Bob and I Rattle On. Again.

Let’s face it. This is a Christmas or New Year Tradition. Bob and I either go out to the hills and discuss how bad the next year will be. Or we do a New Year Podcast and discuss how bad the year will be.

This year we spent New Year’s eve having a nice time. And next day, we produced a podcast talking about how bad the new year will be.

You can find it here.

Enjoy 🙂

Andrew Skurka Brings us Back to Gore-Tex …

It’s been a while since there has been a good Gore-Tex rant on here. I know many of you use it, indeed I’ve been known to use it myself. What drives me mad is both the over-inflated ‘techno’ claims about wonder materials and also, Gore Tex’s use of its muscle in the market place.

Long distance hiker Andrew Surka has recently let rip here:

Why I’m hard on GORE-TEX, the King of Hype ™

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This Everest Madness

A few days ago I found myself opening the Guardian newspaper and staring at arguably one of the most grotesque photographs that I have gazed on for quite long time. In front of me was an image of a long line of people all wearing outdoor, protective, clothing. The queue snaked away into the distance. A line like this could have been seen at an outdoor show at one of our major exhibitions centres or even at a football ground in winter. In fact this was a line of people queuing to tackle the last section of the climb to the summit of Everest. I was stunned even though I know that the short Nepalese climbing season is now under real pressure. While many people around the world stagger on through this global financial crisis the picture in front of me was a stark reminder that there are still many people with more money than sense, egos the size of planets and who are vainglorious to the core.

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The Monadhliath, Wind Farms, Planning and Big Money

Any trip through the Monadhliath is going to make you think of turbines and wind farms. The local — and national — planning processes are at the heart of the action I guess and it was very interesting listening to Chris Townsend talking about the Allt Duine public inquiry that he has recently given evidence to. All of this is particularly interesting to me as someone who is very close to local government and who, indeed, spent twelve years as a local councillor, a fair amount of which was spent ealing with planning for Land Use Development issues.

All planning applications go to the local planning authority, in this case the Highlands Council. Procedures and powers for planning are laid down in legislation but that is not quite the end of it. In England the Secretary of State for the Environment regularly sets out ‘guidance’ for Planning Authorities to deal with different issues. Guidance is probably the work word to use here as really this has the force of law. In reality, if a Planning Authority has not followed this guidance then they had better have a good argument if the issue is referred up to the Secretary of State. In Scotland the same system exists only the referral upwards goes, obviously, to the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government’s planning policies for Renewable Energy are to be found here, in a document that details Planning Polices, Circulars and Guidance Notes. The local Planning Authority needs to be aware of these policies and guidance and ordinarily will take these into account when making a decision.

Planning Guidance or a planning circular can have a big impact on policy. For example, after their 1997 election victory the Blair government delighted many by introducing guidance that presumed against out of town shopping developments. Sadly, a few years later, John Prescott bowed to lobbying and pressure from developers and retailers and did a U-Turn on the same policy.It is this kind of pressure on the process that it is useful to understand.

In the case of the Allt Duine proposal (I understand) the proposal first went to the planning committee of the Highlands Council. Professional planning officers — having had due regard to the Scottish Government’s policy on renewables — recommended to the councillors on the planning committee that they should accept the proposal. In this case the councillors on the committee took into account all of the issues raised by campaigners and rejected the application. The application was then referred on to the relevant Scottish Minister.

Before we move on I’d like to dwell a little on the life of Planning Committees.

It is always difficult for local council Members to reject the advice of their professional officers, They can, of course, do this but their officers have offered their advice after their best interpretation of law and government guidance. In some controversial cases officers may even have taken advice with Queen’s Council (top Barristers) before they issue their recommendation.

Members of planning committees are always reminded of what can happen in the event of loosing an ‘appeal’ to the Minster. If the Minster grants the developers their wishes he or she will often awards the developers costs to the local authority, in other words the council fits the expensive legal bill for the developer. These bills can be massive and in reality annual budgets mean that there are only a limited number of times in any one year that a council can afford to take the risk of having to meet these costs. To act in this way a planning committee either needs to be very confident of their own arguments or determined to really make a political fight of it and to take their case into a wider public arena.

In this case the Highland Council should be applauded. They have not taken the easy route.  If you saw the Donald Trump film you will also see local councillors taking difficult decisions. Ultimately, councillors can be surcharged if they have exceeded their authority and sometimes with big issues they can be warned about this. And most councillors are not rich people; in my experience many of them have a very hard time in objecting to big proposals.

