Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

JMT Petition to the Scottish Government

The John Muir Trust is calling for a new national environmental designation for wild land and has submitted a 3,500 signature petition to the Scottish government amid fears that some of the best landscapes in Scotland are at risk.

The JMT is particularly concerned about the impact of "badly sited, industrial scale wind farm development proposals"

Scottish National Heritage does not apparently advocate a specific wild land designation and is preparing a new assessment of wildness across Scotland.

The Scottish government said a review of the situation was underway and all organisations with an interest in conservation would be consulted.

Source: BBC Scotland News

Monday, 24 January 2011

Efficiency of wind turbines - The John Muir Trust

The JMT has spent the last 13 months monitoring 47 wind power stations and claim that they ran at 22 per cent efficiency - somewhat short of the 30 per cent figure claimed at every public enquiry into proposed stations. The JMT's figures were taken from data from the National Grid and they have called for an urgent review of the Scottish Government's renewable energy policy. Many councillors across the country apparently support the JMT's findings.

The Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said that the results were not surprising given the study period was one of the calmest winters on record.

A decision on the Standingfauld proposal, which would see turbines just a few kilometres from Braco, Muthill and Auchterarder, has been delayed until February so in theory this information is timely.

However, since the Scottish Government want 50 per cent Scotland's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 and have invested £800m in various schemes, Jim Mather's reponse to the findings is predictable: there will be no change to the government's policy.

Source: Strathallan News

Sunday, 23 January 2011


A 3.5 magnitude earthquake struck Glenuig this morning. No worries for TGO Challengers though - Glenuig is still there.

A stroll in freezing fog - Friday, 21 January

Today, and after a minimum temperature overnight of -9C, we are shrouded in a freezing fog with just occasionally the faint hope of the sun breaking through. We would be experiencing a temperature inversion if we were up on the Ochils but, alas, Lynne has managed to cough her way to a strained or torn intercostal muscle so carrying a rucksack is out for the moment. For the sake of clarity I should add that the 'alas'  indicates sympathy for Lynne rather than signifying regret at being unable to get out on the hills. (She might just read this you see.)

A low level saunter was, however, possible and provided a pleasant, if familiar, outing in improving conditions. And high or low there's always something interesting..

Contours on ice

As we walked I was mentally fleshing out the detail of trips planned for 2011 (8 or 9 at present), including our West - East walk in May (not the TGOC -  a tad too late in May for us since the organisers moved the start date). I'll put the route up sometime for anyone who might be interested. A friend wants to 'follow' us across so I'll be putting up maps as well.

The summer of 2010 was a relatively lean one for us in terms of hills etc because of Lynne's book and associated commitments, so this year we'll hopefully get to Rum, Knoydart, Skye and the far NW in June and to the Outer Hebrides in July, all of these being a mix of motorcaravan and backpacking trips. A visit to 'Screaming Geo' featured on the Triple 5 climbs broadcast last year is high on the list when we're on Lewis. April and autumn plans are more flexible but the Cairngorms and Lochaber always figure large.

As always, I hope the weather is kind to us!

It certainly improved today as we made our way across the fields and regained the track and headed home for some hot coffee.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Ultra-lightweight in the Ochils

Ben Cleuch summit trig (taken by my older brother)

It didn't take too long to realise that to enjoy a day on the hill I needed to spend vast sums of money and carry even vaster loads.


Sent to me

I'm off to search for 'cliff areas' that don't have steep drops . These discoveries will be the subject of a book in due course, but don't expect it anytime soon!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A thaw and a bridge gone

The rapid thaw and torrential rain last Saturday gave the River Devon the power to demolish the army-built bridge which links the 'Millenium Path' to Rumbling Bridge Gorge.


The remains further down-river

I wonder how long it will take for it to be rebuilt?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Beauly to Denny Power upgrade - Muthill and Tullibardine

Muthill and Tullibardine Community Council have created a film to try to get the Scottish Government to underground the part of the Beauly to Denny power upgrade that passes through this beautiful part of Perthshire. They say of their video, in Strathallan News, "It is crudely put together, but we needed to act fast, and this is a sign of our passion for protecting the community from the effects of these pylons".

I fully support them but we should all remember that undergrounded or not, in Perthshire or elsewhere along its route, this upgrade is being done to carry power from the uselessly inefficient wind power stations being built all over the Scottish hills.

Note: The video doesn't fit well into my blog-size but may do on others - if you can't read the complete email addresses at the end, just post a comment and I'll put them up.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Charities in wild landscape call

Another interesting development. See here and go to 'More news from around Scotland' at the bottom of the page - Highlands and Islands - although it concerns Northern Ireland and Wales also. Edited: now in 'Tayside and Central' not 'Highlands and Islands'

"Scottish hills offer an escape from money worries"

An article, which briefly outlines the views of the MCofS, can be found here