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Showing posts from December, 2015

Cobbled Together

The south peak ('Jean') on The Cobbler, 12th December 2015 Here's an interesting round-song of place-names for Arrochar, in cartullaries and statistical and printed records since 1395: Arrochar/Arochar/Arrochquhair/Arrochquhare/Arroquhar/Arachar/An Tairbeart Iar/An t-Àra ... I was walking uphill wondering what sticks, what's in a name, why do they change, does the landscape care, who are the caretakers of a place-name? We might just be flecks of mica flashing briefly on a sun-struck pebble in the streams, but names are important to us in our brief mappings of our landscapes. Our human territories are marked by names, sign-postings, marker boulders, paths and cairns, amongst other structures, both textual and physical. 'The Cobbler' mountain - Arrochar's finest and most distinctive peak - is a curious example of the fluidity of naming the landscape; of confusion, habit, fashion, politics, class, and misinformation. The confusion starts even w

Mountaineering in Scotland (The Early Years) - Review

Mountaineering in Scotland: The Early Years by Ken Crocket (SMT, 2015) Review by John Watson History is the silent traveling companion of any mountaineer. The thematic thrust of this major work – as the back cover copy suggests – is that a knowledge of history and landscape enhances our climbing experience. Indeed, it is necessary to appreciate this fourth dimension as grounding for a longer-term sense of place and deeper satisfaction of our sport. Climbing in Scotland follows a deep palimpsest of visitation as climbers since the middle of the 19th century have traced each other’s steps on vertical ground, deviating only where the technology allowed deviation. Difficulty is always relative, but the landscape is the same, the challenge always present. There is one thread between us, and a hungering urge for return and revisit. This book looks to the first hunger pangs. The initial chapters guide us through the transition from landscape and geology as neces