Well Done Colin – 15 September 2021

We woke to mist, or was it fog. Whatever it was, it was taking a while to clear. While it was clearing, Went out to take some photos of the sheep in the field across the road. I meant to shoot the sheep, but I got photobombed by the Shetland Pony stallion and I thought “Why not?” The resulting image worked for me.

Just after the sheep and photobombing stallion photo shoot, the mist started clearing quite rapidly and we were off to conquer the Nine Standards. The Nine Standards are nine (strangely enough), mostly conical cairns on top of Nine Standards Rigg which is over 620m above sea level. We weren’t climbing all 620m because Jamie was driving up to a parking place below the start of the main climb. Actually we’d walked the first part of it from Kirkby Stephen to the parking place last year.

The climb, or walk, started off well with Vixen leading the way and at a blistering rate. Scamp and I were bringing up the rear and I will admit that I was feeling the strain after about 20mins, even at Jamie’s relaxed pace. After a while we encouraged Jamie to go on ahead and keep Simonne company. Eventually at about two thirds distance I had to tell Scamp to leave me and walk up to meet the other two. I was almost totally exhausted. However, after about fifteen minutes rest sitting on some sheep droppings, watching the clouds form and reform over the distant hills I felt better, hoisted myself to my feet and plodded on up the never ending hill. Two more stops were needed to catch my breath and a couple of phone calls where I lied to Scamp that I was still sitting comfortably where she’d left me. No way was I going to tell her I was heading for the top. I think the others were almost ready to start the descent when I finally reached the cairns. A chocolate energy bar from Jamie and half a bottle of water sitting at one of the cairns gave me enough or a rest to start the walk down, which Jamie had repeatedly told us was much easier than the climb up.

He was right. The descent was much easier than I though it would be and best of all, instead of an ever present hill in front of us, we had a panorama of hills, blue sky and clouds to keep us interested. On the way down we met a group of three Auld Guys on their way up. We spoke a while to them. The lead walker was 76, the next was 86 and the final member was nearly 90. We were instructed to make sure to say “Well done, Colin” when we met him, and that’s what we did. He just laughed and said “Somebody must be broadcasting it!”

After Jamie drove us home we were treated to another, even more spectacular air show with a low flying helicopter another BAE Hawk. I wonder how much that operation cost. No idea where the helicopter came from, but the jet came all the way from Anglesey.

Scamp an I went for another walk along the road later in the afternoon to loosen our legs. Jamie and Simonne were making Parmigiano Chicken tonight.

The PoD wasn’t the cairns, or the view from the top, but the tree. It’s been in and out of Lightroom a few times since it was taken, but I like the look of it now.

Tomorrow is the day we all know must come. We all go home, but today was mighty!

Away to meet Silvanus – 12 April 2021

It was a lovely day and we had already decided we’d go for a walk up Croy Hill.

Croy Hill is the easier of the two local hills. Bar Hill is a longer slog and nowhere near as dry underfoot as Croy Hill. Both of them were the sites of forts in Roman times. Little remains of the fort on Croy Hill, but on Bar Hill the remains are much more obvious. The initial climb was hard work, but then we’d a gentle rise up to the gate that leads on to the hill proper.

The hill was hoachin’ with walkers. Families, couples and solo walkers too, all headed up and over the hill from both east and west directions. I think one thing was attracting them. Rumour had it that there was a new occupant of the hill. He was over 6m tall and a bit of a hard man. Some called him Silvanus, the Roman’s spirit of the fields, but to me he was Heavy Heid. We were expecting to see him just outside Croy village, but there was no sign of the giant man. It wasn’t until we were walking down the other side towards Dullatur that we got our first sighting of Heavy Heid. He’s quite an impressive sight, looking out to the north and the wild tribes he was helping to protect the civilised southerners from. He was designed by Svetlana Kondakova and really looks the part of a roman centurion.

We took some photos of Heavy Heid, one of which became PoD and then headed back to the car by a lower path that turned out to be the track of an old mineral railway that carried the coal from a colliery near Auchinstarry to the steel making plants of Glasgow and the rest of the central belt. Found some Wood Sorrel plants which are related to Oxalis. Signage on the path could have been better, but luckily there were some walkers out today and they helped us by giving exact directions to get back to Auchinstarry.

Back home in time for lunch. It was an interesting walk. Strenuous climbs in places and then quiet walks through the woods beside the canal. A round trip too, which is always a good thing. I hate going for a walk and then having to come back along the same path. Much more satisfying to find a different way home.

Scamp was eager to get the front grass cut and she wanted the cutter raised on the mower. That change of height of only about 10mm made all the difference it seemed. She did the mowing, I did the strimming. It did look better when we were finished, even if I beheaded one of the daffs when I was strimming.

Tomorrow, Scamp is booked for a walk round St Mo’s with Veronica. I might finally do some painting. I’ll also need to have a look at the iMac which seemed to have a hissy fit tonight.