Damn Kids! Or How A Dropped Lens Ruined My Day

With the trip up to Ben Ledi cancelled last weekend at the last minute I was determined to get out an about. I couldn’t think of many places to go that I hadn’t walked a thousand times before and a few people suggested various walks around Glasgow but at the end of the day I wanted something simple. I ended up walking from the bottom end of Victoria Road to the Peoples Palace (a quick stop there to see the video my Grandad is in) and then along the Clyde cyclepath. The idea was to follow the cycle path as far as I could and once I stopped for lunch I could wither turn back or work out some other way of getting back to the city centre. It didn’t work out that way.


The walkway heads out towards the SECC from Glasgow Green. Over the last wee while they have been upgrading the riverside walkway from the Casino onwards and instead of my usual walk along dusty roads without sight of the water I strolled along the shiny path instead. Everything was going great until the Fire Brigade’s search and rescue boat went rushing past. It was only out for some practice so I thought I’d catch a shot of it as it flew back down the river but with my 50mm lens on my camera I wouldn’t get close enough to it so out came my 70-300mm lens. I’d just changed the lenses over and was admiring the sun shining on the Armadillo when a ball came out from nowhere (or the SECC car park if you want to get technical) hitting my shoulder and knocking my 50mm lens out of my hand. It hit the ground and fell into two pieces.

It wasn’t their fault really as they we’re on the other side of the road and I had seen them so was aware they were there. It didn’t stop me from shouting blue murder at them though. I spent the next 20 minutes sitting beside The Ferry trying to put it back together. I was that pissed off that despite only being about 45 minutes into my walk I gave up and headed back into the city centre to see if the guys at Merchant City Cameras would be able to save my day and fix it. It turns out that the parts cost more than the lens sells for at retail and they didn’t even attempt to put it back together. I gave up completely and jumped on the first bus home.

I think the bus made it to Fernhill before I gave up and thought I’d try and have another go at putting it back together and it clicked at the first attempt. It works and doesn’t fall apart when you hold it upside down which is always a bonus. The focus isn’t as sharp as it once was but it made me one happy bunny to see it working again!

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Getting There.

I’ve struggled to write these past few weeks. I never have the time and when I do have the time I don’t have the energy or brain capacity to string a sentence together never mind a full post.

My foot is getting better. I managed to walk for 90 minutes around Calderglen Country Park yesterday without the support on it. My foot was strapped up as best as my hiking boots could manage though and I’m paying for it today. I managed it though without any real discomfort. I’m looking good for my date with a mountain at the end of March.

Calderglen Country Park

Calderglen Country Park

Vonnie had it confirmed last night that her contract will not be getting extended so come the end of March we will both be ‘out of work’. By out of work I obviously mean working for ourselves as we should hopefully take over the shop we’re leasing a few weeks beforehand.

Talking of the shop things are progressing. It’s going slowly as every time we think we’ve managed to get over the last hurdle another three or four appear. The latest one involves bank accounts and proof of ID. Basically a lot of the things we need to get sorted NOW require proof of the business address which we can’t do until the lease is signed and in some cases until we get our first utility bill in. I think we’re going to have to get inventive to get past this one.

I breathed new life into my photoblog a few weeks ago but I’m not entirely sure folk know it exists. Trying to work out some way to display the updates on here to catch a few more readers. And yes I did actually take that photo up there!

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You Did What?

Just realised I haven’t blogged about my jaunt up Ben Lomond last year. Well I did but a couple of short paragraphs doesn’t really cover it. It was a crazy day after all.

It started with the seven of us planning the trip and gradually realising the weather was going to possibly scupper all our plans. Alex ended up pulling out due to a case of the lurgy and one of Willie’s mates gave up as well. In all honesty we possibly should have as well with hind sight.

I guess the first sign that the day wasn’t going to go we the way we planned appeared when we started driving up the east bank of Loch Lomond. Forget the rain we encountered on the way up there. It was definitely the fallen trees on the road that gave the biggest hint.

