Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Snow for Christmas

Snow, snow everywhere. Driving back from Glasgow on Sunday night from playing a gig, I got stuck on the M8. A skidding lorry had blocked the road, but I managed to divert through deepest Lanarkshire / West Lothian, the ghostly sight of the Five Sisters bing letting me know that I was past the worst.

Ascending the Pentland Hills:


On Monday, the last of the Christmas shopping: and yesterday, a trip up the Pentlands, a lung-freshening burst of exercise on hills whose snowy slopes were making an impression of a compressed Highlands, only half an hour from my house and an hour up to the top.

Forth Bridges glimpsed from the ridge of the Pentlands:


From the top of Allermuir Hill, Edinburgh is revealed, the whole of the Firth of Forth below. Yesteday the sun had gone, a fog crept up the Forth, columns of smoke from Grangemouth rising high in the air and beyond the haar, beyond the dull Ochils, a brilliant flash of bright white - the Highlands were in sunshine.

Edinburgh Castle from Allermuir Hill:


But the most satisfying sight was back along the range towards the twin peak of East and West Kip: I made a snowball and a hillrunner appeared round a hummock, asking apprehensively:

"Is that snowball for me?"

In the Pentlands:


Back down, the road traffic was busier than usual, as was the car park at Ikea and the out-of-town shopping centre. It's always good under these conditions to snatch a hill instead. For those of you getting up to the Highlands for a number of days walking this holiday, I envy you.

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