Hi-tech review: Perkin Warbeck on Flybys
Okay, so Alan Blanco has created a veritable smorgasbord of digital hill-related info on his Mountain Centre. But does the Internet actually deserve all this fuss? Yes and no. For a start no-one ever tells you how slow it is. Some of these servers just sit there shuffling a couple of bits each to a thousand sad souls every minute. (That's confined to alt.binary.erotica in my experience - Ed.) But it is undoubtedly true that if one has a peccadillo with a digital solution or a particularly unusual hobby, the Net might just hold the key. I have neither, but did spend a rainy January day trying to find flybys.
These are little computer movies that might have been shot from a helicopter. It's easy enough to get one of Mars or Venus, but relatively difficult to find the Scottish hills. Our friends in the OS, needless to say, are somewhat unwilling to part with the digital data required. In the entire Net I found three which might interest the hillgoer. All have subsequently been included as links from Blanco's Mountain Page. Best of the bunch is a Grand Tour of a snowy Cuillin ridge, created by TAC's own Grant Hutchison from OS data, for which he paid dearly. The second movie is in the mpeg format and is a flyby of Beinn a'Bheithir, although don't expect them to spell it that way, as "Vheir" is what you get. However although rather small, it is a nice wee flyby. The flight starts in Loch Leven and takes in both Munro peaks. The virtual Budgie does a nice line in wobbling.
Third up is Landform UK. This is quite a hi-tech site and some of the virtual landscapes are pretty convincing. One problem however is that they have chosen to illustrate a part of Welsh Albion's Plain called the Brecon Beacons. These occupy a place in the collective consciousness because they are used for SAS training. Well excuse me. I don't think the old SAS can be as hard as they like to tout themselves if this is where they train. I would be more impressed if they ran barefoot along the Cuillin ridge or even took potshots at each other round the Cyclopean Walls of Arran's castellated summits. From the evidence of this particular flyby the SAS are about as hard as the Greenock Morton casuals.
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