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!

More outings since last time

10th June 2012

This past weekend saw me stay at home after a few weekends away. Saturday turned damp all day around Macclesfield so a spot of domestic tidying and rearranging was a good escape from the conditions though a necessary shopping excursion had me out of doors for a little while too. Sunday may have come better but other matters occupied the day.

The Jubilee bank holiday weekend saw me return to Scotland for the first time in nearly twelve months and I have thoughts about not repeating that again. My base was Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire and I ventured to Dalwhinnie for a trot along the shore of Loch Ericht and to Blair Atholl for an incursion into Glen Tilt. Transport arrangements were such that I got to potter about Pitlochry too before heading off elsewhere for a few hours, with much of that time being spent beside Loch Faskally and River Tummel.

One unusual aspect of this Scottish getaway was that I only decided what I doing up there on my first night away from home. More usually, I leave home with ideas in mind but the weather forecast was such that I only could decide when I saw what I was getting. As it happened, I seemed to escape the deluges that fell elsewhere so I count myself thankful for that. Sun may have been obscured by clouds for much of the time but the only dampness I met was a light dusting of rain on Monday morning.

Temperatures weren’t so high either and that made for pleasant walking conditions in wonderful alluring countryside. The incursions only may have been a taste of what is there but that did nothing to dispel a certain sense of satisfaction from what I had savoured. This contrasts with how I felt after spending a few days in the area nearly six years ago; then, it seemed that I was leaving unsated. Was it that I might have spread myself too thin or that hazy July days didn’t offer much for photography that was the cause of this? If so, it amazes me that I left so much time go before making a return that more than dispelled that previous sensation.

The last weekend of May didn’t have a bank holiday this year and hot sunny weather that visited us. Not only were many of us tempted out of doors to enjoy a brief experience of summer but events such as horse racing at York and the Edinburgh Marathon ensured that train services were far busier than usual too. It was an outing to Alnwick and Warkworth in Northumberland that was the cause of my discovering this for myself. The hot weather dissuaded me from a longer walk so shorter strolls taking in Northumberland’s castles and a little of its coastline seemed a good option, especially after the cold that came my way the previous weekend. Overdoing exertion didn’t look such a bright move to me and taking an easier less hurried course had its rewards too. Sometimes, a slower course reveals more of the character of an area.

Now that we are in June, it is tempting to look ahead to ideas for summer outings. When looking at my annual leave allocation for this year, I decided against an expansive escapade such as heading to the Western Isles. Those days have be rationed so shorter outings will need to be in order. There are no firm ideas in mind and I am grateful for those opportunities that have come my way already this year. Hopefully, there’ll be a few more yet. Could a return to Perthshire’s hill country be among them?

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