Tag: <span>Loch Lomond</span>

I always forget how much I enjoy winter. Not all of it, I could happily live without seeing a pile of dirty, melting slush, but I do enjoy those crisp, clear mornings which still seem eerie and magical, a light dusting of ice, sprinkled over the land, glittering in the glow of sunrise.

We were in Balloch yesterday morning, standing at the southern end of Loch Lomond, soaking in the view of the snow drenched mountains that march away into the distance. The mountain tops merging with the sky in an endless arc of glaring white, stunning.

Such days are few and far between and should be savoured all the more for it.

That aside, has anyone noticed that it’s only two weeks until Christmas!! Why didn’t anyone tell me…

As ever the calendar is already starting to bulge, I pick up my kilt on Wednesday for the office Christmas party on Saturday. Louise has her party the same night, handily in a hotel near my office so we are staying there rather than face the perils of a £40 taxi fare. I’ve still got a few presents to get, a couple for Louise and a few others. The car is in for a service a week today, and I think either one of us is out every night until Christmas Eve.

What is the rush I wonder?

Still, at least I have a couple of weeks at work to get my head sorted for next year and get some planning done. It’s a bit of a luxury and I’m going to take full advantage of it.

Life

A little over 6 miles, and the last in the series of Polariod 10K races.

It was this time last year that I started jogging, but one thing I’ve never mentioned is who spurred me into action. It was someone I bumped into at the end of last year’s race and if I seem him today I will be shaking him by the hand to thank him. I have contemplated a quick kick to the shins at the same time but I’m past that. Almost.

This time last year, as we turned up to visit the Farmers Market at Lomond Shores we realised that it was also the finish for 10K race. As we walked past the finishing area I bumped into my old Boys’ Brigade captain. We chatted for a bit and on asking him why he was there he revealed that my old company (1st Dumbarton) help out with the marshalling of the race. He then said something which has driven me on for the past year.

Now, I know it was meant in that jokey, friendly way that blokes use, and I took it in that spirit. I have not spent the last year brooding and harbouring a grudge, and you don’t need to watch for TV headlines of how a man “mysteriously” drowned in Loch Lomond today. But don’t get me wrong, I was kinda ‘piqued’ at first.

“Yeah, we’ve been helping out here for years now. What about you, you should be out there running it… ohh perhaps not eh?!” he said, before slapping my belly with the back of his hand. Point made.

And that was it, that is what inspired me to start jogging. Not much to it really, is there. I was almost 3 stone heavier than I am now (and I’ve just realised that I hardly mention my weight loss anymore, funny that) so he was right. I was too fat and unfit to run 100 metres let alone 10 kilometres.

A week later I spotted the advert in the local paper that took me to jogScotland and the rest, as they say, has happened in the past.

I really do hope I see him there this year as I owe him a huge thank you. Weird thing is, he probably doesn’t even realise what kind of effect he had and whilst I don’t usually buy into the whole “tough love” thing, it certainly seemed to work.

So, if you happen to be in Balloch or the Vale of Leven today and you see a tall, balding, slightly podgy guy with the number 1066 pinned on the front of his top, plodding and panting along please give him some encouragement as he’s gonna need it!!

Anyone want to take a guess at how long it’ll take me?

Personal Musings

Recently, Hg was musing on how he is “fascinated by the sparseness of the planet’s polar extremes and specifically by artistic responses to the territory”. He quote from Brian Keenan’s book, Four Quarters of Light, and it’s such a great quote that I have to repeat it here:

“Wilderness to the creative mind is like a blank canvas to a painter: it is full of possibilities. Here is perfect peace and absolute freedom; here too may be the prologue of melancholy or bliss. In the wilderness there are no ready-made roads; you make your own and go where you choose.”

Isn’t that glorious. The entire post is worth a read and really struck a chord, and as well as having me rush off to order the book itself (well, rush to the nearest online bookstore that is), it had me pondering my great romance with water.

Or to be precise, for tap and bottled water isn’t quite what I have in mind, large of bodies of water. Be they rivers, lochs, lakes or seas, they seem to drawn me to them and once there allow my mind to wander freely, unburdened and unconstrained. It’s not always a wilderness but by their very nature they are wild, untamed and far removed from my sedate lifestyle. They can invoke great emotions, and hold many memories for me.

Personal Musings

We had few plans for this weekend, which is fairly rare. However Sunday was my late mother-in-law’s birthday so we had already decided to go to Cashel where we have a tree planted in her memory.

But before that we had a free Saturday and, after pottering about in the morning, we headed to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where, for the first time, I managed to fill a 1GB memory card in one afternoon. The worry is that of that lot, I only consider 24 of them to be “good enough for Flickr”, I’ve obviously got a way to go before I full get the hang of this photography lark.

As a child I remember visits (although it may have been just once or twice) to Kelvingrove. It’s a huge old building, and used to be quite dark and slightly spooky inside. Since the cleanup and restoration it has been transformed, and feels, oddly, like a new building. Most impressed.

