Posted by & filed under Personal, May 27 2012.

Yesterday I ran in the 10k race in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. This was the first organised run I’d taken part in since the Edinburgh Marathon in 2009 (see my previous blog posting ‘Edinburgh Marathon‘).

In 2007, I ran in the 10k race in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow (see my blog posting ‘Great Scottish Run‘) . My time then was 01:01:48 and I was hoping to improve on this time in yesterday’s race, my target being anything under 1 hour.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, May 14 2012.

Looking from the Creag Dhubh crags towards the snow-covered plateau of the Cairngorms

Looking from the Creag Dhubh crags towards the snow-covered plateau of the Cairngorms

Last weekend I attended a two-day Introduction to Scrambling course at Glenmore Lodge. I had undertaken this course before, in August last year but was only able to attend for the first day. On that previous course the instruction group spent the day in the Chalamain Gap in the northern corries area of the Cairngorms setting up anchor and belay points in the steep bouldery ground and setting up indirect belays using the rope alone, much as for ML training.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, April 5 2012.

One of the engines from the B-26 Invader lying partially submerged in boggy ground

One of the engines from the B-26 Invader lying partially submerged in boggy ground

Last week I travelled to Ayrshire and went for a hike in the remote and anonymous moorland of East Ayrshire. The weather last week was extremely good, with blue skies, high temperatures and little wind, and this walk felt more like it was happening in the middle of summer than mid-March.

I walked northwards from the B743 into the featureless and boggy terrain of the area. There are two aircraft wreck sites in this area, and I had made a previous attempt to walk to these locations earlier in the year, setting off from the A71 to the north but was thwarted by difficult terrain and a new windfarm being built in the area which caused me to take a diversion.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, March 20 2012.

JMT volunteer work party carrying out path repair work on Schiehallion

JMT volunteer work party carrying out path repair work (new boulder steps on the new path) on Schiehallion

On Sunday last weekend I travelled to Schiehallion to join a party of John Muir Trust volunteers undertaking path repair work on the maintained path that is situated on the long eastern ridge of the mountain.

The John Muir Trust (JMT) is an environmental conservation charity and landowner and owns several parcels of land throughout Scotland, including many in mountainous and remote areas (Bla Bheinn on Skye, Ladhar Bheinn in Knoydart and Ben Nevis in Lochaber) and organises conservation work parties throughout the year composed of volunteers to carry out work on the land such as path and fence maintenance, litter clearing and woodland regeneration.

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Posted by & filed under Mountains & hills, March 4 2012.

Last weekend I travelled to Huntly for a weekend cross-country skiing course at the Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre.

Cross-country skiing is something I have always wanted to try and my interest was rekindled recently after reading Adam Watson’s accounts of cross-country skiing journeys in his recently-published autobiography (see my recent blog post ‘It’s a fine day for the hill‘). It is quite different from regular alpine or downhill skiing, using different techniques, boots, bindings and skis.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, March 1 2012.

The granite tor on the summit of Clachnaben

The granite tor on the summit of Clachnaben

Last week I travelled to Aberdeenshire and walked to the 589m summit of Clachnaben from Glen Dye. Despite being a relatively small hill, Clachnaben is very distinctive in having an unusual and large granite tor on the summit.

The weather conditions on this walk were quite unusual with not a trace of snow for many miles around despite the late winter date (February 24th). Temperatures were quite mild and the air was very clear but the wind was very strong so it was cold higher up the hill.

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Posted by & filed under Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, January 24 2012.

Yesterday I went on a short 1-day winter skills course at Glenmore Lodge. The course was an avalanche and navigation awareness course.

There were a couple of classroom lectures about about planning winter routes in the mountains and about avalanches in general. The bulk of the day however was spent in a small group on the slopes of the Cairngorms above Glenmore lodge, with some micronavigation and general navigation techniques for winter walking routes and then a climb through some difficult terrain of snow-covered heather to Coire Laogh Mòr to find some deep snow.

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Posted by & filed under Books, IT & the Internet, Military/Aircraft, Mountains & hills, Science, January 19 2012.

1. The divide in the discipline of Geography

The Power of Maps by Denis Wood

The Power of Maps by Denis Wood

Geography is a somewhat schizophrenic discipline. Is it a ‘social’ science or is it a ‘hard’ science? The two aspects of the discipline have been in conflict since the ‘quantitative revolution‘ of the 1950s and 1960s within Geography, and the ‘hard’ science of Geography is represented in many respects now by the field of Geographical Information Science (GIS).

Maps are at the very centre of this conflict – what they represent, what their purpose is, how they are constructed and perceived, and what effect they have on society and individuals.

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Posted by & filed under Books, Mountains & hills, Science, December 22 2011.

A snow book, northern Scotland

A snow book, northern Scotland, by Adam Watson

Adam Watson has been continuously observing and collecting data about snow in the north-east of Scotland (and particularly in the Cairngorm mountains) since the 1930s, and this important book represents the culmination of that activity. It will have a strong claim in the future to being the standard reference work in the discipline of research into and observation of long-lasting snowpatches and snow-cover in general in the Scottish mountains.

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Posted by & filed under Books, Mountains & hills, December 15 2011.

Its a Fine Day for the Hill

It's a fine Day for the hill, by Adam Watson

Adam Watson can surely lay claim to being a true ‘Mountain Man’ of Scotland – perhaps the premier contemporary claimant to this auspicious title!

Adam Watson’s recently published ‘It’s a fine day for the hill‘ (subtitled ‘And once in a blue sun and moon’, the meaning of which is explained in the book) is his personal memoir of mountain exploits (especially in the Cairngorm and Mounth regions of the Scottish mountains) in the years from the 1940s to the early 1960s and the people he has known. In his time he has been a young amateur naturalist, a gillie, a student and researcher, a bird-watcher, a hillwalker, a rock climber, a mountaineer, a cross-country skier, a writer and an environmental scientist.

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