In the case of Allt Duine the opposition has been so organised and the campaign so public that the government has decided to put the issues to a public inquiry at which all of the arguments and evidence will be put to a professional planning inspector who will take the final decision.

In a sense the judgment of the inspector will raise the bar yet again and will provide the backdrop against which existing planning guidance is confirmed or questioned, leading to a more clear statement of government policy of, perhaps, a U-Turn.

But what the Inquiry also does is massively escalate the financial stakes. After this the Highland Council will be left under no illusions as to how much money the developers will throw at a zinc farm application. You might see this as casino democracy. You may feel confident that you have the skill or even the hand to eventually win but you simply can’t live with the raise stakes.

It is the job of Planning Inspector hearing the case to weigh up the arguments and to see how they fit with both the law and with government guidance. The Inspector then makes a decision — a yes or no decision.

This will not be like a case argued in court where the evidence and proceedings are recorded for all time. Chris Townsend made an important observation when we were talking about this last week.

Both side in this argument have made submissions to the inquiry in advance, as did Chris himself. The submissions are public documents and can be read. But much of the inquiry rests on the debate and discussion that is had under cross-examination. These cross-examination discussions will often go behind written submissions. And, of course, an understanding of the cross examination will reveal — quite crudely — the tactics being taken by developers to fudge the issues and even to discredit members of their opposition.

Chris noticed that for long periods of these discussions the Inquiry reporter was not taking notes, once he observed a gap of over twenty minutes during which the reporter made not a single note.

The point is the inspector will make a yes/no decision. The arguments that helped lead to that decision will not have been recorded. They can’t be revealed even after 30 years. Unless we were watching every day we will have no idea of how this critical debate went.

I write this simply to underline the nature and the short comings of a planning inquiry process. In my view the fight is not over with the Planning Inspector’s decision. The argument needs to be taken back squarely into the ambit of minsters and the First Minister.

Chris decided that he would not give technical evidence rather he would concentrate on the effect that these decisions would have on the beauty of the place. In other words, Chris was making the case for the highest level of understanding about what is wonderful and beautiful about wild land, and this land in particular.

As Humphrey said while we were walking it is difficult to appreciate the beauty of this place. You have to move across this land and walking pace to understand its magic. This may be the ultimate romantic campaign but to my mind humans have a duty to protect the planet and the environment beyond simply utilitarian issues. Sometimes right is right. There doesn’t always have to be a technical argument to support beauty. I think Chris is right.

It is easy for us to rally against Donald Trump; he is a ridiculously big and unsympathetic target. But the developers and landowners behind these proposals are just as dangerous. Money talks and money splits communities. It is sad to see the Kincraig Community Council support the plans and particularly annoying to listen to their argument which says, effectively we are the only people who live here and so our views are the only ones that matter. Kincraig CC is not the planning authority but it has spent public money on this inquiry and this campaign. No doubt a number of those involved will derive their incomes from the landowners who wish to bulldozer these plans through. They may not have declared an interest. I they were planning committee members they would have to have done so. They can be more opaque here, yet they are still approving very significant spend on this campaign.

No doubt this fight will carry on beyond the Inquiry. It needs to carry on to bring a transparency to the process. If nothing else the rest of us — this sitting at home reading this on the sofa — must have a very clear idea of how flawed these processes can be and how, ultimately big corporate money talks, how it raises the stakes beyond the means of local democracy and how — ultimately — it can corrupt.

I am not against renewable energy. I am not against wind power. But the protection of wild land is, for me, a key consideration for the future. I wish the campaigners well.

Royal Wedding Backpacking

How will you be spending the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday? We shall be doing everything that I can to avoid it, taking a train from Birmingham up through the picturesque Welsh Border country and on to the North Wales coast and Snowdonia. The day will be designed to avoid any contact with the media and the Royal Wedding. While some will be knocking back cheap bubbly at their street parties we shall be feasting on natural spring water and dehydrated delights. We shall relax into an evening with only the sounds of nature for company at a high and wild campsite soothed by the sound of gently running water.

