This land is your land...
- Following our comments on the proposed shutdown of the RAF search-and-rescue bases comes a letter from an insider with connections both at Kinloss and Leuchars. The tale he tells is, as with so many MOD botchups, a pitiful one. It concerns the wee daughter of a Leuchars pilot who, not unreasonably, fancied joining her da for a whirl in the real-life version of Budgie the helicopter. No way, said the MOD: she's in neither the RAF nor a Mountain Rescue Team, so has to stay grounded. Not convinced, the father wrote to Jimmy "I'll fix it to put parkbenches on The Ben" Saville, in hope of the trip being arranged via the popular TV prog. The Greatest Living Medallion Man liked the idea, approached the military, but was again met with blank refusal. But what's most interesting is the hidden agenda. According to our correspondent, the real reason for the knockback was that "it would only highlight the demise of the helicopters and increase our embarrassment". Good to know the military have the best interests of the nation at heart.
- The appeal, in TAC10, for a Walt Poucher appreciation society has, to some extent, been met by the fine piece of purple prosody to be found on pp4-5 of this very issue. And also, it would appear, by BBC Scotland's latest weatherperson appointment: that of one Vanessa Collingridge. This is so near Vanessa (or should it be Bheinnessa?) Coolin Ridge as to obviously be deliberate. Your TAC editorial staff are currently conducting a study of the frequency with which she forecasts Stygian Gloom for parts of the Western Highlands.
- Besides churning out copious copy for recent TACs, Grant Hutchison of Dundee has also been pondering the vexed question of what constitutes - if that's the right word - the worst path in Scotland. Parameters, he suggests, could be mobbedness, erosion or simply the tendency for it to perform a disappearing act after three miles. For starters Grant suggests the weel-kent quag up onto Cruach Ardrain from the A82 - although this can now be cannily swerved (see a cryptic note in TAC7). We would wish to add two paths which appear - again if that's the right word - not to exist beyond the confines of cartography: that up the Allt a'Gharbh-choire towards Cairn an Tuirc from the A93, and the crosscountry route up towards the Deil's Putting Stone from Nether Holm of Dalquhairn near the Water of Ken - a route so non-existent as to have been struck off the most recent OS map. Any more for any more?
- Your TAC editor himself, very much a somosa-and-sardine man, has long been fascinated by what others choose for sustenance on the hill. But even he, with his occasionally trenchorious eating habits, would baulk - or should that be boak - at a walker reportedly seen packing a daysack at Longthwaite youth hostel in the Albion Pond District. No sandwiches, no cans of Diet Pepsi, not even any atrocious Kendal Mint Cake. Just twentyfour - yes, two dozen - Jacob's Club biscuits, blackcurrant flavour. As they say in those parts, there's nowt so queer as folk.
- During the recent non-stop storms battering these shores, one of Vanessa Coolin-Ridge's colleagues on Reporting Scotland came away with the statement that: "...virtually every minor road in the central Borders was blocked by a tree". Some size of tree that.
2nd ANNIVERSARY OF TAC COMING UP NEXT TIME...
WIN A HELICOPTER TRIP WITH JIMMY MACGREGOR!!
TAC 11 Index