Mountains minus Malbec: thoughts on Dry January

To be strictly accurate this post contains no mountains either! No walking since Sandwood Bay, and unlikely to be any for another month or so. I am trying not to get too jealous of all the posts of snowy hills popping up in my Facebook feed – and failing miserably.

As to dry January – I decided to do it largely to try and kick start getting myself back into some sort of decent physical condition. There have been pluses and minuses so far. The pluses – I have lost 4lb; my skin is clearer; I’m generally sleeping better; and my brain seems sharper, I’m definitely getting more done.I have managed to start going swimming again, although not as often as I had hoped. I’ve also spent less than usual, although the price of soft drinks in pubs is pretty shocking. Plus there is the obvious one of no hangovers (which these days take less and less Malbec to induce) Continue reading

Corrour Station House Restaurant: the loss of an oasis in the wilderness

On my recommendations page, I did a name and praise for the restaurant at Corrour Station – surely the most remote in Britain (station and restaurant both). The restaurant had previously been run by various tenants, including the SYHA, as a cafe/ bar serving basic food and providing basic accommodation.

These tenants tried to do something different; run the place as a high end destination restaurant, with high class food and rooms. This resulted in a wonderful place to stay and we enjoyed two cracking trips there. Unfortunately, what they were trying to do meant they could not cater for drop ins. They simply didn’t have the time, or the staff, to do so.

Unfortunately this went down like a lead balloon with some walkers and ultimately – it seems – with the estate. There were a number of poor reviews on Tripadvisor by people who had been turned away. Having posted about this on Facebook, some walkers clearly do feel that they should have been offering an all day service. I can totally see why if you are cold at the end of a walk and have a 2 hour wait for a train it might be rather frustrating not to be able to go in and get fed and a cup of tea or a pint.

But do walkers really have the right to expect to be able to get refreshment somewhere as remote as Corrour? I don’t think so. Nobody expects a cafe in the middle of nowhere in Knoydart, or other areas you can’t get to by road such as parts of the Cairngorms. And there are alternatives to waiting for 2 hours in the cold and wet at Corrour. Wait for a better day, maybe? Or bring a tent and wild camp it, or cycle in on the landrover track, as people have to do to access the Ben Alder hills for instance?

Whatever you think, it’s a shame that the place is closing. I’ll always remember my post walk drink in Scotland’s remotest beer garden the last time we visited to pick off some Munros in the area. I’m very glad now I’ve done those hills and don’t need to worry about logistics for the area, but I’d have liked to go back, and now no longer can. Who knows when the estate will find someone else willing to take the place on; one can but hope it doesn’t close for good.

Wainwright Walks 14: Late start and liquid refreshment on Latrigg

Hills: Latrigg
Wainwrights: ditto
When: 14 May 2015
Who: just me (plus the mountaineering minion)
Why: glorious evening
Mid walk drink: Shiraz
Post walk drink: Malbec (yay!)

Well, it had to happen sooner or later! A walk where relatively little went wrong… and a lot went right. Mind you, how much could really go wrong with a walk as short and straightforward as Latrigg?

The premise for this one was a little different from the usual. I was travelling up to attend the Keswick Mountain Festival and was planning a reasonably long walk on the Friday taking in some of the Helvellyn range and/or the Dodds (report to follow). However, rather unexpectedly, the forecast for the Thursday was lovely. I was getting a train in the afternoon, and hatched a plan to pop up a small hill in the evening if the weather held. After a surprisingly smooth journey via Virgin Trains and a taxi from Penrith, I was in my hotel by 5.30, and in my walking gear and out of the door by 6pm – certainly the latest time I’ve ever started a walk! I had a relatively minimal amount of water with me, plus, given the absence of my husband (who wasn’t able to come up until Friday night due to work) my little minion toy clipped to my rucksack. I also had a small plastic bottle of Shiraz as I’d hatched a plan to actually have a glass of wine at the top of the hill rather than wait until I got back down. Note ‘a’ glass – this is certainly not a recommendation of alcohol as ideal hill walking refreshment! Continue reading

Mountains, Malbec and Mishaps!

I started this blog to ‘chronicle my somewhat erratic and mishap prone hill walking’ as well as the inevitable post walk drinks. Musing about the mishaps over a glass of wine last night, I came to the conclusion there have been rather a lot.. and the vast majority have nothing whatsoever to do with Malbec. I’m not really sure what I can blame the others on, other than bad luck.. but for your general amusement, here is a selection of the mishaps so far.. which will no doubt be added to at some point!!

Transport related

Exhaust fell off car in Dundee on way to Mount Keen. Hill abandoned.
Missed flight due to meltdown on the Underground.
Severe delays on Virgin Trains meant being too knackered to go up a hill.
Cattle class conditions on Megabus overnight service meant dragged self up one hill but too knackered to do any more.
Sleeper train broke down on way home – 2 hours late in to work wandering in to office foyer in crumpled walking gear.
Drove into a ditch in Snowdonia and barely managed to get out.

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Hangover Hill!

Hills: Geal Charn (Drumochter Pass)
Date: 31 July 2009
Weather: Overcast & dull but dry
Who: Self, Stuart, hangovers (x2) bog – thankfully not too vertical
Distance: 4.7 miles (checked the GPS!)
Time: Just over 2 ½ hours

My husband’s suggestion for a walk report – and why he doesn’t get to write them – would have been something along the lines of ‘Had hangover. Chose hill. Walked up hill. Took pics. Walked back down hill. Went back to pub’. This is a little bit more verbose than that but you get the general idea!

This is a hill-walking blog with added wine. Sometimes, a little too much added wine! Sitting on my sofa with a hangover today after sampling the rather tasty Italian wine at a new local bar, seemed an ideal opportunity to catch up with a few blog posts. My hill-walking tends to be punctuated with mishaps, sometimes hangover related but other times due to various travel debacles.. one of the disadvantages of taking up a hobby which it is physically impossible to do near where we live (in South-East London). This was a classic example but also demonstrated that hill walking is actually a rather good hangover cure… if one can drag oneself out of bed to actually go and do the walk that is!

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