Monday, 22 January 2018

The City With a Park in the Sky

Most cities have parks. But how many do you know with a park in the sky?

Edinburgh is one.



The citizens of Edinburgh are spoilt for choice. On a sunny day they can visit the beach at Portobello, the miniature mountain of Arthur's Seat, riverside walks along the Water of Leith and River Almond or city centre parks like Princes St Gardens and the Meadows.

And when the sunshine is combined with snow there is one obvious choice. The Pentlands, easily accessible at the end of a couple of city bus routes.



The Pentlands used to be the haunt of the shepherd and the nature-lover. But that was a few decades ago. Now they are a popular destination for local people, a couple of broad new paths cut across their slopes that can be taken to with ordinary shoes and bicycles.



Not everyone is happy about this desecration of the landscape. But everyone we saw seemed happy enough today.



And why wouldn't they be, when you get to the top and gain vistas like these just a couple of miles from the city's edge?

Monday, 15 January 2018

Heaven is a Place on Earth...

Climb Rois Bheinn on a fine winter day and you will probably be able to work out where it is.

Rois Bheinn (pron. Roshven) is a Corbett in one of Scotland's most under-appreciated areas.

Not Skye, whose hotspots are apparently overrun by tourists, or the North Coast 500, whose success means some tortuous roads in the north-west will have to be upgraded.

This is Moidart, part of a 45 by 30 mile lozenge of land south of the A830 still only lightly touched by tourism or outdoorsy types.

Rum from Rois Bheinn:


Heaven requires a bit of work: there's hoof-churned fields to wade through first (reminiscent of Gigha's Isle of Mud) and a relentless climb up steep, tussocky ground. These bogs are hard going in descent, especially if you've stayed up high for sunset and are coming down in the dark.

Seasoned hillwalkers are used to this: it's the price you pay for getting the good stuff.

Cold river:


Snow:


The figure in the photo below was taking pictures of the sunset. He was disappointed because the views weren't as good as he hoped. Apparently if the north-west hadn't clouded over an hour before sunset it would be even better.



Let that sink in a bit.

He thought this was shite.



But for us it was a little slice of heaven, carved out of a sunny winter's day.