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!

Went a week too early?

11th December 2009

Spending a weekend in Scotland just before the arrival of a sustained spell of settled weather sounds like unfortunate luck but stuff like that just happens. Still, it is the sort of thing that makes for wistful thinking and the only thing for it is to get out among well lit hills and that's what I plan on doing. Imaginings of how wonderful Ardgour and Loch Linnhe could have appeared can only drive one to snatch opportunities when they come the way. Then, there are visions like those of Glenfinnan, Loch Shiel, Loch Eilt, Morar and much more that cause the making of mental notes on the staging of returns. It may be ironic to see good coming of what should be an annoyance but it's thoughts like these that drive you out of any indoors bound rut into which you have fallen and make your way into the outdoors again, no bad thing at all.

There is another way of looking at my luck with the weather. On a near perfect weekend, it may not have been so easy to choose where to spend the time because of nagging doubts as to whether you are in the best spot and making the most of it. That's how it felt after a Spring Bank Holiday visit to Argyll when the weather surprised me with its gorgeous side. Knowing that everywhere is cloudy and being glad of any dryness does put questions like that out of commission.

When travelling south from Fort William on my way home, the situation was that I was coming away satisfied with my lot rather than being frustrated with a lack of sun. As my coach plied the A82, Ardgour's hills were lit up by the morning sun as if it was invitation to the onlooker for either a first or a return visit. Further along, it was the turn of the Black Mount to remind me that I had passed that way too often without stopping either. The angular contrasty light that those hills were catching certainly was a feast for the eyes and etched the idea on following up a hike from Kingshouse to Bridge of Orchy with more. You could say that there was a light show going on in order to draw back whoever was leaving. If anything, it just shows that you are never in a position to say that you are done with anywhere and life would be dull if that ever were possible.

Returning to the present, I plan not to waste the weekend that seems to be coming our way. There are plans and ideas in flux but the hope is that they are turned to good use. Even if it's a matter of blooming where you are planted, something can be made of crisp clear sunny winter days other than dreaming about how those far away hills might be looking. If my efforts reward me with some pleasing photos and some quality quiet time away from the pre-Christmas rush, they'll have been worthwhile.

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