It’s when I opened my old word file with the original Ben Vrackie text I knew I had taken on a gargantuan task in reworking these old “tails”.  In fairness they were written for a specific hill walking audience whose primary interest was information – the details of the route taken, preferably with photographic evidence. (Ed. should there be subsequent legal proceedings if wee Jimmy fell off a crag not mentioned in the trip report)

This would be my first encounter of a hill + snow and, come to think of it, I’m not even sure I expected the snow to be there such was my level of inexperience at that time.  To this day it still remains one of my favourite hill walking days.  It had everything.  Well, it had snow for starters – it had people – it had dogs – it had amazing scenery – and for all that content it wasn’t a hard day out.  It also had…I’ll leave that as a wee surprise for now.

My goodness, the last time I posted was in May last year; doesn’t time fly when you are enjoying yourself.  Ah…maybe that was a little inappropriate given our current viral situation.  With nobody going anywhere new blog content has been difficult to generate so today I am revisiting the disaster that is my hillwalking “back catalogue” and in the process doing a little bit of editing – well quite a lot of editing actually.  I have found it somewhat horrifying looking back at my early efforts

The Fatdog “tails” began some 2 years before my blog first appeared in late December 2008 and although they can still be found on scottishhills.com most have lost the attached photos.  The same applies to the original “Where the Fatdog Walks” blog (abandoned after a series of massive spam attacks).  Looking back at the whole debacle it serves me right for forgetting the photos were held on a different server and then…um…cancelling that account before I thought through any possible consequences.  No matter, it looks like lockdown will be on the go for some time so I may as well do something constructive and sort out the abominable mess I have created over the years.

This piece comes with a warning! You might say it is a reflective tale, its focus (or lack of it) on where your brain might choose to wander when out for what you thought was a very ordinary stroll in the countryside. It has taken me 3 years of head scratching trying to figure out how to introduce this brief half day excursion in the way I wanted to portray it. Almost 9 weeks of “groundhog day” lockdown has proved to be the clincher…my brain has melted to the point where all has become become clear…although, in this case, “clear” might not be the appropriate term.

We’re now two and a half weeks into lockdown.

A wet and dismal winter’s end squelched its way into a blossoming Covid 19 spring and, as March rolled into April, the weather in Scotland began to improve. And we have a great view of that weather…we can see it from a whole variety of windows in the house. It seems to have been ages since I’ve been anywhere and it’s beginning to tell.

To briefly take my mind off my captivity I’m going to travel back to last July; a time when it wasn’t illegal to venture beyond the front of your driveway more than once a day; a time when great herds of canned tomatoes grazed peacefully on the vast expanses of supermarket shelves; a time when majestic columns of toilet rolls stretched infinitely upwards into…um…yes, methinks it’s definitely beginning to tell.

To brighten the mood I thought I might tell you about another of my ‘Ridiculous Hills of Britain’, one of those little bumps on the landscape that some kind person has taken the trouble to categorise. So let’s head back to July 2019 and see where we ended up…