The last time I took JD to the hills, on the way back to the car he suddenly veered off the track, dropped his trousers and took an outdoor brownpiece in full view of a train that was approaching along a nearby line. I think he was hoping that it was the passenger train to Fort William carrying English tourists, and as he doesn’t have a vote in the forthcoming referendum (even though he’s Scottish), the dump could have been his alternative political statement. However, the train turned out to be carrying goods (freight).
I made sure of no similar incident this time by selecting a mountain nowhere near a train line. I chose Carn Bhac, which was mentioned in the Outdoors section of The Scotsman by Robin Howe on 31st May. Howe wrote that the 9 mile route takes 5 hours. We took a different route down from the top which added a further 3 miles, and it took us a lot longer than 5 hours because we stopped several times to enjoy the views. Lindsey was very tired by the time we drove back from Inverey to the campsite at Braemar, and refusd to walk to the pub.
On the walk we saw a hare, many grouse, a frog, and a first for me – an adder.
By the time I managed to get my camera out of my bag the adder was disappearing quickly down a hole. You can just make out an inch of an adder tale in the above photo, bottom centre, between the two stones, and see enlarged section below.
In the Allt Connie, JD found the remains of a Happy 40th inflatable balloon, which he took home and put in a rubbish bin.
View towards Glen Tilt
The north summit
We went to see Davina and the Vagabonds at the Tron Kirk, on Saturday, as part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival. Excellent! A versatile band, playing blues, jazz, swing, New Orleans, boogie and rock ‘n roll.
In my opinion, the crux of the forthcoming referendum issue is a squabble about oil.
We’ve seen this sort of thing many times before in various parts of the world, and as natural resouces get more scarce, there will be further examples.
The Biafran struggle, when a part of Nigeria declared independence – the Biafran war was largely a struggle over who controlled and benefitted from the oil in that region. Renewed Argentinian nationalistic claims over Islas Malvinas/Falklands grow as soon as there are new hydrocarbon activities in that area. Many of the conflicts during the past century in Iraq have had oil at their heart, and now we’re seeing the possible emergence of new nation states in that region – one of the first things that the Kurds have done is to divert oil supplies under their control. The secession of Katanga from the Congo in 1960 wasn’t about oil, but rather other natural resources (copper, gold, uranium). There are often outside, or commercial forces which are able to influence such situations.
It’s the same thing, once again, in Scotland, isn’t it?
At least the nats in Scotland recognise the importance of the oil question. If it isn’t really about oil – if it is really about a nation wanting independence – then why don’t the nationalists say, “We’ll donate all the future revenues from North Sea oil to the Red Cross”. Then we’d see to what extent the feelings for nationhood are real, rather than about greed for control over natural resources.
We tried out canoeing at the weekend on Loch Lomond, with Keith from Paddlepower and Adventure. In the past, we’ve kayaked a few times, but this was our first time in a canoe. Canoeing is very good fun, and you don’t get so cold and wet as in a kayak. On the other hand, to work a two-man canoe effectively you need good communication between the person in the front, and the person in the back. I was the one in the back, and thought that my communications to the one in the front (Lindsey) were good, but Lindsey reckoned that Keith, the guide, had probably never heard two people disagreeing and arguing so much.
Our course was rather zig-zag to start off with, until the person in the front eventually heeded my instructions.
Two other people went on the trip.
I think that this look says “Could you be a bit more specific with your steering instructions?”
We started at Luss, and guided by Keith, paddled round the island of Inchtavannach. For an inland loch, the water on the way back was surprisingly rough.
Whilst up in Aberdeenshire, we visited Drum Castle, a grand pile. The tower dates back to the 14th century, a wing was added in the early 17th century, and more parts in Victorian times. The garden is interesting, and there’s also a nice Old Wood walk.
One of the sessions at the CILIP meeting the other day was about Access to Research. The Access to Research service is a new initiative to give free, walk-in access to a wide range of academic articles and research in public libraries across the UK
Over 1.5 million academic articles are available, free of charge, in participating public libraries across the UK.
What I had not previously realised is that, whilst access to the full text of the articles is only available if you use the service from a public library, you can in fact search the database from anywhere.
We were proud parents to see our son Shaun graduate from Aberdeen University, on Monday, in Geology & Petroleum Geology.
Lindsey, Shaun, Charlie, Charlie’s Mum
Penny, Caro, Lindsey, Shaun
Shaun & Charlie
It was nice that his aunties came. Missing from the graduation was Jamie, who is in Ghana, but I’m sure that Shaun’s darling brudda was thinking about him.