The rain held off as we got our gear together but thanks to a few errors in the layout of the roads and land *cough* I couldn’t read my map */cough* it took us five minutes which included a walk up a forest road that went nowhere near the summit before we realised we had to head back to the car park to find the real path.

The initial going was good. The weather was a bit crap though. One minute it rained the next it stopped but the wind just didn’t let up. We would get completely soaked by the rain and then by the time it stopped and started again we would have been blown dry. As we started to reach about a third of the way up we really started to struggle with the wind. It gets a little steep at this point and as the hillside is completely exposed once you get pass the tree line at the beginning it started to take it’s toll. Mark decided he just couldn’t go any further. I don’t know if it was the wind or just his body telling him that despite the energy drinks he was stupid to go any further but he was the first to head back and with hindsight I think that’s when we all should have turned back.

The wind didn’t let up at all throughout the climb and in fact just got worse. I read the weather reports when we got back and for most of the climb the wind was gusting at up to 50 miles per hour. Dave and Stoo were determined to at least make it to the half way point which to there credit they did. There is a well about halfway up on the map which they made it passed before they turned back. I don’t know why but I stood for a few minutes shouting to Dave to make sure he knew what to do if something was to happen to them on the way down. I guess it was because although we all had radios with us the mobile phone reception up there is sporadic at best and almost all the survival and first aid gear was either in my own bag or Willie’s ruck sack.

So we pressed on. At times the wind would just hit us constantly for a few minutes and we’d just stand there leaning into it hoping for it to let up long enough for us to walk another couple of hundred yards before the next gust. It was round about this point that we started to meet a few other climbers as they caught up with us. We’d only seen one other person on the hill up until then and he had shot ahead with his dog and you could see his outline as he made a break for the summit. They all seemed nuts if truth be told. We stopped for a quick rest just as it starts to get really steep and rocky just before you turn back around and start the last leg up to the summit. Willie stopped for a breather and I carried on to see how far I could get before I stopped for a bite to eat to let him catch up.

That’s when I bumped into they guy with the dog again. He was on his way back down after reaching the summit and said it was insane up there. As I found out later it was gusting at up to 90 miles an hour up there. He waited until the wind died down before running between rocks and then holding on until the wind died down again. He almost lost his dog three times thanks to the wind apparently. I pushed on and got to within what I thought at the time was about 400 yards from the summit but after looking again at the map it was probably twice that I turned back. It was just stupid to carry on. I took my last picture looking out over the lochs behind the mountain and the camera’s battery died. It’s was definitely a sign.

It turned out Willie had actually decided just to wait where he had stopped hoping that I’d turn back as well. I eventually made it back down to him and just like when I climbed Ben Nevis there was a spring in my step on the way back down. Where we struggled to walk up the damn hill we were almost running down the thing. The worst bit was still to come however.

When we reached the bottom we found out that the hotel was without power. A tree had been blown over and took out both the power and phone lines. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem except all the way back down the hill all we could think about was a nice warm meal and a pint of beer. The kitchen was shut and the beer pumps wouldn’t work without power. We were stuck with warm bottled beer or cans of soft drinks and a scone.

We will be back to do it again when the weather gets better and there are plans afoot to hit The Cobbler in March in preparation. Fingers crossed the weather works out for us next time!

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She’s A Smart One

Erica has been so close to walking for a couple of months now. She’s been going 3 to 6 steps and then giving up or just plain falling over for a while but on Sunday she got herself up off the floor and walked 6 steps by herself which was unheard of. Of course this happened at church where I didn’t see it just like when Nairn took his first steps on his birthday whilst I was in the kitchen!

Today however she had crawled into the hall so I picked her up and brought her back in to the living room and set her down on the floor standing up. I thought she’d just sit down but no she was off. Twelve steps later she stopped! After much hugging and screaming from parents we tried to see if she’d do it again and she managed a few waddles before giving up.

Just as we’d gave up for the night I turned round just in time to catch her walking from one end of the livingroom to her playpen at the other end. She’s really getting the hang of this now!

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