This land is your land...
- Hard on the heels of our tale of telephones atop the summits (see This land..., TAC2), comes a similar story of hi-tech electronic proliferation. This time the scene is Beinn Narnain and the object in question a short-wave radio transmitter. Now, there would appear to be two perfectly valid hill-uses of such a device: as an aid to mountain rescue, or as a means of making scale-model Battle of Britain fighter planes perform mind-boggling radio-controlled aerobatics in the wide, blue Highland skies. But neither of these seem to have been the case here, it merely being another example of the ever-growing yuppiefication of our hills. Which leads one to wonder if, in this age of the apposite acronym, it isn't time to start lobbying for a Banish All Gadgets Indoors Treaty? Or perhaps, more simply, to inaugurate an autumn cull, similar to that of deer and grouse, for too-trendy-by-half climbers?
- Following our revelations of the 100% betesticled JMCS having rejected a motion to admit female members of the opposite sex at its last AGM, we receive a report of a so-called 'vice'-president of the club partaking in what Private Eye traditionally calls Ugandan Discussions on the slopes of Stuchd an Lochain one recent autumn evening. Not wanting to appear moralising or judgmental, the witness to this sordid and depraved scene merely wondered whether it was a surreptitious attempt to get a woman 'in the club', or simply part of a novel way of completing the Munros. Perhaps we should be told.
- Trading standards department: The wee Spar shop in Crianlarich. A Saturday in early October. Three early morning climbers enter, foraging for food. Or, rather, one of them, his rucksack already well-stocked, flicks through Golf Monthly whilst his companions buy their sweeties and ginger. Face-like-fizz assistant marches round to magazine rack and initiates the following exchange: 'You buying or just looking?', 'Just looking', 'In this shop you don't look at things before you buy them'. Forgive us if we're wrong, but unless the Ark of the Lord's Covenant is on sale, or braille barcodes have been introduced, this seems a trifle small-minded. Perhaps the roadsign stating 'Crianlarich - All services' should be extended to read: '...apart from Customer Service'.
- Whilst on the subject of pedantry and roadsigns, backpage namechecks on offer to anyone informing this column of signs similar to these in Kirk Yetholm: 'Toilets 182 yards' and 'Toilets 72 yards'. Obviously someone in Borders Regional Council has a lavatorial sense of humour.
- And another sign of the times has given your editor an inkling of just why people choose to pay vast amounts of money to stand in the rain all day, dangling pathetic bits of nylon string into murky rivers, rather than healthily and inexpensively rinnin' aboot the braes. It's simple - they don't, at least if a B & B near Crocketford in Galloway is to be believed: 'All rooms en suite trout fishing'. Sounds good to us.
TAC 4 Index