a search engine.
Hazards to walkers

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Brecon Beacons day 2

Damp start to the day. We tabbed it back to car.
Mike's sheltered pitch
Mike's sheltered pitch
Sunday morning
Low cloud in Wales
Our tent/tarp lines.
Fortress of Solitude
Darren's Fortress of Solitude.
Sunday farewells
Sunday farewells
Tabbing it out
We leave the hill behind us and all head down the single-track road.
We made it back to the car, where I covered my matted hair with my sporty new AktoCap.
Welsh roundabout
Darren recognised the Tescos and made a quick call to Jules and Stu, who greeted us with not only a cup of tea but also a full cooked breakfast. And a recommendation for sun cream that lasts all day. And a look at the glasses that Jules paints (available through ebay and taking orders for Christmas already). Nice visit; nice folk; thanks for the break. And the sun's come out again. Only my third time in Wales and the people and Nature have all made up for me being asked to leave during my first visit. It has been a voyage of wonder for me. No sign of a black land rover being driven by a chap in WW2 RAF uniform. Oh, love what they've done with the language, even the roadwork signs are bilingual. Arafwch. 400 llath. Am 6 milltir. Achub di-dal.
Leaving Wales