The Royal Wedding is one of those uniquely British events that divide the nation rather than unite it. This time the divisions are both highly political and more mundane. For some reason all of the living Tory ex Prime Ministers have been invited whereas both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for Labour have not. Some sat that this is a reflection of the real conservativeness of our monarchy. Traditionalists suggest that Brown and Blair are not there because they had refused to become Knights of the Garter. The Knights of the Garter is not a reference to hill walkers with a penchant for traditional hill walking leg wear. No, it is one of those weird British traditions that is completely useless and involves nothing but strange ceremony, walking backwards and swearing allegiance to some strange old woman who is known as a Queen — that is to say Queen in the old fashioned and traditional sense.

At a more basic and worrying level this nonsense divides real communities. Last week, in London, I caught an Evening Standard headline which shouted, “Is London the Capital of Street Parties?”. OF COURSE IT IS I wanted to holler — THOSE OF US IN THE NORTH JUST DON’T GIVE A TOSS. Apparently, there have been thousands of applications to close roads in London and the South East for street parties with very few similar applications been made north of London. This, apparently, is a cause for concern surprising really as up here in the North economic recession and concerns for the future of young and old both  are clearly the big issues for the day. To be fair to Londoners, the capital’s street parties are concentrated in the affluent suburbs of the West and the South West and not the more economically precarious east and north of the city.

But it is not so much the Royals that sees me head for the hills but the mad and obsequious coverage of the event by our media. When they are not broadcasting their own drivel both the BBC and ITV spend the rest of their time showing Royal Wedding coverage from the USA and Australia. They tell us that this is a landmark event for the Royals. Here we have a Prince marrying a commoner and not only any commoner but one who’s family were from a northern pit village four generations ago. This is clearly grounds for celebration although it is more than a little puzzling as to why a Prince might have to wait two hundred years to marry someone from non aristocratic circles. This is the rubbish that annoys me the most. I can remember the investiture of Prince Charles. This — we were told — would herald in a new age for the monarchy! Hah! And then we had Charles’ marriage to Diana who herself was weirdly described as being a commoner. This was going to change the face of the Royal Family and to be fair I suppose it did in one way or another! Now, we’re at it again. We are witnessing the birth of a modern monarchy. Really, of course, things just amble on much as they always have.

Planning the Escape — but is it impossible?

My experience is, though, that it is difficult to really escape these things.

Eight or nine years ago I couldn’t face the prospect of living with the coverage of the Queen’s jubilee. I decided to nip off to republican France’s Massif Central. Although it was June the weather was rather reminiscent of British winter. On day one I pooped into a gear shop to buy some warm socks and gloves. I’m a reasonably good French speaker and the proprietor greeted me familiarly.

You’re not French are you?

Where are you from, Belgium”

I confessed I was British. Oh he replied. It is the Queen’s jubilee this weekend. Yes I know; I’ve come here to escape it. He grinned from ear-to-ear and announced to the whole shop:

There’s an Englishman here who has come to France to escape the Queen!

This created a lot of excitement. Madame la Proprieteuse rushed over and expressed her real sadness that Diana had died in France!

So, this year I have decided to avoid the ‘overseas’ option. I should have known better I suppose. Look at any new stand in Paris — you know those lovely street kiosks that house tardis-like proportions of newspapers — and you will see many French celeb mags that drool over our Royal Family.

I have decided to use a little cunning this year. If the Prince of Wales’ son is getting married then I will head off to Wales itself.

This will be no great excursion just a chance to check through all of our gear prior to the TGO Challenge. We will leave the train at a small coastal station, walk along the seafront for a few miles before heading inland and into the Carneddau. On Friday night we will wild camp next to some small tarn or babbling stream. This is a favourite route for me and one which I tend to do once every eighteen months or so, although I tend to forget about the midges which can plague my favourite campsites in summer. On Saturday we will walk into the heart of the mountains before descending to the Ogwen Valley and, perhaps, even to Capel. Saturday evening might be spend in a weird little camp spot that I’ve had my eye on for years. On Sunday we will descend to Betwys and last chance to forage for gear.

I suppose it won’t be possible to avoid all of the nonsense of this wedding thing completely. But at least the mountains will have provided some all-important equilibrium to the weekend!


This Crap Rail System of Ours!

There are times I despair of our commitment to public transport which — after all — should be high if we are to deal with global warming.

This weekend I am planning two trips, one on saturday for walking and one on Sunday to Malvern and a visit to Cartwright Towers so Kate can try on new packs. It is the Sunday trip that is causing the problems.

