The camera never lies (or so they say). It maybe never lies but with a moderate touch of editing you can bend the truth just a wee bit. In my last post “The Weather Thieves” I alluded to the fact that I could be somewhat prone to exaggerating the difficulty and indeed the jeopardy involved in our walks aided by a careful piece of photo editing. I think the greatest photographic liberties were taken after a little stroll on a clear November day in 2009 when FD and I tackled the Munro Binnein Mor in the Mamore Range. I don’t recall any particular “squeaky bum” situations although the summit itself was a bit small and what you might describe as “sharp”. In reality I was in greater danger from the Fatdog’s obsession with my fruit scone/strawberry jam combo than I was from the mountain itself.
Anyhow, in keeping with my original theme of misleading photographs and exaggerated storylines I have revisited an extract from the original “tail” and edited it to include even greater photographic shenanigans and a now almost unbelievable storyline. Ironically it now more accurately describes the actual events of a thirty minute period in that six hour walking day. As we join the hike FD and I are about three hours into the walk and are about to begin the final part of the ascent. The route ahead looks…educational!
Outside the window I’m watching occasional flurries of snow build, then vanish as if they’d never happened. We had a “dump” of the white stuff overnight but luckily it only built up to about 150mm max. It’s a novelty in this part of Scotland so anarchy reigns here every time it appears in any quantity. With snow very much in mind I thought I would once again dig into the back catalogue and rework another of my favourite hill days – the day myself, Cap’n Jack and the Fatdog tackled the Corbett, Mam na Gualainn, above Loch Leven. Snow, sunshine and amazing views – what could be better. It was February 2010 – it was bloody cold!
Some days hill walking plans change. It can be as simple as not being able to park the car; maybe a road being blocked or, as happens (a lot) in Scotland, the weather being not quite what was anticipated. The upshot is that it is better to have a backup plan – just in case. In this particular “tail” the “just in case” became the “hmm, what if…”.
For myself, Cap’n Jack and the Fatdog this hike would likely be the last of the year. I had marked out a couple of possible hills that were a relatively short drive apart so that if the first didn’t suit then we could swap over to the other without a huge loss of time. It is mid-November 2008 and we are heading back to a hill I’d climbed in snow two years before and which you may have read about in the recent post ‘A “tail” of Snow, Snakes and Something Special’. We were headed back to Ben Vrackie – for what turned out to be merely a warm up to the main event.
The origins of “Where the Fatdog Walks” are stranger than it might seem at first. The Fatdog first appeared in emails to my Canadian cousins over the winter of 2005-06 and when we met up the following summer on the north shores of Lake Superior we were greeted with the banner you see in the photograph above. A slight reworking of its text saw the emergence of the tagline “…for this is where the Fatdog walks” appear in my early trip reports in the scottishhills.com hillwalking forum. A couple of years later “Where the Fatdog Walks” appeared as a full blown blog. All from a kids welcome banner in backwoods Ontario.
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.