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Over at the excellent walkhighlands.co.uk forum I have launched a quest to find the best walker’s pub in the Highlands. You know the sort of place, somewhere you long to be when you’re on a hillside with a gale force wind and a blizzard battering you. The thought of that blazing log fire and plate of steaming sausage and mash keeps you going. Or on those glorious days when the sky is blue and the sun cream is out you know that your thirst can be quenched by a cold pint down in the inn in the valley so it spurs you on to yet another peak.

I have asked fellow forum members to come up with their nominations for their favourite walkers pub. If you haven’t already visit the site and nominate your favourite. If it’s your visit take a look around and see what else is being discussed as well.

Link to forum thread: here

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……nor a hill, hillock, hump or bump in sight. I am sitting next to Breydon Water in Norfolk where most of the countryside is below 20m. Such a change from where I live in the Highlands. I have been walking part of the Weavers Way on a hot, sunny day. I am sat in the sunshine outside the Berney Arms in awaiting a Ploughman’s lunch.

Make that no range at all. It’s so difficult to chose when you have the choice. I am sat at Edinburgh Airport having forgotten that the WHSmith shops are the worst in any UK airport. They are stuffed full of gossip and entertainment magazines and little else. Nothing for the outdoor ir countryside enthusiast. Unlike the excellent choice in Glasgow. So I have resorted to testing the new post by email on wordpress.com via my smartphone. A feature we have been waiting for, for a long time. Here’s hoping it works.

I hadn’t realised how long it has been since I last posted on my blog. I really must do better. I have no excuses other than I didn’t have the motivation to blog and got out of the habit.

I have found the best way is to set aside 10 minutes each day, as writing time. When I don’t do that, I don’t blog.

I have some inspiration again now and hope to blog some intersting things in the next few days.

It seems that I am not the only one to be sporadically posting to their blog over the last month, as many other outdoor bloggers have recently posted apologies for the famine of postings.  The only excuse that I have is that a number of major events all came to a conclusion in the same week including two OU exams and the opening of a community centre in the village, of which I am Chairman.

Now with all those things behind me there are no more excuses.

Buachaille Etive Mor (from Glen Etive)

This is a somewhat unusual approach to Buachaille Etive Mor, tackling the mountain from behind, starting just east of Dalness and the Lairig Gartain path. The downside of starting in Glen Etive, is that you will be welcomed by hordes of midges and their ferocious bite. So be prepared and bring suitable repellant. (…)

I am starting this latest post on the Real Monrach of the Glen programme with the words of Paul Lister, repeated in the opening sequence of every programme,

“….the animals and re-wilding are what is important.”

There we have it Paul Lister’s scheme is entirely altruistic. No thoughts of profit come into the plan whatsoever. He’s just doing it for the animals and to create a wonderful wilderness area.

Of course, this is all part of the carefully crafted public relations plan created for the Alladale Estate, that unfortunately the BBC seem happy to propogate. In the latest episode we are treated to yet more images of the soft-cuddly benign laird as he invites the local Primary School to visit the estate, so that they can experience wildlife. The wildlife he is reintroducing seem to be far from wild but semi-domesticated both the boar and moose are unperturbed by human contact.

One other thing Lister said struck me, when he was talking about the access roads they are building on the estate, “We need access to more wild areas.” This is his justification for tearing up large swathes of the countryside to construct Land Rover tracks. I didn’t realise the wilderness consisted of large fenced off areas with vehicle tracks built across them. I thought wilderness areas by their very definition were meant to be difficult to access!

At long last we have seen the other side of the argument, in a brief interview with Cameron McNeish. He sums up the counter-argument succinctly as follows:

  • This project is not a re-wilding of species but the creation of a zoo.
  • The project rides roughshod over the Land Reform Act that so many activists fought for, over many years.

Let’s hope that when a plan is eventually submitted these counter-arguments win.

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