The Sunday trip was arranged on Tuesday with Rose after checking national Rail Enquiries (and Trainline) to check train times. The plan is to get to malvern play with gear and then maybe find somewhere for lunch. Train times were checked and sorted. Kate independently checked the train times as well. We were all set.

Some deep instinct made me check the times again last night. Suddenly all the morning trains had gone. I double checked on Trainline. Yes, they’d vanished. Maintenance.

This seems quite extraordinary to me on a couple of grounds. Firstly, this is the school holidays and it is quite possible that people wanted to plan trips to and from Malvern this weekend, it is a holiday and day-trip destination of course. Secondly, is it really the case that network rail only plans its maintenance less than a week ahead of schedule? I doubt it.

Things get worse really. There are two of us making the trips on both days. A quick check on the web revealed the combined costs for the two of us of doing both trips. I have a preferential account with Avis. I checked their rental rates for a small car for the weekend and guess what.? It is cheaper to use the Avis service. Petrol costs might tip the cost balance towards rail but only marginally so.

So, we will be driving to our destinations this weekend. We would have called off the trip if it wasn’t for the fact that it is going to be very difficult to get over to Malvern after Sunday in time for the Challenge.

I decided to complain. The predictable answer was that I Could still get to Malvern by taking a train three hours later which involved three changes and a circuitous route (from Birmingham) via. Cheltenham.

Maintenance is important and has to be done at weekends and probably at holiday period. But some notice would be welcomed!

The Human Race and its Stewardship of the Environment

The Monaliadth posts have got me thinking about our responsibilities to the natural world and the need to make better sense of these thoughts. Apologies, but I use blog posts to help me do this! A long a provocative post follows!

My personal approach to wild land is built on John Muir’s philosophy. But Muir was living in a very different world. Is his philosophy really up to the demands of the modern world?

First off, I should make it clear that I believe Climate Change to be a major problem. We consume too much in fossil fuels. Even those who don’t accept Change itself have to appreciate the finite nature of our resources. We may now be at Peak Oil or we might be in a few years. But whether we have peaked or not it seems to be the case that we simply cannot increase oil production any more. Yet there seem to be few limits to the rise in consumption as China, South America India and next Africa expand their economies. Business fantasies about clean coal but we have no significant carbon capture plant anywhere in the world. Nuclear development has never properly accounted for its true costs of development and operation. Its safety problems have not been solved and have you ever looked at the nations who have the biggest uranium resources? They are hardly stable.

Consumption is key. We should be limiting consumption. Renewable energy is important but in reality it too rests within a complicated commercial world. Renewable energy is not free. In terms or you and me we would all get more benefit if expenditure on renewables was put into better home standards and measures to make housing more energy efficient. But we are too wedded to markets.

The author Jonathan Frantzen addresses many of these issues in his new novel Freedom. One of his leading characters — an environmentalist — points out that renewable companies like to show pictures of nice landscapes that are enhanced by one or two pretty looking turbines. And to be fair we have all seen landscapes like that. But, as Frantzen points out, these brochures and images are myths. Nobody ever gives an artist impression of how many turbines would need to be on that hillside if we are to meet renewable targets.

And here is the first key point to absorb.

The Scottish Government has set a target for renewable production. Over this coming decade they are planning for 80% of electricity consumption to be met by renewables.

Fantastic. But 80% of what. 80% of predicted energy need is what we are talking about, not 80% of reduced consumption.

In September Alex Salmond said:

“Scotland is blessed with abundant natural energy sources, particularly in our seas, where Scotland is estimated to have a quarter of Europe’s potential wind and tidal energy capacity and a tenth of its wave resource. We are already on the path to a low carbon economy – Scotland gets nearly a quarter of it electricity from green sources.

“Scotland is ideally-placed to help lead the renewables revolution and taking account of the levels of planned investment over the next decade, I believe it is now time to aim higher and to go further.

“Recent work by Scottish Enterprise has shown the huge potential for employment in the renewable industry, with up to 28,000 direct jobs being created to service the Scottish, UK and worldwide markets for offshore wind turbines. It has also been estimated that 60,000 new green jobs could be created by 2020 in low carbon industries

“Strong leadership is needed across government and industry to attract the investment to deliver these jobs, so the Scottish Government is today raising the renewable generation target for 2020 to 80 per cent.

