Technical problems!

This last week hasn’t gone to plan! The original idea was to spend several days travelling north of Aberdeen investigating Speyside and the Moray Firth. This plan was scuppered when I lost the ability to take photos. First of all I ran down one battery looking at photos and popped in a spare. It failed to work, I tried a second. It too failed to work. So that was that, no camera, as obviously with two spares I had decided not to carry the charger.  I also discovered that the original working battery had begun to bulge in a rather worrying fashion… so that’s not going back into my camera!  I decided to cut short my trip and return to Glasgow on Monday evening.

To be honest, it was quite a relief to spend Tuesday and Wednesday in front of a computer screen writing up my adventures. My legs were not particularly keen on waking up and doing more running. Still, by Wednesday evening I felt that they might be willing to contemplate more than the journey from bed to kitchen to desk. The Westerlands (Westies) Cross Country running club handicap race at Chatelherault Country Park may not have been the wisest plan though!  Persuading my legs to attempt sprinting to the finish on Wednesday night wasn’t a major problem. However, persuading them to climb up Doughnot Hill near Dumbarton at 9am on Thursday morning turned out to be not nearly so much fun!

It has been quite an interesting week during which I’ve found out all sorts of new things about Glasgow. Even the parts of the city and surrounding area I thought I knew well have managed to throw up surprises. I’ve spent a significant portion of my life walking various dogs around Mugdock Country Park and knew that there had been a zoo there in the 1960s. However, I didn’t know until today that Charlie the Elephant of Craigend Zoo was so attached to his keeper that he followed him to the pub – once getting stuck in the doorway!  I’ve also discovered new routes close to familiar haunts. One example is the quarry at Auchinstarry where I’ve spent a good few summer evenings climbing and being munched by midges. By following a Westies running route starting at the quarry I ended up on Barr Hill where there are remains of a Roman fort and sections of the Antonine Wall. Although Barr Hill isn’t particularly high it gives fantastic views across the Clyde Valley and it’s quite obvious why the Romans chose to build here. The view down the valley must have been rather different in those days. Certainly no tower blocks!  I expect the Roman centurions had pretty much the same view of the Campsie Fells as I did though.  Two millenia of human occupation of the Clyde Valley have failed to make much impact on that particular skyline.

I’ve got a few evening commitments that keep me in Glasgow this next week. Despite that I’m planning to spend a day in the Pentlands and begin thinking about the east of central Scotland as well as the west. Luckily, I know the Edinburgh area quite well. Or do I? Glasgow has certainly thrown up some surprises, I’m sure that there will be more in store when I travel east.

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