Clearing the New Year Wreckage

I’ve christened 2020 as the year of clear vision.  And the outdoors helps me to think and see clearly so what better excuse to come up with an outdoor wishlist or challenge that I’m going to strive for.

I’ve recently been reading Alastair Humphreys’ book called Microadventures. So a year of microadventures it is.  These don’t involve circumnavigating the globe on a unicycle or anything else too big, too far flung or that requires lots of gear.  They should be short, local and involve what equipment you have, removing barriers that people invariably put in the way of doing the things they really want to.  Read more about microadventures here.

I love the sound of this.  So this is my draft plan of potential microadventures for 2020:

Jan 2020 – Take a train ride for 30 miles then cycle home. (I’m thinking from Pitlochry, any excuse to visit Hettie’s Cake Shop before I start pedalling)

Feb – Take another, even shorter train ride with Kirsty and Sam from Rannoch Station to Corrour and stay a night at the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel.  While we are there, I’d like to catch something (fish?), cook it and eat it.

Mar – Bothy on a bike to Benalder Cottage.  Maybe even saunter up Ben Alder while I’m there.

Apr – Alistair Humphreys talks about a 5-9 adventure, where your adventure starts at 5pm and finishes at 9am the next day. In between you could go to the nearest woods, mountain, cemetery etc and camp out close to home.

May – Bivvy challenge on Sgurr na Stri, a hill that gives you the best view of the Cuillin Ridge and has been on my busket list for a while.

Jun – River swim for a day… Just what it says, jump in a river and swim down it for the day, pulling your stuff behind you in a drybag which is tied to you by a rope. My friend Sas says she’ll be there too!

Jul – Pack raft around Loch Rannoch.  I’ve never packrafted before.

Aug – A journey around home, following a 1 or 2 mile circumference line around my house. This could be another good one with Sam.

Sep – Travel across Scotland, coast to coast (like the TGO Challenge but at narrowest point), by bike.

Oct – Build a hut to sleep in. And sleep in it.

Nov – Book myself onto a foraging course.

Dec 2020 – Travel to Glencoul and Glendhu bothies by sea kayak.

Adventureman Neil is planning his own list, and no doubt our lists will overlap or change to suit some joint adventures. We plan to sleep in hammocks in the same spot for each of the 4 equinoxes, to see how the landscape changes with each season.  And there will be the usual walking/camping/snowboarding trips.

My first microadventure of 2020 took Neil and I to Meikle Bin (you might notice the hill isn’t on my planned list…….).  The weather looked awful (and was) but it was to be a quick trip up and down, with our ultimate aim being to blow the cobwebs of Christmas excess away, as well as find the wreckage of an old aircraft which crashed in the area almost 70 years ago to the day.  Read more about the Fairley Firefly here.  The red dots below show where the plane pieces could be found,

After leaving Todhills we followed the forest track, which covered about 90% of the distance.  Meikle Bin is the peak with the snow on it in the background below.

As we gained height we could see back down towards Fintry and the crags that surround the village.  By this point we were feeling the 40mph winds and could see the heavy rain speeding towards us.

On the final push to the top.

Just before the top we spotted the first piece of wreckage, a part of the wing.

We were only a hundred metres or so from the top and with a little help from the wind reached the trig point.  The views on a good day are supposed to brilliant, not so today.

We went back down the Western slopes of the hill and found the engine on the edge of the treeline.

The weather was blowing us around so we decided to leave the last red dot on the east side of the hill and we headed back to Todhills and the carpark, excited by what we had found, squeezing the rainwater from my sodden gloves and discussing how expensive waterproof jackets can be nowadays.

A fantastic first (micro)adventure of 2020.  Lots more to come.

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