This is an economic development argument and not an environmental one. It may be legitimate to some extent. But it recognises the reality that we chose to deal with these issues within a capitalist construct.

The point about capitalism is that it has no limits. It strives to do what it strives to do which is why regulation is so important. But our approach to regulation is in itself an economic response. Remember it is only a few years ago that we were being told by business that the best regulation for banking and financial services involved less regulation. Politicians bought this because the dream — of always getting something for nothing — was just too powerful.

Our whole approach to renewables and the cutting of carbon is market based.

Think of carbon credits, designed to create a new kind of commodity market. The carbon market has hardly been a great success but we are told this is because the initial credits were not high enough, that the allocation of credits were too tight. Only the Greens have been clear that this carbon market is nuts. It will never work.

But if carbon credits work at a European (or wider) level what about closer to home?

What about Feed-in Tariffs? They must be good? Well, they are to some extent but just think about what they are. Electricity producers must guarantee to purchase micro generated power at an artificial price over a contracted time regardless of the cost. This is in effect a business tax. It might be a good tax but we are lulled into feeling good about it because we thing there is a personal benefit to ourselves. Of course, I’m not against these tariffs and I’m considering using them myself. But the whole scheme is artificial. We cannot mention the tax word these days. On Channel 4 news the other night they had to explain the concept of Income Tax and fairness. To oldies like me this is laughable but in reality income tax has been seen as evil since 1979!

We are attempting to create another pseudo market mechanism.

The expansion of wind power is undoubtedly market based. Landowners get an income for land that is pretty much useless for anything expect deer of grouse. Land that was an amenity, a status symbol now has greater utility. As someone pointed out to me the other day if there had been sea owners to benefit from development we would have invested much more in tidal power. But the problem with tides is that there is not such a direct benefactor. I can see how you raise money on markets for the exploitation of land. We won’t exploit the sea until a market mechanism has been developed to match technological innovation.

Now this is not really meant to be a rant but a considered view.

We will need more renewable power. Much of it will come from wind even if we should be equally focussed on cutting consumption. But we do need to come back to John Muir.

Is it right that we should protect wild land and wilderness? Should a mark of the human race be that it is advanced enough to leave well alone?

Well, yes. While Muir was living in a different age his philosophy still holds true.

But how many people properly appreciate the real level of challenges?

Consider the Monaliadth ridge that we have been talking about this week. Who knows it is there and who knows how beautiful it is? Only a handful of us! The irony is that if there was a road along the top of it there would probably be outrage at the proposal!

The real challenge of all of this stuff is for us to find ways of repackaging Muir’s message for a new generation. Do I know how to do it? No. But I am sure that it needs to be done.

VickiT has commented on my Chilly Wind post:

“Sometimes I feel as though I’m the only person in the Highlands who finds wind turbines beautiful and awe-inspiring. Far from detracting from the landscape, I feel they add to its remote, austere beauty. Few experiences have compared with walking through the Novar wind farm above Evanton, for making me feel small in the big wide world”.

I have often felt the same way. But Vicki is romancing about something of a scale that is way out of line with what is planned. Ultimately this is a political issue and one which needs some political education.

I have put all of this in a global perspective. I don’t believe a market approach will do much more than give us a more efficient set of industries and profits. I’m not against profit or business. I have one myself. But we shouldn’t kid ourselves. But things go beyond even this in Scotland. What I have issue with here is an economic view of economic and nation development that is being foisted on us by the Scottish government. They are adopting a far more extreme position than many of the European leaders in Western Europe.

This year I drove along French autoroutes from the South West to Paris. Those of you who have been in this part of the world will know that it is very flat and windy. I drove happily past mile after mile of wind turbines sitting alongside agricultural land. (Let’s leave the issue of agribusiness for now!). The weather was gorgeous. The sun shone. The fields were vivid yellow for sunflowers and ripening grain. The turbine did indeed enhance the whole feel of the environment. If I had driven South I would have seen the foothills of the Pyrenees festooned with gorgeous, slow moving windmills. But if I’d ventured into the mountain habitat would I have found them. No? The French system of government — and philosophy of life — simply wouldn’t put up with it even outside of the Pyrenees National Park. The same balance can be seen everywhere.

The Scottish government is not planning this kind of French development it is looking to do something else.

