Author Topic: 'wimp alert' - how to avoid the blizzards and stay warm while hiking.  (Read 1941 times)

troy

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Winter! You gotta love it sometimes, or hate it. Prospect of weather this W/E – rain, snow, low cloud, blizzards, white outs, Oh and a pinch of thunder just to add spice – prospect of hiking up into the void, Nil! Unless of course you love, the adventure of walking into a thick padded wall of white and not see a darn thing.
 
Saying Nil I guess, doesn’t mean that you won’t get those grand breaks in the cloud, which seen from above 950m turn the lonely highland peaks into futuristic looking colossal maelstroms of epic proportions where gigantium dark clouds fill the emptiness with an overlapping panorama of rage and power. In earlier years, I just thrilled at the electricity of those sorts of moments, when not only navigation skills were pitted to their very limits (pre-GPS times). But also, your stamina as your body arced into the force of a gale and stubbornly moved forward metre by aching metre up over an endless dark hill which provocatively persisted to your front. Just as the increasing wind chill first dampened then threaded its way through your layers of warmth and sweat until it bites like hard driven sand into your very soul. Oh, yes the memories, as old age creeps like an unwelcome guest into the equation when too many runs down a slope start to prevail and even the insulation of thick head hair descend south to keep one’s ass warm instead!
 
Despite what has just been said, and vivid memories of hard fought blizzard days, I did have slight ideas about doing a Munro or two this W/E until that is, today when during a impromptu game of hide and seek with the pup (purely for the purpose of keeping warm you understand!) I pull a muscle in my back or trapped a nerve under my shoulder blade, an injury that seems to stalk my body with as much frequency as some get colds, and most times only takes an earth shattering of a sneeze to appear. Hence, this report is not about an intrepid hiker striking into the wilderness, brushing aside the force gale and storm of snowflakes as if they were mere deep haze during a summer’s day. No, this report is about a short walk within some woods, which just happen to have some interesting well-preserved WW11 sea defences, written by a wimp.
 
The walk was in Lossie woods, starting and finishing at the Car Park by Arthurs Bridge just as the sun sneak above the horizon of the low hills. Its slow progressive appearance shattered the night’s dull and grey atmosphere with its rainbow of sharp colours that for only a few minutes painted everything facing it with glorious orange from the black barked pines to the long dead grass. This, as can be seen on the first photo, I managed to capture before the sunrises abrupt awakening calmed to cooler and fainter tones allowing the drab colours of winter to return and dictate the mood of the sleeping woods and all its flora.
 
I do this walk quite often with the pup, a pup that has a good memory and for whom a run along the seashore is like a cold larger to us after a long hike along the Aonach Eagach ridge. Therefore, as I was whistling and merrily playing with my new camera and tripod Santa brought me, she was displaying her usual inpatients, running up and down the vehicle track.
 
This was pretty much how the first halve of the walk progressed; her running around like she had some small annoying things on her behind while I delved off the track at various points and investigated all manner of different scenes and angles (like you do) while we made our way towards Binn Hill.
 
About a kilometre before the hill, there is a narrow cut through between the tall pines to the sea. The pup was off like a shoot while I dithered around some small pools of still water, but after them we started the game (mostly to warm my now freezing fingers) until we approached the beach zone (large piles of rounded stones, unfortunately no sand) where the pup made for the calm waves while upsetting some birds who where probably having a good day until she appeared.
 
It is about a mile we walked along the beach towards Lossie until we came level with the defences, which have over time mingled in with the stunted pines along the coast rather well. In all there is a collection of about 10 buildings hidden amongst these pines and undulating sand dunes they grew above. The two gun placements are the most visible having the pride of place upon the edge of the woods and whose structures are well persevered despite the covering of graffiti and remains of many fires which litter them. I must admit to being someone who has used one of these fire rings on a glorious night spend camping there during a warm summers evening. The guns used within these placements were a couple of old ship guns from WW1, the buildings were made by Polish and Scottish troops (some of whom left their marks on the buildings as the concrete set) and was manned by the equivalent of the Dad’s Army. The guns never saw any action.
 
Ok, so a bunch of old war buildings may seem uninteresting when compared to the local sea’s populace of dolphins and birds which many seem to cream upon seeing. However, if like me you have an immaturity and childish side, which just cannot be erased, then your love the trenches between the buildings that still exist and can use to explore the rear and forward armouries, as well as the lookouts and gun placements.
 
Moving on, I used the track to return to the car Park through scenery that provided very little photographic amusement and thus increased the Hide and Seek game with the pup where due to the odd position my shoulders while carrying the camera stuff, I developed the aforementioned ailment. This did put a damper on the walk from then, but as I limped to the car I felt satisfied that at least the dog looked happy because no matter how hard I hid, she always found me!
 

nothing quite like a colourful sunrise
 

reflection - mark 1
 

reflection - mark 2
 

darn, she found me again!!
 

the cut through
 

more reflections - mark 3
 

the gun placements - plenty of potential hidy holes.
 

The pup will never find me here?
 

as the man stealthly made his way through the wood - the dog was lazily watching his every move from higher ground.
 

forward armoury with trenches - not for the serious adult.
 
 
« Last Edit: 16:54:41, 20/01/12 by troy »
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amnesiacjimmy

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First pic and next to last are superb, you have a real eye on those 2 particularly.

I must admit to having a childish side too  ;D I do love those long walks pitted against the elements tho, but i ve never done one without a gps. It is exciting giong out and relying just on your wits and feeling at some point you might never return....Have you ever been to IKEA on a Bank Holiday?  ;D
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ramblingpete

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Very nice Troy  I like the number 1 followed by number 2 O0

What tripod did you end up with - I'm still dithering for now :(

Fleegle

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Nice story and cracking photos, I liked the sky one and the reflections, but even the bunkers were interesting.    O0
 
Just remember, mans best friend, will always win, no matter what. Either in the search stakes, affection stakes or even food....    ;)
 
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gary m

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all good photos, but the first one i like the most the line of trees is superb
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sunnydale

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Very entertaining, thank you! O0
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troy

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Very nice Troy  I like the number 1 followed by number 2 O0

What tripod did you end up with - I'm still dithering for now :(

Ended up getting this - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-00004214-Traveller-Compact-Tripod/dp/B002L4ODDS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327140430&sr=8-1 - not the best but good enough for my purposes - obviously has alu legs, might wobble in high wind but otherwise is good enough for my canon with a 250 lens on.
 
....Have you ever been to IKEA on a Bank Holiday?  ;D

IKEA no, but oxford street with a women during xmas eve was a total nightmare! went in the same shop five times....
 
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Last night while I laid starring at the stars, I wondered.....where the hell is my ceiling!!!!

rdpounder

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Great report and some brilliant photos there Troy, you've a good eye for framing a shot  O0