It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my
countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to
inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.
Eventually, my ongoing attention to website appearances was going to include what you find here. The changes have been evolutionary and updated some underlying technologies as well. There has been simplification too as well as some rethinking of what should be in the different sections.
All the images in the photo gallery are now the same size and many film photos were rescanned. Some have been replaced with digital ones and the prospect of doing so was the cause of some added trip ideation. In part, the wanderings around Calderdale, Marsden and Hadfield were inspired by this and day trips to Dublin and the Lake District also aided the effort. Some photos were removed without the prospect of any replacement too. Sometimes, images can feature subjects that no longer inspire or have been added when photo albums acted as components of trip reports, things that now appear on this blog. Times change and so do we.
As I was doing all this, knowledge of the happenings in Ukraine hit hard since global wanderings feel more plausible in the absence of global strife. That feeling has eased now and several trips to Ireland have happened. These took me to places new and old. The former of these included Lough Derg, the Slive Felim hills and the Clare Glens while the latter included Killarney and parts of West limerick like Adare. More may follow yet.
Ideas for entries on this blog are bubbling up in my mind recently so there is a number of posts that I’d like to add. However, that idea for a local photographic project has taken flight and I have been sprucing up the Cheshire East album in the photo gallery, even adding new and updated photos. Last Saturday’s sunshine wasn’t wasted since my Cheshire landmarks project had me out on the bike looping from home to Lyme Park and back again; I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for going further afield, something that I’d better not allow to become a habit and that’s too easy at this time of year. Even without the photographic success, the day would have been an enjoyable (and relaxing) one and I’ll be telling you more about it in the fullness time. In the meantime, another bank holiday weekend replete with a mixed weather forecast is upon us so further writings on here will have to wait.
This morning, a new box arrived and subsequent attention devoted to it took up the most of the day. The result is that I have set up a new main home PC offering a home for the various bits and pieces that have been scattered about the place for the last two months. Laptops and external hard drives are all very fine but I prefer to have a next to everything in a single place if I can. Now that I am more organised again, I can settle things in at my leisure and without any encroachment on taking advantage of whatever walking or cycling opportunities that come the way.
Speaking of the laptop, one of its last acts before its role of main PC was usurped by a desktop computer again was to prepare some photos taken on that stroll in Inverness last month for the photo gallery. You’ll find them in the Northern Scotland section after being deposited there with the new machine. My mind has been set to wondering what other new additions might follow them but no decisions have been made just yet.
Though heavy rain is passing through, today wouldn’t have been bad for a walking or cycling trip; rain arrived later in the day to my neck of the woods. Also, once the dampness has moved on, tomorrow may well offer its chances for escape out of doors. After all, one whole day messing with computers at a time has to be enough for anyone.
After walking it in a piecemeal fashion over the course of a few years, I finally completed the West Highland Way in August of 2007. Following that and a number of entries on this blog, I set up a West Highland Way section on my photo gallery with a view to completing it with more new photos in the fullness of time. In fact, it has taken until now for me to add photos for the piece between Inverarnan and Bridge of Orchy and there could be more when I get to looking at some of the photos that I captured on film about the same time (I was capturing more vistas on film than digitally in those days, a trend that was reversed in the intervening period).
Looking back over photos can set the mind to wandering and various ideas began to bubble up in mine. For one thing, I am considering re-walking the WHW between Glen Coe and Kinlochleven on a sunnier day than the one on which I actually walked that part of the trail. That would let me acquire more pleasing photos than what I have for for it already. It wouldn’t be the first time that I walked a section of the way since I trekked the section between Kinlochleven and Fort William twice. A cloudy day attenuated photographic exploits the first time around and the weather that I enjoyed on the second occasion couldn’t have been better. Another part that saw me revisiting was a short stretch east of Tyndrum and that wasn’t done for any other reason than to make good use of a wait for the next train or bus to come and allow me to continue my southbound journey after a weekend spent in Argyll.
Other thoughts followed with explorations of the hill country at either side of the way lining up for consideration. One such option was a trek from Inverarnan to Dalmally that I undertook last May but there remain many others. The hills at either side of Strath Fillan attract attention for one thing and those near Tyndrum such as Ben Lui and Ben Dubhcraig enticing the mind, if only to confirm what hills are in photos that I already made. Looking towards Bridge of Orchy yields a number of options with making an ascent of the rounded humps of Beinn Udlaidh and Beinn Bhreac-liath as just one of this. My head for heights is far from being of climbing calibre so I prefer my hills not to have frightening gradients when it comes to reaching their summits and, more importantly, getting back down again. The location of the twosome in question must mean that appealing views towards the Black Mount and Rannoch Moor are on offer. Then, there’s the prospect of longer walks either through Glen Lyon to Killin or through Glen Kinglass to the shores of Loch Etive with options from the foot of that glen to continue to Glen Coe or Taynuilt. These options might make for two-day backpacking hikes for when I finally get to add wild camping to my repertoire of outdoors skills but one also could be seen as a long day walk.
All in all, casting my mind over older outings has yielded ideas for the future and in an area that hasn’t seen my footfall for a while. They might come in handy for an occasion that surprises me with good weather and it’s never any harm to see a new side of an area that you already visited.
The greyness of the weekend did nothing to shift my inclination to stay put at home. To be honest, I was in that mood anyway and I could have made something of yesterday and today if I was so determined. January hasn’t had a bad start and I did get in some lunchtime walking this past week and my surroundings looked ever so enticing with that dusting of snow that was gifted to us earlier in the week. The weather over the Christmas wasn’t so unkind to us either, even if it did require us to wrap up warm when going out of doors. I was in Ireland for that and got some short walks too, even if that meant tarmac bashing for most of the time. Some sunshine was visited upon us when the grey gloom wasn’t about and we ended up on the Dingle Peninsula for a few hours. That meant that a number of photos were made in the late afternoon sunshine and some of these have found their way into the Kerry section of the photo gallery. There some photos taken on a quick visit to Dublin’s Phoenix Park before Christmas that are candidates for addition too once I decide which ones make the cut. Thinking back over 2008, I think that it has one of the better years when it comes to my taking good photos in the land of my birth. I can only hope that 2009 brings more of the same.