This land is your land...
- Unknown hillwalkers of our time, No.1. The day of the Scotland squad's arrival in Sweden for the Euro Championships, manager Andy Roxburgh is quoted thus: "It's not the end of the world if you lose. Recovery is possible, but realistically you're climbing mountains if you fail to take something from the first match". From which it's perhaps fair to assume that not only the bold Scots, but the much vaunted English squad will be seen slogging penitentially up various Bens, Sgurrs and Pikes over the close season. While Gary Lineker's spare time in the Land of the Rising Yen will be spent on the slopes of Mount Fuji.
- A weekend in May and the TV news reports on something called the "Scottish Rib Race". No, not a Harpies & Quines gala - that's the Scottish Spare Rib Race - but a highspeed romp between various westcoast islands in rigid inflatable powerboats. "Why do you do it?", one reporter asks of the race organiser - a man who broke three vertebrae last time round. "Why do people climb mountains?", he rhetorically replies. Now, forgive us if we're wrong, but most folk climb mountains for peace and quiet, solitude, fitness, lack of pollution, etc, etc. Whereas these guys love nothing better than to pollute already overpolluted Hebridean waters with noise, diesel and yuppie lifestyles before heaving their overfed beerbellies and bankbalances back to the more southerly climes from whence they came. No difference, really.
- In true investigative style, TAC has raked The Munro Show dustbins for choice pickings. Hence we learn that only two so-called "landowners" created a fuss about Muriel and the team filming the hills they purport to own. One, predictably, was the House of Windsor. 'Nuff said. But the other, "Lord" Burton of the eponymous crap jacket empire, even went so far as to demand a £1000 fee for use of The Saddle. Not even that, but both he and his factor were only contactable in England - which, in the latter's case, is as inapposite as finding Bernard Matthews in the Birthday Honours List, or Eldorado on the box of an evening instead of El Tel.
- You know it must be midsummer when it's Christmas in Neighbours, when High Court injunctions rain down on New Age travellers, and when the Bell's Scottish Open TV advert returns to the nation's screens. Know the one we mean? Mystical Clannad-type musak, plummy voiceover about Lyle, Woosnam, Faldo et al, softfocus camerashots of an osprey plucking a salmon from some idyllic Highland loch. A what??! Yes, an osprey - rarely-seen predator of a glen which doesn't even harbour any more of its eponymous eagles. If it wasn't that TV never lied, you'd think the ad agency got their Strathspeys confused with their Strathearns after downing one too many drams of the sponsor's best. Or that they just think we're plain stupid.
- When the third leg of the World Mountainbike Grand Prix series recently came to Scotland, you might have been forgiven for imagining Lycra-ed sinews swarming all over a beloved hillside. The course was, however, along forest tracks in the gently rolling Strathpeffer landscape. Yet although hardly towered over by mountains, competitors complained long and hard that the rugged terrain wasn't the manner to which they were accustomed. Even the prospect of bathing weary muscles in the town's much vaunted Victorian spa waters was of no comfort. Eventually forced to brave the course, several shock results arose due to the aforementioned unique terrain. Legs one and two of the championship had been held in the well known mountain regions of Holland and Belgium.
Next Issue: Lake District Special
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