Saturday, 2 May 2015

Day 11, Friday 1st May

Creag Thoraraidh, grid ref: ND 040 187. Via transmitter Tarmac service road from Navidal, north of Helmsdale.

Over breakfast I continued to read The Bradford Fire by Martin Fletcher (see my post: Day 9, 29th April). Showery weather was not encouraging, I carried on with the read until I finished the book at 11:30. I was expecting more circumstantial evidence to emerge about Heginbotham's involvement with the fire; he was the chairman of Bradford City Football Club at the time. His numerous businesses over the years had scored eight insurance claim fires, and the author brings this to our attention and quite rightly questions such unlikely coincidence, but no further evidence, circumstantial or otherwise is offered. Martin Fletcher does ponder why there was no police investigation into this man's affairs. Heginbotham's business dealings were often questionable, and he was proved to be an out and out liar regarding his declarations of ignorance about correspondence regarding safety requirements from various public bodies, and also regarding his announcement of plans for rebuilding the stand for which he said categorically that steel had already been purchased. All that was fiction.

The overwhelming facts emerging are the non-implementation by various governments over many years of recommendations made by various official enquiries into similar disasters at football grounds and other sporting events.

With all that rambling round in my head I jumped in the car and set off up the A9 to Helmsdale and did this final Marilyn (eleven in total I think).

I know I am not going to climb all the M's but I would like to think that I have done a good share of fairly difficult ones and that has been the case up here so far.There are many Ms that you can win by a very short walk and some where you can actually drive to the top. From the map today's hill appeared to almost qualify for "easy" albeit a four mile steep walk there and back, but on a Tarmac service road for transmitters on the summit.

There were two lots of masts on the summit plateau about quarter of a mile apart with a trig point plonked halfway between, but a couple of hundred yards across rough moorland off the road. To add to the confusion the Harold Street website (my source for the M's list) put the highest point in the middle of the moor between the first mast and the trig. On arrival I couldn't tell visually which was highest point and spent some time wandering about the moor visiting them all. GPS confirmed I was standing on Harold Street's grid reference but there was no cairn or other indication - anyway I have no qualms about giving this one a tick - 'twas a bit more a tricky than first indications from the map suggested.

Back in Helmsdale I found Thyme and Plaice, a free wi fi café. I hadn't noticed the name on entering, just the wi fi notice. I asked the girl for the password and got no result when I typed in "timeandplace", but all was resolved with a little smile. Here I met a father and daughter from California who were cycling round Scotland with good road bikes fitted with Ortleib pannier bags carrying their camping equipment. They had already been all the way up the west coast - a far cry from many foreign tourists who drive up the motorway and think they have seen our country. I do recommend Thyme and Plaice if you are passing by here.

Why, in all cafés, do they place your cake on top of the paper serviette so that it has often become messed up before you use it?

I am typing this on Saturday and I have decided to chill-out for the day before going home tomorrow, so no more Ms for the moment folks.




The Tarmac road - about halfway up


The most distant of the masts


Morvern from the undistinguished summit


Thyme and Plaice


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

5 comments:

afootinthehills said...

Farewell Conrad and have a safe journey home. I can't tell you how many of our Corbetts count as Ms or indeed how many we have climbed in total.Counting Munros, Corbetts, those in the Lake District, the odd one or two in the Dales and Peak Distriict plus local ones we must have done a reasonable number. I must do a thorough count sometime.

I'll post details of our ascents of new Ms and, who knows, I might even discover new cafes for your future forays north.

gimmer said...

an interesting trip and posts - enjoyable reading:
you have made what I had thought previously to be a rather dull area sound much more interesting and challenging, despite the changeable weather: only one wind powered electricity generating station reported - are the tales of their desecration of the landscape somewhat exaggerated - or have you become immune?

coastalwalker said...

Interesting account of the walk. Like you, I find it frustrating not to have a definite marker for the top of a hill. Perhaps that is one reason why people build stone cairns?

I remember the Bradford Fire so well. I was sitting nursing my newborn baby, watching mindless Australian soap operas on TV, when the program changed to a newsflash. And there was the football stand with a little fire at one end. It spread so rapidly, smoke and flames billowing along. People started running and dragging their friends and kids and hurling themselves over the front fence. They were the lucky ones, most of the dead were trapped in the turnstiles. Terrible. I felt physically sick watching it. Perhaps I need to read this book too.

Roderick Robinson said...

Time for you to vote Ukip. The country's going to the dogs. A napkin (unwisely called a non-U serviette) comes tainted by cake, clearly the fault of immigrants, EU bureaucrats, and those jackanapes in government who insist that cigarettes should be sold in plain boxes. I believe the latter point figures in Nige's manifesto so no one can complain he isn't seeing the bigger picture.

I've just realised you aren't in "the country" but in "a country". Score another one for Senor Farrago, who probably doesn't think much of devolution.

Sir Hugh said...

Afoot - your potential new café reports may dictate where I go for my next foray.

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I saw windmills all over the place but preferred to refrain from depressing comment. The only saving grace about them is that if we ever do find the magi energy source they could be easily dismantled which can't be said fo nuclear.

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Coastal walker - hi Ruth. I have been following your walk but it has been difficult making comments where I've been with poor signal. The book is certainly worth a read .

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RR - well I am non-u. I was aware of the two possibilities when I used the s word but couldn't remember which was which. I remember the book being published (Nancy Mitford I think) when we were living at Leylands Lane and it provoking discussion with Mother and maybe yourself.