Campaigns and arguments must focus again on the simple Muir principles of what is right and what is our responsibility. Campaigns need to somehow get over the scale of development. Images of pretty turbines need to be countered with images of many, many turbines. Campaigns need to focus on the real world and not these devious ‘targets’. Why are we planning to increase consumption? Why re we prepared to waste billions on underpinning pseudo markets? Why are we prepared to see Green industries be created just to put more money in the pockets of those who already have too much!

So I will wish the campaigners all the best, so long as they don’t get too loony. We do need wind turbines and the position as laid out by the John Muir Trust in their objections is just about right.

This is a political issue. We might laugh about Donald Trump and his barmy plans but I reckon Alex Salmond would be more at home dinner with him than with Cameron Macneish — actually, I’ve had dinner with Cameron and I might prefer dinner with Trump 🙂

But to be serious for a minute, we cannot ignore the politics. Campaign with the Lib Dems (yes even them) and with Labour in Scotland. Get the Muir message out into the mainstream of Scottish and UK political debate. At the very least, Danny Alexander should be encouraged to show solidarity with his neighbours who do not have National Park protection.

Good campaigns not only spread positive messages, they se tout to hold people to account.

80% of Scottish energy from renewables within a decade! That is one hell of a lot of windmills and dams! Perhaps even us romantics should start to think about what this looks like!

Rant off !!!

Back from Scotland!

Well, I’m back! Lots to chat about here and I’ll do a series of weird and wonderful pieces rather than one trail report.

I must remember, next time, some of the basics in life. Colin is younger than me, carries a lot less weight in his pack and a lot less weight on his body. By the end of day three I was completely knackered!

We ended up on the Cairn Gorm ridge in poor visibility and rain. We descended to the funicular station and took the train back down to Aviemore. Such slackers !!!

As we rolled down the hill I was conscious of the fight to stop the damn thing being built, while being relieved it was there. There was something bizarre about the trip. The funicular carriages emerged from a tunnel out on the hill. Visibility was virtually zero but the taped message churned on:

“In front of you can be seen the splendid country of Strathspey, with its wonderful lakes and trail that run through the Rothimurcus Forest” (Or something like that).”

We wondered what our fellow travellers made of it all. A Chinese family looked quite bewildered. What did they make of it all? Then again, what else is there to do on a wet afternoon in Aviemore?

Weird. Ironic. And very funny. A bit like the whole trip really. I’ll try and capture some of it in some of the posts.

One bit of advice to end on. Just in case you’re in Aviemore some time soon do not eat in the Star of India Restaurant. This was by far the worst Indian meal I’ve had for a long time. As I write my stomach is still remembering it!

Grrr ….. And On It Goes

A couple of days ago I wrote about this mountain in Scotland that was being re-measured to see if it could reach Munro Height (3,000 feet).

For those of you not in the UK, I can tell you that the Munro Society failed in their attempt to find a new Munro. Indeed, the mountain in question – Foinaven – is actually smaller than originally reckoned.

When I saw this I fell about laughing. But not for long. The same society has cheerily announced that they will be measuring a second hill on Thursday this week.

The new hill is Beinn Dearg, a hill that I know. After Foinaven’s demise the Beinn now heads the list of Cobbetts (I forget what tey are but they are smaller than Munros). Maybe this could be a new Munro? Or maybe not I suppose.

Beinn Dearg is a lovely hill in lovely countryside. It will remain a lovely hill whether or not it is classified as being over 3,00 feet.

I wonder how much all of this nonsense is costing in terms of money, skill and expertise?

They should cease this rubbish immediately and make a donation to the Mountain Rescue Service instead.

I do hope that Thursday is the end of all of this!

Driving Me Mad …

I don’t know about you, but today’s almost saturation coverage of a mountain that might be thirteen inches taller (or something) and that might become a Munro is driving me mad.

While I like the tops of hills – and high ridges – I’ve never really understood the obsession of Munro bagging.

Some of these people are mad. I just don’t care whether there is another one or not. If this hill is a nice hill then people will walk it. But this business of finding another new Munro every five years or so just has to stop!

As ever there seems to be some politics behind it with the Munro Society trying to rest authority from the Scottish Mountaineering Council. But I just don’t care. Stick with the list you’ve already got.

After all, the damn things are only 3,000 feet high.

Of course, all of this is being done with GPS. I should have known!