Dr Beeching’s Unicorns

Glen Ogle. Most of the time a place on the way to somewhere else, somewhere more exciting. Yet, for me also a special, magical place where years ago my inner eye first really glimpsed the beauty of this land. »

A Prince Holding Court

I saw him as soon as I came over the rise. Hard not to, perched on a rock some hundred yards ahead, completely out of scale in this landscape. »

Of Eagles and Men

There are three of them up there, and what a racket! Correction: the racket, that’s just the two of them. She is soaring silent, near motionless, regal; aloof. Her path seemingly unalterable. On a mission permitting no distractions. »

The Wind

I saw the front in a distance. A solid wall of water, just obscuring where Kings House once stood (a view improved, I dare say). It was upon me before I had the tent up, a scramble to get inside, wait it out by candle light. »

Coille Coire Chuilc

It’s been a long time since Linda and I climbed Beinn Dubhchraig. Just another couple of Munros bagged. Not a very memorable day of drizzle and nay views, leaving a lingering impression of a long trot through a bog punctuated by spindly pine trees, and no urge to return. One that persisted for a couple of decades. But today couldn’t be more different: the sky is blue, the air is crisp, the ground is frozen. And those spindly trees? They are no more. »

Pine Seeds

Over the twenty something years since the National Trust for Scotland took over the Mar Lodge Estate, the upper Glen Lui (or, Gleann Laoigh Bheag, as it is properly called), has become a real gem of a place. But today is not exactly a gem of a day. There be might fluffy fresh snow on the ground, but it's breezy, and visibility is limited indeed. Some might think it outright miserable! »

A Lesson from the Wee Hills

Days like these don’t come around that often. After a couple of brief snow flurries the sun banished the cloud, and now the early morning light glitters on the pristine slopes of Beinn Challuim. It is nearly exactly twenty years since I’ve been up here last, in very different conditions; a memorable day, though not for the best of reasons. »

Mountain Star

It was love at first sight. Those smooth curves, precision crafted from a solid block of stainless steel, the needle-sharp point, the smooth black, fully rubberised, shaft on which big red letters proudly declared:

Stubai — Made in Austria »

And Time to Back Off

Forecast is not great -- high winds, increasing in the course of the day, temperature likely above zero regardless of altitude, and precipitation arriving by an early afternoon. The sort of a day when it's not worth carrying a tripod, or driving too far, yet at the same time not bad enough to just stay at home all weekend and brood (as I know I would). »

If Running were Everything ...

As a lad I used to spend Hogmanay with my friends at some remote and basic cabin, far away from the noise and clutter of the city. There were two customs we invariably welcomed the New Year in with. We chucked one of our mates into the nearest pond to mark his birthday (which meant cutting a hole though the ice the evening before). And then we sat down and each wrote a letter to themselves, reflecting on the year just gone by, hoping for the future, one of the more responsible lads charged with keeping the, gradually thickening, envelopes from Hogmanay to Hogmanay. »