We set off from the boy racer car park in Nairn on dry sandy trails into a biting north wind. We followed a mixture of fire roads and glorious single track resembling a BMX track to Hill 99.We climbed the tower just after sunset and then set off. Neil immediately tumbled down the steps at the bottom of the tower, went over the handlebars and into the stove of two squaddies who were brewing up while in full camoflage. It takes some skill to find the one open flame in 40 square miles of forest. As Culbin settled into darkness , our lights went on and we swooped down the rest of the hill and off into the mysterious forest with only the screaming of thousands of geese for company. We reached the cars wanting more of this wonderful place.
Spring's frigid easterly winds continue but gave us a fine evening for a 10 mile walk up to the Orrin dam. This is a strange stretch of country - wild yet partially industrialised with the tarmac road giving rapid access into the lower reaches of the wilds of Ross. Walking up to the dam gave the feeling of entering a different country where the wildness grew with each step. Strange and empty under a bright moon. We puzzled over a light circling, disappearing and reappearing in the western sky, strange lights on the dam itself and eery noises and screams in the woods. At the dam the wind cut through all my layers and I shivered all the way back to the car. It may not have been just from the cold.
Doon the water
April brings blizzards with the Clyde coast particularly badly hit. The following week I had a fine run of 7 miles of trails on the island of Bute in spring sunshine with views out to a snow plastered Arran. Despite the sun the wind remained biting and enough snow lay on the trail to require some comedy postholing. Variety is the spice of life - but now can we have some warmth?