Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

How far west?

10th November 2009

One thing that is easy to forget is that the British mainland is not aligned along the Greenwich meridian but at an angle to it. One of the effects of that state of affairs is that Edinburgh and Manchester are nearly lined up in a straight north-south line, even if shadowing the coast and finding a line of least resistance through any hill country means that your route gains an elbow and that certainly is the case if you travel by train. Travel on the East Coast Mainline also veers away from what might be termed direct with the result that the journey time between Newcastle and Edinburgh is of the order of 90 minutes.

The cause of this being brought to my attention was my pondering a short getaway that arrests any decline into end of year torpor or, better still, punctuates it so much that it is stopped in its tracks. During these episodes of plotting, eyes are cast over maps and that's when it came home to me that I was next to immediately north of Donegal in Éire when I was on South Uist last year. What really made this plain were the similarities in the predicted weather for Wicklow and Mallaig for the coming weekend when I last looked on Metcheck. However, you do need a longitudinal west/east split to make this kind of thing plain, especially to make it dawn on you for the first time. Of course, a split can be north/south or any other combination too as the weather enjoyed on my trip to the Western Isles was to prove.

As regards my plotting, that is a work in progress so things are in a fluid state. The good thing about that is that I wouldn't be ruling out the possibility of a short Scottish escapade if it makes me an offer. After all, when you fancy rupturing a continuity that feels like a rut, taking yourself somewhere else for a little while is just the thing. If the everyday clutter can be left behind you and there is a chance of a fresh start, it works even better. For me, this is what the long break around Christmas and New Year does every year but once a year can never be enough. In fact, it is for that very reason that I want to disembark for while from the juggernaut that could land me on the doorstep of that much hyped season before I know it. Letting life carry you along is too easy so clearing some space and time to force a restart as well as allowing those batteries to be recharged only can be a good thing.

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