I have been reading an interesting PDF download recently - Hillfit, by TGO fitness contributor Chris Highcock. It is about that most important piece of equipment/skill for getting outdoors - fitness. "I am not a gear geek and I get tired of the way in which kit dominates the outdoor magazines and blogs," writes Chris, "as if all you really need is another tent or pair of trousers to transform your time outside." Seditious talk for someone who writes for Britain's most popular hillwalking glossy. I like it already and we are only on the second paragraph.
Back in the days when I went out every weekend, I found that I was taking less and less gear up the hill, in summer at least (winter is a whole different story). A weather forecast, a map, and decent shoes are the only special equipment necessary. But only if you are fit.
A couple of years ago I badly twisted my knee and it took nearly a year to get back to full fitness. In truth I've never fully recovered.
Hillfit is the book I've been needing, the missing piece of a jigsaw. I've been vaguely aware of the need to do something about strengthening my knee/core strength, without knowing exactly what. This seems to be the very book for me. I will report back in a later post if I have found it makes a difference.
And so to the moonlight...
The crisp, clear evenings and full moon recently have made for excellent night time walking conditions. Being out and about at night gives a wonderful sense of adventure. With everything looking different and everyone else snug in their homes, you do not need to range far for a new experience. I was in the Borders at the weekend and took a wander across snowy fields, the stars above, warm yellow light spilling out onto the downy snow from the windows of farmhouses. It is always a marvel to be able to see well at night. I felt a tug towards the trig-pointed hill in the distance but, conscious that I hadn't told anyone I was going far, resisted. An owl hoo-wooed and I stopped for a while to try to locate it. On the way back, in the middle of a field, stood a fox. It just stopped and stared as I stopped and stared back. I thought only city foxes were so bold. I have still to work out how to get decent pictures at night, so you will just have to make do with this little pen picture. Get out at night in the snow if you can.