Out into the hills again today to try to bag some green squares. Green squares? – that’s how the un-geographed 1km grid squares show up on Geograph. The plan was fairly ambitious: to try to get into about a dozen different grid squares scattered over the hills to the north-west of The Chookery. One problem was that the squares weren’t a coherent whole and some involved strange lateral excursions into inaccessible corners of the forest. For once, this was a walk from home, and given the very cold weather and threat of snow, I was pretty well equipped with clobber. Also, I had a GPS unit to play with (a work device, but this was, of course, a familiarisation exercise which didn’t eat into employer’s valuable 9-5).
Started off fairly well, but as I climbed up the hills themselves I found the effort harder than normal, which could be explained by my bio-rhythms, where my “physical” curve is allegedly “critical” today.
This country is a succession of ridges and valleys with descents and re-ascents of a couple of hundred feet, which gets a bit annoying after a while. It’s unlike some of the moorland I’ve been bashing over on recent weekends and doesn’t have the same heathery charm, views or pretty little lochans. Also it’s got too many sheep for my liking and not enought deer. That said, I did sight two deer which, on reflection, were probably sika – very grey coats, dazzling white rumps, largish but with small, delicate heads. Mind you, they didn’t stick around for introductions.
This expedition involved a lot of skirting around the edges of the forest and a small excursion into the moors to grab an evasive square. Finally to a small ridge in the forest for one which had been inaccessible from any other direction. With seven squares under my belt, and snow showers coming in from time to time, it was appropriate to reconsider whether now was the right opportunity to head further north and west, and correspondingly further away from roads and home, given that I was not feeling my normal boisterous hillock-bouncing self. After a cheese sandwich and a flask of coffee in the shelter of a rock and looking down over the forest and loch, decided that home was the better option – I seriously doubt anyone else is going after those other grid squares and, if they do, good luck to them.
Back down through the forest on a track which I ahd discovered at the beginning of the year, this time showing signs of the forestry stalkers having been up and down it with an ATV and skid, and soon out of the forest onto the lochside road. The gun club were out getting ready for a practice shoot and a chance to have a quick chat with a few friends before getting home just before the wet snow came down thickly for half an hour or so.
Anyway, as is tradition, here is the pick of the day’s bag: