Sunday, 17 January 2016

A not untypical Scottish winter hillwalking experience.

"Discretion is the better part of valour".

So said Gail when as we turned around after less than four miles and headed back the way we came, rather than pressing on to the summit of Pressendye and completing the ten mile circular walk as originally intended.

We had started in the wee village of Tarland, temperature minus 2ºC, but the sun was shining and I felt only a gentle breeze in my furs.

We passed through farmland, slithering along an icy road, with recent flood water frozen over then covered with a dusting of snow.

Ascending the first hill, the powdery snow deepened, but Gail and I were still going strong, and enjoying the lovely views of Morven and surrounds.

After losing the path up a steep bit, suddenly we found ourselves on a broad ridge.

How is that, so often when walking in the Scottish hills, a gentle breeze can transform in an instant into an Arctic blast?

Gail wrapped her scarf around her face, Taliban style, but my blue coat was flapping in the wind, exposing my snowy rump.

As we climbed above about 500 metres, Gail seemed to be struggling, her boots sinking through the thin crust of ice and into snow, by now several inches deep. She consulted the map and to my great disappointment announced that we had better not continue onwards.

Gosh, humans can use up a lot of words in self justification, can't they? I mean, all she needed to say was, "sorry Bertie, I'm a wimp" but instead variously cited: slow progress through the snow; a steep and slippery descent; no torches and it getting dark by 4pm; us being up here all alone with no other hikers in sight, her feeling a bit of cramp in the hamstring as an after effect of a long cold bicycle ride the day before and not being as young as she used to be; dark clouds gathering on the hills in the distance; no water for me to drink on the frozen hilltop; wind chill factor of several degrees below…

So anyway, I got the point and, to be honest, by the time we were back in Tarland, I was more than happy to curl up in the car and be driven home with the heater on high.


  1. Bertie, mate, you need to revise your definition of a wimp! We wouldn't have even got 10 metres....SHE would have wimped out from the start. (8 miles is a great fantastic attempt in our view.)

  2. It seems as though all of BlogVille is experiencing snow. We have enjoyed our's.

  3. I suggest going home and snuggling up on the settee with a large puppicino, very warming!
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  4. -2 degrees - we wouldn't of stepped a paw outside :)

  5. Bertie, while I do like to be cold, that snowey butt is enough to tell me it was waaaaayyyy too cold for tis boy! Gail made the right choice. Butt, I agree. THEY can be awfully wordy...


  6. Crikey Bertie ..... minus 2 degrees. No wonder your butt was all snowy. Mum wants to frame that photo and put it up on our wall. Would that be ok, mate?? those pictures are beautiful. Mum would want to walk EVERYWHERE if she lived there. Even if it is cold. Me ...... not so much!!!!

  7. Howdy Bertie. Well that sure did look cold and it seems you really did freeze your butt hehehe. Instead of your -2C we have 39C and are very hot. What a lovely place to walk even if it was cold and we are glad your Gail was sensible with the weather. No worries and love Stella and Rory

  8. One word..
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  9. Bertie you are a hero like that Roald Amundsen... that was very brave to discover the icy places of scotland...and it's great to read about the scottish polar-expedition while sitting in my blankie cave :o)

  10. Hari om
    Bertie lad, just looking out the window at the snow-laden shrubs of dad's backyard was enough to tell me not to put paw outside... methinks Gail finally let commonsense rule!
    Mind you, there was value gained in the photograpic haul; that one of snowend and the one of your long shadow...and the one which could be a watercolour of Turneresque quality... so not a complete 'miss'!!! Hugs and wags YAM-aunty xxx

  11. OMD OMD BERTIE..... that is COLD... like ANTARCTICA COLD.... Your poor BEHIND... it looks like it is FROZEN.... Your poop Shooter is never gonna be able to Fire like THAT...
    WE applaud the decision to Return to the WARM Side.

  12. Oh dear Bertie...I got a wee kitty chill just reading this and looking at those gorgeous photos. Mom says she is glad Gail turned around...I said maybe Gail and Bertie need to go on my next pub crawl.
    Hugs madi your bfff

  13. That looked like a pretty good hike but to be fair you did have 2 more legs than Gail. And did her coat look as brilliant as yours/ Probably not BOL!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  14. First I'm thinking you went out at 2 then I saw Celsius and thought that is 35 Fahrenheit why that is not bad. Then I looked at those hills and imagined the wind no home in sight and I thought why oh why would you be out there when you could be having hot coco by a warm fire. Those pics look like the arctic tundra to me.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  15. The pictures are absolutely beautiful. I love the ones with the sprinkling of snow and the green grass popping up beneath it. Lovely walk. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  16. Beautiful spot for a wintry walk bur geeze we got cold and had to move by the fireplace to warm up while reading it. Around here we use "better safe than sorry" as our excuse for wimping out. Hear it all the time!!!

  17. love that spiffy coat now warm up by the fire. maybe Gail needs to get you a snuggie for after walks, we wrote about them inn our blog today

    retro rover

  18. Bertie, your snow does not seem as exciting as our recent experience. Perhaps Gail should have made a snow man instead?
    Mum is blaming me for all her wimping out lately, saying I can't go too far! The cheek!
    ~lickies, Ludo!

  19. Dear Bertie,

    That looks really beautiful! And I bet the smells on the cold ground were amazing! I'd like to walk there sometime!


  20. Oh such lovely snow. We have seen just a slight dusting this year. How will we sled and make a snow terrier? Enjoy your day and enjoy that evening fire :) Wyatt and Tegan