You didn’t think I had come all the way out to St Helena just to work, did you? Not a chance, not when there is some great walking to be done. Like the hike out to Great Stone Top, here on the right — and its smaller (but less accessible) brother, Little Stone Top as well. (More detail and photos on my other blog.)
Darrach Hill lies a short (but not easy) way north of the town of Kilsyth, in central Scotland. Ot becomes the fifty-ninth County Top that I have surmounted — and if you’re interested in that parallel project please do follow my other blog. The summit of this hill is only 1,171 feet/357m above sea level — sounds easy, right? Don’t you believe it. The crap that one has to negotiate to reach the summit fully justifies my use of the anatomical reference in the title of this post.
The last day in Ireland. Four days in the North, four photos with people in them, all taken in Derry — then four days in the Republic, four photos taken in different places and not a person to be seen (unless we count yesterday’s Madonna). Our drive back to Derry airport was partly done through the utterly empty landscapes of the Glenveeagh National Park. Lough Barra is in the middle of nowhere, but does have this slipway on it: maybe there is good fishing to be done there.
On 29th July 2012, ten years ago, I was obliged to leave the rustic yet comfortable surroundings of the Black Sail hut and haul myself over Great Gable, a substantial lump of rock, in what remains the grimmest weather conditions I have encountered on any of my Lakeland walks. As today’s trip was the 200th of those — a pleasing milestone to reach — it was also pleasing that the weather was a damn sight better. (See my other blog for the full details.)
Wandope wasn’t one of the two Wainwrights bagged on the day, but this long-distance shot of its summit was the picture that pleased me the most: a case of it turning out just as was intended. The slopes in the background are those of the High Stile range, over Buttermere.
Grey Friar, 2,536 feet high, is one of the Coniston fells of Lakeland; this picture is taken from its western side, in the Duddon Valley. The pose of the sheep was too good to ignore, though yes, maybe this would be better still without the foliage to bottom right. But I like the composition in any case. (For more from today see my Wainwrights blog.)
Spectacular View of the Last Two Days, number 1. This is the view from Carn Glas-choire, historic Top of Nairnshire, my 52nd County Top (see my other blog). In the background to the left, Braeriach, which is the third-highest mountain in the whole of the UK, at 1,296 m (4,252 ft). A magnificent panorama, and total vindication of my CT project: giving me an excuse to visit parts of my country that I have never before seen. This one was well worth the effort.
Culter Fell becomes my 50th County Top bagged. Not all that exciting a walk but a fine way to break the latest journey north into Scotland. I keep finding new corners of the country to explore and that seems a reasonable approach to take to the rest of my life.
Busied myself up enough to get to the Lake District once more: those who follow my other blog can read all about my day there. Gray Crag was the most dramatic object seen — but fortunately not climbed — today (I’ve done it before, and it’s proper work I can tell you). Below it to the left, just visible, Hayeswater, which supplies the taps of Penrith a dozen or so miles away, hence the need for the access road. But I don’t think that spoils the shot; instead, like a necklace, it seems to accentuate the graceful lines of this fell.
Base Brown lies in the upper reaches of Borrowdale, in the Lake District. I realised today that this place constitutes my third longest-lasting love affair: we’ve been going at it regularly since 2009 and I’m certainly not getting tired of the place.
(Seeing as I mentioned it.. Clare  comes in second and, as I can still be moved to care now and again, Brighton & Hove Albion  being the leader.)
After eight days in a row in the house, a morning out — so I could have something stuck up my nose, and then be returned. Somebody, somewhere, thinks there’s a point to all this. (I will add that I had things stuck up my nose both before flying here, and on arrival, and have been in isolation since.)
The island has a verdant interior but the rim is very barren. Out by the airport sits “Bradley’s Camp”, a bunch of prefabs surrounded by barbed wire and personal security that is presumably where the local authorities stick the asylum seekers, people with a 0.0001% chance of having a currently fashionable communicable disease, and other undesirables. But at least it has parking facilities for visitors.