occasional snapshots of thought

Posts from the “Life/Personal” Category

Revisiting Scafell

Posted on 6th May 2024

In philately, “gap fillers” are stamps of an inferior quality that you keep in your collection pending the acquisition of a fine version. The stamps may have clipped perforations, they may have a tear, or have a heavy cancellation. They are authentic versions of the stamp, but just not the one you aim to keep long-term. I have taken the same approach with my collection of summit photos for the Wainwright tops. I always photograph the summit even if conditions are not ideal. Usually this means the top was “clagged in” when I visited and there were no views out. I have plenty of photographs of cairns whose ghostly forms sit, disembodied in a sea of mist. Those photos are my gap fillers. I…

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Here be Skylarks

Posted on 29th March 2024

Another teaching period is complete, my 28th, and I headed back to the Lakes for my usual post-Easter visit. It turned out to be the coldest April visit to the Lake District I have experienced. Certainly, it looks as though the climate is changing and the usual seasonal changes seem much less predictable. The climate isn’t the only thing changing.

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Fellwalking etiquette

Posted on 8th August 2023

I have heard it said many times recently that people have forgotten how to behave. One theory is that the relative lack of social interaction during the pandemic has caused some to forget their social skills. Personally, I think there’s more to it than that. Sure, that may be a contributory factor, but I’m more inclined to believe that the pandemic simply exacerbated an already existing decline in social etiquette. Of course, I’m completely aware that I’m growing older and tend to have less tolerance for poor behaviour. Possibly I’m simply experiencing an age-old generational trend of older people believing that younger people don’t know how to behave. Except that it’s not just young people, it’s people in general whose behaviour seems to have…

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A Second Munro

Posted on 15th April 2023

Having not had quite enough of north-western Scotland in the summer of 2021, we decided to head back there in June 2022. This was a holiday of extremes. We had the high of seeing Tilda’s graduation ceremony in Dundee at the beginning of our first week but we also had the low of Hannah and then me being struck down by COVID during the second week. In between times there were some lovely walks and some intermittently good weather. In planning for this trip, I’d hoped to do several Munro walks but the combination of unpredictable weather and illness meant that we went home having bagged just one, Beinn Sgritheall.

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A stunning week in Spring

Posted on 13th April 2023

For the second year running I had planned to combine a week’s walking in the Lakes with a few days in Snowdonia (or Eryri as the national park is now called). In spring 2021, my plans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic with the lockdown not being eased until May. This year my plans had to be abandoned when, just as I was preparing to leave home, a large crack appeared from top to bottom of the Honda’s windscreen. Inexplicably, it would be two weeks before a replacement windscreen could be fitted. I had no option but to cancel the trip to North Wales, and go straight to the Lakes. Once again though, I’d need a hire car.

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One week in August

Posted on 15th January 2023

It wasn’t the most auspicious beginning to an August break in the Lakes. More car trouble meant I’d had to leave the Honda at home and make a last-minute switch to a hire car. Hannah drove me into Andover, first thing on Tuesday morning, where I transferred all my packing to the hire car and set off on the long drive to Cumbria. Rather foolishly, I drove all the way without stopping. As usual, I was keen to be there and to get walking. I skipped lunch, making do with an apple and a muesli bar, and probably didn’t drink much. I arrived at the start point of my planned walk just before 2pm on a beautiful, sunny and warm day.

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A First Munro

Posted on 3rd April 2022

Back in July 2021 Family Watson did a tour of the North West of Scotland. Hannah and I drove to Moffat on 27th June, stopping overnight before continuing to Dundee where we had another overnight stop. We met up with the kids in Dundee and on Monday, 29th June we set off on a lovely sunny morning on a trip from the east coast to Kerrera on the west coast.

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Seconds out, Round 2: Part 2

Posted on 20th February 2022

I was very happy to be feeling fit again and, after a couple of wet-ish days, the weather was looking promising. After a quick breakfast I was driving back the way I’d come the previous evening. I planned to walk The Matterdale Dodds, the same walk I had completed just over five years ago, but this time using a different start point for a bit of variety. Five years ago, the walk had been a bit miserable, a thick mist had descended and I hadn’t seen much from the tops. Today was going to be a very different experience.

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Seconds out, Round 2: Part 1

Posted on 15th November 2021

The government “Roadmap out of Lockdown” hit the next step as planned on 17th May, and my stay at YHA Ambleside was confirmed. I was going back to the Lakes, and I couldn’t wait to get out on the hills. Although I’d had a week off in April, I wasn’t really feeling refreshed and I was hoping that a concentrated period of solo walking might do the trick, and that’s how I’d planned the first part of the week. The end of the week would be a couple of days walking with my brother and nephew, both of whom had recently started taking walking more seriously, and I was looking forward to having some new walking companions. As usual, I stopped over in Southport…

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A Walk on St. George’s Day

Posted on 24th July 2021

Restrictions have been eased a little, but we’re still pretty much in lockdown. Teaching has come to an end for the year (my 26th in higher education), and normally I’d be reporting on a visit to the Lake District. Rewind 12 months, and I was saying the same thing. Back in December I had, rather hopefully, booked a week in the Lakes for April but YHA had refunded my money – ditto last year. I am, however, hoping to get up there at the end of May after the next easing of restrictions – my room is booked and my fingers are crossed. As I did last year, I took a weeks’ leave anyway. Fortunately (or ironically, whichever way you want to look at…

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