CASTIGATED as never before for my wildlife views (see TAC27, p3, and all of TAC28), I am unrepentant. They are nice enough folk who chide me; I have even climbed with some of them. But come on folks, a frog's still only a frog; you can see them in Maxwell Park pond five minutes from my house, unlike the wildebeest. My father in his defence wishes it pointed out that he only ate the puffin because it was the cheapest item on the menu.
I have long fantasised about the Corrievreckan - captivated by sentences in sailing books like "The sea begins to boil and ferment with the tide of flood and resembles the boiling of a pot; and then increases gradually until it appears in many whirlpools which form themselves in sort of pyramids and immediately after spout up as high as the mast of a little vessel, and at the same time make a loud report". These have the same effect on me as does the poetry of Blake on TAC artist The Swan.
It is virtually a TAC outing, and there is some debate as to whether all the TAC eggs should be in one basket, albeit the basket has a 130 horse power motor. If we should go down, Grant Hutchison will be doing the mag on his own and having to cajole those temperamental artists Swan and Chris. As luck would have it, the Gulf is quiet - though the Little Corrievreckan or "Grey Dogs" has the boat running at seven knots to stand still.
Life Imitates Art - we are repeating the very trip I had poor old Murdo doing not so long ago (TAC18, p8). Second-top Marilynbagger in the UK, Tony Payne, is chalking off Cruach Scarba, and the Ed has assembled a party to accompany him. Once on the island the Ed is immediately wondering whether this is the party with the largest accumulation of Marilyns ever to climb. Tony has 1238, Blanco and Mary 1150 between them, etc. Sadly by the time he gets to Linda and myself we're not adding much, and we don't even know our totals. This heresy is glossed over. Meanwhile, the Ed is badgering Tony's pal (850+), who doesn't want to be identified in any list of the greatest baggers other than by the label "An alien from outer space":
- Look, if the top batting averages were Bradman, Lara, an alien from outer space, Compton etc, he fumes, that is more likely to draw attention to yourself...
- Only if you accept the list must exist in the first place, counters AAFOS. This seems logical, but Blanco avers "there must be a list" with such conviction that I swing back. Walkman-wearing Gordon Smith, another TAC regular, then announces the Tims' last-minute winner over the Terrors. The idyll is ruined.
Up the A82 to Bidean. This road has taken on the nature of a Sisyphean boulder to me. Last summer I picked up three points for overtaking via some "chevrons". This summer both the first public holidays of the year saw us in massive jams. Two things need to be done: all caravans should be made to travel overnight; everyone should get out of my way when I am overtaking. Surely these two measures would command some level of public support?
Two teachers have been missing for two nights on the Merrick. I never go south as a matter of principle, so have no first-hand knowledge of the summit - if one can call it that - in question. So correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it a wee Sunday afternoon stroll in Albionesque country? And aren't there still about seventeen hours of daylight? Should these people really be in charge of our weans? Or is there a more mysterious explanation? I think we should be told.
Life Imitates Art, Part Two. I am watching The Muppet Show. Yankee celebrity Larry King is not recognised by the puppet dog-doorman. On The Muppet Show the dog-doorman is arguing with Larry King over the number of countries in the world he might be famous in, and debating the status of such as St Kitts and Nevis. The new TACit Press book on world high and low points would have sorted them out, but it wasn't published at the time. TACit should definitely send on a copy to Henson Jr though.
The Glen Coe versus Shakespeare debate (TAC1 and ever since) has been on the backburner. I had dipped into the Pinter biography looking for ammunition, but affairs with "thinking man's crumpet" Joan Bakewell probably make him more of a climber. Then, driving up the A9 for a week's frolicking in the Torridonian drizzle, I am stunned just before Dunkeld to see a sign advertising a "Macbeth Centre". What an audacious flanking movement by the luvvies. As an immediate reply, I think a 1:50 scale fibreglass replica of Glen Coe should be built right next to the new Globe Theatre, so that the luvvies entering will be forced to gaze on miniatures of Naismith and Douglas ascending Crowberry Ridge. Let them try to concentrate on Beckett after that.
Just who the hell does so-called "Prince" Charles think he is, wittering on about how all our beauty spots are being spoiled? So when I was up Broad Cairn with the Warbeckian brothers two weeks ago, all those scars on the face of the hills must have been bulldozed by someone else? For all his kiltie / watercolour / cromach posturing at Balmoral, the only visual outrages he seems to see are when some bank tower doesn't blend in with the Georgian terraces around it in the Black Heart of Albion. Get a life Chairlie. Architecture schmarchitecture.
Peter Allis commentating on the inaugural Loch Lomond Invitational golf tournament: " ... and that's Ben Lomond; on a clear day from the top you can see for miles." Aye right Peter, you've been up it of course. With his claret-and- brie complexion, one suspects all Pete would see would be the sharp end of a defibrillator. Ditto Alf Roberts out of Coronation Street: " ... I wonder if Nick enjoyed Canada. I'll bet the view from them there Rockies isn't half as good as from Scafell Pike."