Travelling Northwards on a weekday when others are working is a wonderfully liberating feeling, especially when you're heading for Scotland. This time I was almost glad to see the signal lights on my mobile phone quietly extinguish. The journey was pretty good - we hadn't seen Bruce for about a year, as he'd been off seeing the world for the past nine months. This gave us the opportunity to fill him in on nine months of pop culture, which seemed to boil down to:
- Catatonia's International Velvet
- Robbie Williams' Life Thru A Lens
- South Park
- Half the World Cup
We concluded that maybe he hadn't missed too much.
If there's a foodstuff that is more likely to induce an instant coronary arrest than battered pizza, I'd love to hear about it. Only the Scots could devise something so potentially lethal. I ordered a half, which was caked in salt and oozing fat. Before I tentatively bit into it, I asked my friends what it tasted like. "Cholesterol," was their honest reply.
We reached the base of Schiehallion by around 4:30pm. Although 1,084 metres (3,554 feet) high, it is one of the easiest Munro's to climb, with a path resembling a huge scar running down the north-eastern side.
"A whaleback ridge when viewed from the east, Schiehallion (in translation the fairy hill of the Caledonians), appears from the west as a shapely cone. Either way, it dominates views because of its isolated position in the centre of the Highlands. In 1777, the Astronomer Royal conducted experiments on this peak to determine the weight of the Earth."
---- Doug Corrance - "Still Moving"
The weather held fine, and the walk was incredibly enjoyable - we met many people passing in the opposite direction, including young children, teenagers, and tourists from Vermont and Philadelphia. It was only when we reached the summit that the wind began to batter us, so we took a few obligatory snaps, and headed back down, as the skies were threatening to open.
On the way down, I was surprised to discover the grave of one Alexander Fraser, who'd died in 1984. But in retrospect, I can't think of many better final resting places than Schiehallion.