East vs. West?

 Not quite the sunny east, but better than the west ...Tinto.


Not quite the sunny east, but better than the west …Tinto.

As you may have read on my Face Book page we’d planned to get out for a walk on Wednesday.  The forecast had been really quite good for the west Highlands that day, with low wind speeds, predominantly dry, reasonably high cloud and some sunshine.   We’d decided that we’d drive up to Tyndrum and walk Meall Odhar, a small hill that rises immediately to the west of the village and should on a fine day, offer great views into Cononish Glen and across to the bigger hills around it.  We’d walked this hill a good number of years ago with our friend Guy.  Quite when exactly (8 / 9 years ago perhaps) I can’t quite remember.  If you’re reading this Guy perhaps you can let me know.  Guy is far more organised than me and keeps a log of all the walks and climbs he does.  He did give me a copy of the spread sheet he designed for the purpose so that I could keep my own record …but of course  I never quite managed to keep it going after an initial bout of enthusiasm and now I’m working full time on the painting ….well I have a good excuse!  Anyway, the day the three of us all went to Meall Odhar it was pretty miserable weather. ….very low dark cloud and rain.  Needless to say that we didn’t see anything as we plodded our way up through dripping trees and then followed the steep zigzagging path up through the old lead mine to reach the open hillside.  It was, that day, a very damp walk but I’ve often thought that it’d be well worth going back on a fine winter day ….hence our plans for Wednesday

These plans however, were based on a forecast I’d seen on Monday morning and unfortunately after getting back late from my studio that evening, I’d forgotten to check the new forecast which is issued early evening each day.  The original forecast had suggested that Tuesday wouldn’t be good weather, but on Tuesday morning I found myself admiring the garden from the back door ….and it was bright sunshine.  At that point it occurred to me that perhaps things had changed and Nita grabbed her Kindle and went to the forecast page.  Sure enough, now Wednesday was looking really quite grim …instead of dry and bright and calm ….it was now winds gusting 45 mph, low cloud and persistent and at times heavy rain and higher up, snow.  Ahhhhhh!   Grabbing for anything that might give us hope, we went to the Met Office forecast instead …only to be met with the same ….and  ..AND ….a ‘weather warning’.  My language at this point was not good!

Now then, my good friend Norma, who lives in Angus, has been telling me for years that she lives in the sunny east and we live in the wet west ….and in all honesty, she has a point!  We looked at the forecasts for south east Scotland and sure enough, although not brilliant, it did suggest that we’d get a reasonably dry walk  if we headed in that direction.  Nita had been working night shifts at the weekend and was doing twelve and a half hour day shifts on Thursday and Friday, so we didn’t want a huge walk or for that matter, a huge drive…..just somewhere we could get a few metres of ascent and descent into our legs and some fresh air into our lungs.  Tinto, the small but prominent little hill to the south of Lanark seemed to fit the bill and so we made our way over there instead of north to Meall Odhar.

As changes of plan go, it was a good one.  We did get our walk and we did stay dry, if a little wind blown, especially at the very top of Tinto ….and what is more, we got back to the car and out of our walking gear just five minutes before the rain making its way over from the west arrived.  Perfect timing.  It’s good to be flexible!

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