Monday, 28 May 2007


On Saturday night my phone ran out of battery. Although there was no signal at Mar Lodge, this was still important because it meant I couldn't take any pictures. In turn, this too was important, because when I went a-wandering on Sunday, what should I see but lots of amazing things that I wanted to take pictures of. Typical. So this is a text-only post. I won't be offended if you don't read it.

Apathy set in on Sunday morning and I couldn't be bothered to do very much. I thought the forecast (for torrential rain) was going to provide a valid excuse to do nothing. But the forecast was wrong. It turned out to be quite a nice day. Eventually I got over hte guilt of not "doing something", but it took a while....

I wandered up to some boulders just off the track from the Linn of Dee. The one big boulder would have been entertaining if it wasn't covered in enough vegetation to grow potatoes in (actually, isn't that what your mum says about your dirty finernails?). I clambered around a bit, very conscious that I was on my own, with no bouldering mat, nobody knew where I was and my phone was out of juice.

Bored and mission-less I wandered further up the hill in amongst the heather and the Scots pine trees, and it struck me how much one misses about one's surroundings when on a mission to do something. This is when I got over he guilt of not doing something". I walked about 2 or 3 miles in a couple of hours or so, and saw two red squirrels, four deer, an owl (I think it was, anway), a greater spotted woodpecker, 3 red grouse, a black grouse, a huge stag beetle, 3 fish (salmon I think, but hard to tell), a mini-venus flytrap type thing, Butterwort (in flower, no less), a big shelf-like fungus, some amazing red moss, a massive seething ant heap and some tourists (but they didn't see me). I also spent a while picking the ticks off my jeans and watching them race across my hand. I counted 9 in total, and putting my hand in the river didn't wash them off. But they do float if you can unstick them from your hand.

Not being able to resist any climbing opportunity, I also clambered along the layered rocky river bank. In two places I found the remains of (what I can only assume was) a small hydro-electric scheme. In fact there were two of them. Both had clearly been dilapidated for a while, but I did think what a shame it was to have such things fall into disrepair and disuse. In today's world of energy crises, surely it makes sense to use "clean" sources of energy wherever possible? Here is a source of power rushing past us unharnessed. A small hydro scheme doesn't do any damage, doesn't create any noise, doesn't cause any pollution, and yet someone at some point has decide it isn't viable. Admittedly, hydro schemes are weather-dependent and therefore, by definition in the UK, inconsistent (I hesitate to use the word unreliable; it seems unfairly damning), but surely any supplement to fossil fuels and nuclear power is a good thing?


Ian said...

Hang on.... you were away in a beautiful part of the world, with someone pretty special, and I couldn't be bothered to do very much?

Just pretend you have been metaphorically slapped across the back of the head!!!

On the flat mobile front:

alpinedreamer said...

Er... Ian, I was on my own on Sunday. So I guess, yeah, I was with someone pretty special! :-)