However, two things to mention; Dali’s Christ of St John Of The Cross has been moved out into a corridor which, whilst I understand why they did it, removes some of the impact of seeing the painting closeup, add to that the lovely Fire Exit sign hanging nearby which casts it’s green neon glow onto the painting and I’m less than impressed with the decision, and special mention to the twat who, when viewing a painting which had had “interactive” thought bubbles placed next to it (to allow people to enter their own interpretation of what the people in the painting were thinking), muttered “pathetic”, not so quietly. I really REALLY wish I’d gone after him and asked for an explanation.

But then I guess Art should be kept for those who truly understand it, not for the peasants and riff-raff, the uneducated masses. Idiot.

After Kelvingrove we headed to the Botanic Gardens (I was well into memory card two by this point) for a wander. It’s not somewhere I’ve ever visited before and .. yeah.. flowers and stuff. Quite nice but a bit lacking in focus. Plenty of photos though, obv.

Sunday saw me struggle through a run in the morning (I just can’t get the hang on Sunday mornings, and neither can most of the other people in the group, so it’s not just me!) and then we headed through to Loch Lomond and Cashel. It was a bit overcast, with a light drizzle floating past but regardless, we headed off up the pathway into the hills.

We reached one of the “viewpoints” and paused to toast Grace with her favourite tipple, a wee measure of Baileys was enjoyed and, with a teary eye, we wished her a Happy Birthday. She, of course, would think we were quite mad but I know she’d be touched. Not too sure she’d be too happy about the paltry measures of Baileys mind you..

Not a bad weekend at all.

How was yours?

Life

What a wonderful weekend.

Nothing much on Saturday, we pottered about the house for most of the day before heading down to visit our new god-puppies. I’ve not seen them for a week or so but they are growing up fast. They were very excited — I’ve got the scratch marks to prove it — and we had a ball playing with them. The ulterior motive was, of course, to get them knackered out so that they might sleep through the night.

And then, yesterday, we spent the day on a cabin cruiser on Loch Lomond. Photos will follow but I always forget just how stunning the scenery is as you get further up the loch. We stopped off at Tarbet for dinner, at the Ben Lomond restaurant which was excellent, before heading back down to Cameron House. I even got a wee shot, burling the boat about much to the delight of some nearby jetskiers (they like the waves ya see).

Top weekend. How was yours?

Life

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find me a good forecast for this coming Sunday. I am only able to find ones that suggest it will be cloudy, or that it will be raining. This is not acceptable.

Why, I hear you ask?

For, this very Sunday, we will be living vicariously through our friends. Specifically we will be venturing out onto the “watter” of Loch Lomond, departing from Cameron House marina, for a wee jolly on their nice big boat.

So we are praying for sun, making our offerings to Ra. I think we’ll pass on performing a Sun Dance though.

This post will self-destruct in, um, well… OK, it won’t.

Life

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M74

Unlike Route 66 and the N17, no-one has ever written a song about the M74, but there is time for that to change.

With the news that the proposed extension of the “motorway that goes nowhere” is to be built, and naturally that a variety of protest groups are up in arms at the decision (for some good reason), there is a chance for this dead-end of a motorway to grab a share of the spotlight and gain some notoriety.

For those not in the know, the M74 ends in a roundabout (hence the dead-end references) and is mainly used as a link from the M8 on the journey south to England. Before we moved to Hamilton, which sits on the M74, we used it a lot whilst travelling up from Aylesbury, so we know the way quite well.

Perhaps it’s time to break out the visual aids.

Our route on M74

The red dot is Hamilton. The green line is the current route for anyone travelling from the M74 onto the M8, up and round the back of Glasgow and on towards the west. As you can see the proposed extension will cut a large distance from the journey, not to mention avoiding the notorious Kingston Bridge altogether. For that reason, and the fact that the main reason we generally use the M8 is to travel past Glasgow, I think the proposed extension is a wonderful idea.

But then there is the pollution and impact on the environment to consider. One option would be a viable public transport alternative, except there already is one, the trains run from Hamilton through Glasgow to Balloch at Loch Lomond but we car users do like the comfort and flexibility of controlling our own travel times so that’s never really going to be an option for many.

What else to consider? Pollution, impact on the environment? More than three quarters of Scotland isn’t even inhabited. You want fresh air? Move to Auchtermuchty!

If I’m honest, the main thing that annoys me about this entire thing is the guilt tactics employed by the protest groups. I’m fully aware these things will have an impact on the environment but for my own selfish needs I WANT the extension built. It’ll knock about 15 minutes OFF the time it takes to drive through to Dumbarton, something we do every other weekend, and will also mean our car is emitting less and we’ll be using less fuel.

So, to appease my own inner demons, I guess what I really need to do is find where the balance between the impact cost of building the extension is “equalled” by lowering pollution and saving on fuel use. I feel a rough guess coming on… how about year 2063?

Well it’s either that or buy a bike…

News

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Whilst I remember, I have one spare ticket for this Saturday’s R.E.M. gig in Balloch on the shores of Loch Lomond, the venue is amazing, and if the sun is out it should be a great day.

If you want the ticket, make me a (monetary) offer.

P.S. You’ve only got a couple of days before I bung it up on eBay.

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