Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, Travel, June 16 2007.

Following on from yesterday’s posting…

After our time in Jasper, Lesley and I drove (it was Lesley’s first time using an automatic gearbox and driving on the right; she took to it with no hesitation at all) to Golden in British Columbia via Yoho National Park and the Kicking Horse Pass. Roads and trails were closed due to snow here as well, and we couldn’t visit the Takkakaw Falls as planned due to the Yoho Valley Road being closed. We were fortunate enough however to see the unusual sight of a long freight train disappearing into the famous spiral rail tunnels of the Kicking Horse Pass and re-appearing simultaneously at a completely different angle from the mountainside (photo here)!

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Personal, Travel, May 24 2007.

After attending the wedding of Lesley’s friend Lindsay last Friday (at which Ewan McGregor‘s dad was also apparently at; Lesley’s blog entry about the wedding is here), Lesley and I travelled to southern England for a few days. We stayed one night in Bristol, where we attended Lesley’s cousin’s 40th birthday party (highlight for me was the whole pig cooked on a spit roast), and two nights at her sister’s house in Witney, near Oxford. We also took the opportunity to view a lot of the sights in that part of England (pictures here).

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Posted by & filed under Books, Personal, May 18 2007.

I’ve just finished reading Brooklyn Follies, the most recent novel by Paul Auster, and whilst it’s an enjoyable read, it’s not really comparable to Auster at his best. With his last three books, Auster seems to be heading away from the mystical and mind-bending themes he is so justly renowned for, and which find perhaps their purest form in the The New York Trilogy and Mr Vertigo.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Personal, May 12 2007.

Two recent BBC news articles about ‘Munro-bagging’ have only served (at least in my mind) to accentuate the utter craziness of this activity. Munros are mountains in Scotland higher than 3000ft, and attempting to climb them all has acquired the term ‘bagging’. The very concept of a Munro is one that makes no sense even with a cursory thought – endless debates can be had about how many of these strange objects there actually are in reality and whether or not Munro-bagging is an activity that sensible people should undertake at all (as opposed to normal, straightforward hillwalking).

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Posted by & filed under IT & the Internet, Software engineering, May 2 2007.

One of the more indisputable advantages of the Internet as it exists today is the abundance of software on it that is ‘free‘. It is free in the sense that it is available to download and use without a financial fee. Some software, as well as being free, is also ‘open-source‘ meaning that the source code is freely available and can be changed for bespoke purposes – something that is obviously anathema to commercial software.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Travel, April 30 2007.

Yesterday I drove to Spean Bridge in Lochaber and climbed the 1116m summit of Stob Coire an Laoigh, in the Grey Corries (photographs here). The route I took started from Corriechoille to the north and walked up the north ridge of Stob Coire an Laoigh via an old tramway path and a dam in the narrow gorge of Coire Choimhlidh. The weather was warm and sunny, as the whole of April has been this year, meaning that the terrain was dry and mostly free of snow patches, right up to the summit.

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Posted by & filed under Books, Mountains & hills, Science, April 23 2007.

Ever since my first real mountain walking trip, to the Cairngorm plateau, I have been fascinated by the idea that in Scotland there can exist at high altitudes, even in the summer months, a small portion of the arctic. This trip was in June 1983, and the Cairngorm plateau then truly was arctic in nature, with very large permanent snowfields. Now, in 2007, things seem different – see my previous posting ‘Has climate change already affected hillwalking in Scotland and further afield?‘ and this Independent newspaper article from December 2006.

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Posted by & filed under Music, Personal, April 21 2007.

Last Wednesday, Lesley, Ali and I went through to Glasgow for the evening to see Porcupine Tree at the ABC venue. Lesley has also written about the gig on her blog here. Porcupine tree are an amazing band, playing what could be described as contemporary prog rock, but with a very heavy guitar sound. They have just released a new album, Fear of a Blank Planet, which they played all the songs from at the gig.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, Music, Personal, Travel, April 19 2007.

On Saturday I went to see Maiden Scotland, an Iron Maiden tribute band with Lesley at the Studio 24 venue in Edinburgh. She has written about it on her blog here. It was a good gig with some great Iron Maiden tracks played the way they should be, and Maiden Scotland really sounded good. The singer particularly brought the screaming Bruce Dickinson vocals off well. I really recommend that any Maiden fan goes to see them play. Standout tracks for me were Fear of the Dark and Phantom of the Opera.

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