Monday, 7 January 2008

Two festive walks

To Loch Earn and a Boxing Day hill with old friends. Still, reflective lochs, dark ground, moss-covered stones, rushing streams everywhere. Mince pies, lentil soup. Home-made tablet and whisky. Too many conversations, too many things to say to keep up with them all. Irrepressible laughter over tiny reminisces. Stupid jokes. Running in circles just for the hell of it. Just a little slippery, slushy, rubbishy snow on top, and straight back down. Dinner in the Kingshouse at Balqhuidder. "Thanks for the photos," said one companion back home. "But who's the fat man wearing my clothes?" Cobwebs cleared. Bonhomine.

To Loch Tay and a New Year hill. Terrible weather, loads of snow - knee deep and very hard work. Maybe not the fastest of ascents, but a real calorie burner. White-furred mountain hares everywhere. Deer tracks in the trees. Spoke to a few folks: the shepherd said there were ptarmigan on the hill in the past. Not any more though. Friendly locals. Quiet time of year. Crazy to be up on the tops. Whiteout and spindrift. Cup of tea in Dunkeld and glad to get aching legs home for a hot bath. Knackered.

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