A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Hooptedoodle #88 - Back in Training

With the prospect of some serious walking in the Salzkammergut next month, and very much aware that I haven’t had much exercise since Hadrian’s Wall last Autumn (what with the flu and other distractions), I went up into the Pentland Hills yesterday with Nick.

Very pleasant day – marvellous views – but once again Scotland did its famous climate trick. Having been persuaded by the warm sunshine to leave my extra fleece in the car, I found the wind at the top of Carnethie so cold that I would have been very pleased to have taken it with me. Unusual naivety for us – I always work on the principle that it is easier to remove extra clothing and carry it than to put on clothing that you didn’t bring along.

Good walk – I’m a bit stiff this morning with the climbing – I’m sure that Carnethie gets steeper each year. In truth, some of the climbing does get harder, and much of this is down to the worsening erosion of the paths – the climb up Scald Law and down its Western side is pretty tricky now with all the scree and broken stone.  Especially since there are a great many sheep and lambs on the hills, I am amazed that it was possible to meet an unleashed rotweiler on a narrow ledge – is it just me, or are there a few dog owners who don’t seem to have much of a grip on reality?

Happiness, by the way, is finding a pork pie in your packed lunch when you are on top of a hill.

We think this one is Castlelaw - if you have exceptional eyesight you
may be able to make out the army rifle range targets, right of centre

Looking south-east from the lower slopes of Turnhouse Hill. The hills in
the distance are the Lammermuirs

Nick conquers the pile of rubble which used to be a cairn on top of Carnethie

Fearsome sight - Foy on campaign in Flaming June. In the background are
Scald Law and East Kip, and then, further away, we must be getting
into Lanarkshire
The walks in the Salzkammergut, we think, will be rather less demanding than some of the Alpine stuff we did in the Tyrol in the last two years, but one has to be ready. Part of the script for yesterday was to try out my new boots, but I had not yet got around to wearing them in the house first, so I used my old ones. Yes - we'll just have to go out again as soon as possible.

My planned September break this year will not involve anything as daunting as Hadrian's Wall - the intention is to make a serious assault on the coffee shops of Regensburg and Vienna. I'll need to get in some training for that, too, now I think of it.

In passing, I might mention that Nick and I were discussing yesterday whether Captain Scott and his chaps on their South Pole trip spent much time saying, "Gosh, what a fantastic view!", or even, "Ooh, it's freezing here".

Oh, my aching sides
Also in passing, I got a quick blood-pressure workout at the end of our walk when we got back to the car park at Flotterstone and I found this attached to my car. After the initial self-righteous panic, I quickly realised that it was a spoof, and contained some advice on how to avoid having your vehicle broken into when it is unattended, authored by some well-intentioned bunch of cretins known as the Penicuik Crime Prevention Panel. It certainly got my attention, but how hilarious is that for an idea? One way of preventing break-ins, of course, is to put a sniper in the trees to pick off any unauthorised person going within 3 feet of the car. 


  1. The scenery looks worth the hike. Despite knowing better, it still almost surprises me at times that there are still rural, even wild areas in a country whose overall population density is 10 times greater than that of Nova Scotia.

    I agree that taking off and carrying a coat is easier than putting on one that is not to hand but the trick is measuring the ease against the third option of shivering, using warm language and being cold. Apparently Scott's diary included the entry "Great God! This is an awful place"

    Now since the mere mention has awoken an old ear worm, I offer:
    Al Stewart's Antarctica

    1. In Scotland, we adopt the cunning strategy of having 75% of the population living in an area which might be loosely termed Greater Glasgow. They seem to be happy enough there, crowding into McDonald's and so forth, and it works out well for those who prefer our countryside a bit empty. Not sure about the rotweiler.

  2. Spectacular countryside! Last weekend we were in your neck of the woods for our daughter's wedding - Seton Collegiate Church - a truly fantastic day. We had the reception at Garvald village hall (just a few miles from Haddington). Had the most bizarre coach ride ever back from the event when the coach driver set out across the moors in the wrong direction on single track roads, got stuck on a narrow bridge and then on a hairpin bend. Took four hours to cover 15 miles. The bus got back to Edinburgh in time to get caught up in a police man-hunt following a murder. You couldn't make it up...

    1. Good grief! - who was the bus driver? - he must have been a townie. Garvald is about 12 miles from where I'm sitting - there's a good pub in Garvald, I recall.

      Not the murder man-hunt scenario again! - to be honest, Edinburgh doesn't need that anyway - the traffic disruption caused by the infamous tram system (now much reduced in scope, wildly overbudget and unlikely to meet the scheduled completion date of 2011 - this is all frighteningly familiar to fans and devotees of the Parliament Building) means that different streets are closed from week to week.

      Glad you had a good day - odd things can happen around here...