Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Would Signs Make Difference?

There have been 2 tragic accidents in Glencoe recently, within weeks of each other and both on the Clachaig Gully path. On both occasions, hill walkers have completed the infamous Aonach Eagach ridge and chosen to descend using the steep and loose path, only to fall with fatal consequences on the descent.

The path, clearly visible on the left flank of the gully, above Clachaig Inn

These accidents are just 2 of several fatalities that have occurred on this area of the glen over the last 25 years that we've been at Clachaig. They hit hard, as does any fatal accident in the mountains, but their proximity to and inevitable involvement of the inn perhaps adds to this.

But have these accidents prompted a debate on signs on Scotland's mountains. The Herald has led with a column suggesting this as a necessity. Whilst another outdoor web site, Grough, has responded to this with a wider point of view?

Do you have an opinion?

Personally, I don't think signs are the answer. The horrors of the Clachaig Gully path are well documented. Many paths on our mountains have their inherent dangers, and you can't sign them all. But for the descent off the end of the ridge you'd be well advised to take an alternative descent route.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Build it and they will come

We’re big fans of the new Sustrans bike track that’s slowly taking shape between Glencoe and Oban. If you’ve been paying attention then you’ll have seen the odd mention here on the blog. It’s idyllic. Particularly the bit between Glenachulish and the Holly Tree, where the traffic free smooth tarmac skirts the water’s edge and brings you out at a place where you can buy beer and crisps. What more can a cyclist ask for!

Its much the same in Annecy really. Watch the Tour de France this week and you’ll see a load of cyclists whizzing round this French lake in one of the closing stages of the famous bike race. But they’re missing the best bets. They really should take more time over it and enjoy the lakeside cycle track.
In many ways the Lake Annecy track is simply the M25 version of the Oban one. Built on an old railway, and often skirting the idyllic waters edge with a mountain backdrop. But the traffic can get a bit nose-to-tail at times (watch out for those in line skaters!) and, of course, its at least 10 degrees warmer.

If anything, it just goes to show that when you provide the facility, it’s not long before people come and use it. Lake Annecy might have the most famous bike race out there to whet folks appetite, and some rather pleasant weather too, but you’ve got to believe that when the connecting sections of the Sustrans route are completed, cyclists will flock to it in significant numbers.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The very Dab!

Jings, Crivvens, Help ma boab!

You know you've arrived when you get a mention in The Broons'

The Broons' have spoken outside their cartoon speech bubbles and some of what they have to say is hilarious. The whole family contributes with their favourite outings from No 10 Glebe Street and their But An' Ben.

Joe Broons' favourite is Glencoe and describes it as 'ane o' the most popular places in Scotland for climbers & walkers. There's something for a'body fae the wee Bairns to the auldest rambler like Grandpaw, he himsel' once known as the Rannoch Fox. Folk say it's because he kent the Glencoe hills an' Rannoch Moor like the back o' his hand. Masel', I think he got his nickname for scroungin' other folk's cheese sandwiches an' beers in the twa famous hotels the Kingshouse and the Clachaig'.

The Broons Days Oot! explores the vast riches of a nation without blowing the housekeeping, bringing effortless wit and authority to every expedition, from a ramble up Ben Nevis to a dander down the Royal Mile. Never once does a Broon character step out of character. Their days out are punctuated with tartan travel rugs, picnic hampers, boiled sweets for the car trips and knotted handkerchiefs for days on the beach. And yet, while this may reek of nostalgia for a bygone age, the 52 expeditions featured in the book remain unerringly relevant to the modern tourist itinerary. In a rare concession to the 21st century, the Broons even provide website details for the attractions they visit. The Broons are hitting the road for the ultimate nostalgia trip... a journey that celebrates the delights of our great nation and the values that bind us together. Even those folks who aren't familiar with The Broons will enjoy this. All round entertainment, even if you never set foot across the door !

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Duck or grouse part 2

Did you read the blog last Wednesday? The bit about low flying military aircraft? Well, we not really ones to whinge about them. They come through from time to time and generally scare the living daylights out of us (and set off all the car alarms) when they do. But we live with it.

But you do get to thinking what they're targeting as they fly through the glen. Are they on a practice bombing run and if so, given the general lack of buildings in the glen, what might they be fixing on? Clachaig perhaps?

And what if... Well, terrible news today from further south in Argyll, as it seems that a Tornado has indeed crashed near the Rest & Be Thankful.

Makes you wonder...