Friday, June 27, 2003

Aultguish Fiasco

Basically, the guy double booked two clubs. When the other club arrived, the landlord argued with them, tried to refuse to give their deposit back, and ended up being accused of assault.

then we had run ins with him over the dog (it was supposed to be dog friendly) and then the evening after we climbed the Munro we were accused of being too noisy (and really, we weren't being), kicked out of the pub, they stopped serving us alcohol (no one was that drunk at all), and everyone had a row generally. I have never before been kicked out of an establishment, and when it happens I am with Alan's parents and a group of their friends!

now the guy has sent a letter to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland claiming that we caused damage to the bunkhouse (total lie) and were irresponsibly getting drunk on the hill and putting the lives of volunteer rescue services at risk. He actually likened us to drunk drivers in his letter! Which is funny, cause only a small amount of alcohol was consumed at the top of the hill, we had been at another pub before returning to the Aultguish, and obviously there were enough sober people to drive who hadn't had anything. In fact, I had all of one drink and a sip of whisky in the entire evening. So I got kicked out of a pub sober!!!

The council has sent a letter to the 8 Mile High Club saying that they need to answer these charges, because the landlord claims we put the name of the council in disrepute. His words, I kid you not.

Alan managed to track down the other club that had a problem with him on the internet, so they have been contacted and are going to get involved. And a teacher at the school alan's dad works at apparently had a separate run in with the guy.

Apparently, they want me to make a statement about all this as well, since I was there. Such fun.

The soap opera continues...

Friday, June 20, 2003

Fort William and Mallaig, or adventures of the unemployed (as Alan calls me)

We are back in Edinburgh again, and hence meant to be packing up the flat-it's being shown twice next week, once at 10 am which is annoying, cause it means that we have to be up and the flat cleaned by then. Most places in Edinburgh go at the first showing, so it's weird that they have three planned.

It was raining in fort William, surprise, surprise. Does it ever not rain there??? Every time I go, I wonder to myself at how small and touristy the town is. But the train ride to Mallaig is beautiful, even on a foggy, rainy day. We saw the Glenfinnian Viaduct, which is the bridge in the Harry Potter films. And we saw the stream train, though it's too expensive and touristy to travel on. The blue rinse brigade was out in force, along with a man in ledderhosen, when we watched the train board.

Mallaig was wonderful, not especially picturesque, but fun. We saw a seal in the harbor, and tons of fishing boats, so the fishing industry is not doing well, obviously. We wandered the docks, went to the heritage exhibit, saw the sea, ate great seafood and then hopped back on the train to Edinburgh.

My attempts to read War and Peace are going slowly, but it's a fantastic book. Now I just need to get through the next 900 pages-no doubt staying four days in Burntisland in a couple of weeks will help ;)

Monday, June 16, 2003

Stalled Walk

Ok, all, this is a hard to write, however, I must admit we aren't going to walk the entire west highland way. We have done half of it, and frankly, yesterday afternoon it stopped being any fun.

The first day was brilliant, we saw a deer, fox, rabbits, tons of birds, and the walking went well. Sadly, it was all downhill after that (and not the terrain, but my mood!). The second day started off well, for those of you who know the route, Conic Hill was wonderful and the weather has been nice throughout. However, once we got down off the hill and had lunch, the walk started getting tough. The entire bit alongside Loch Lomond is tough-all up and down, so it takes forever to make any distance at all. It took us until 8 pm to finish the day's hike and we had started at 9 am. The days were too long, and with my anemia, I was worried at how late I was eating-I started feeling really drained at about 6 pm each night, and then it wasn't any fun at all. My feet have stood up well, considering, though Alan's were really hurting after that second day.

So after another long slog yesterday, we decided that it wasn't worth continuing and not enjoying ourselves. I suspect we could have made it to the end if we had gone on, but... We seem to be among a very small minority carrying a large path. Should have had the bags taken to our stops for us and just carried a day pack.

Anyway, today was wonderful, having made the decision to stop and slow down, we did a pleasant 8 miles through Glen Falloch and it was beautiful. Sunny (I even have a burn on my neck!!!) and the scenery was great and there was plenty of time to stop and sit at the side of the river and just enjoy the outdoors. We will have to try to finish off the last half at some point-everyone says the second half is the most

so, we are taking the train up to fort William tomorrow and then we are going up to Mallaig, as the West Highland Railway line is meant to be one of the best train journeys in the world.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Climbing a Munro and getting chucked out of a pub

I have climbed my first munro! Yay! The Munro, which is just north of Achnasheen, is called Fionn Bhienn (pronounced Fee-on Ben). Alan's father was doing his last (there are 284 of them in Scotland) and so Alan and I were invited to climb it along with him and the 8 mile high mountaineering club. On a sorry note, all the middle aged men beat me to the top. As did an 84 year old!!! As I said to Alan though, if you take an anemic hillwalking, you just can't expect speed ;) at the top of the hill, we all drank whisky and Cava to celebrate.

However, the real excitement of the trip turned out to be at the aultguish inn-the landlord is a complete nutter! The night we arrived, alan's parents fell out with him within minutes about having the dog along with us (apparently, in spite of his inn being very dog friendly as per the website, it is actually only dog friendly in two of the many rooms). Then, while we're eating dinner, the guy asks me if we're the rannoch mountaineering club... Well, no. It turns out he double booked the entire place. Then, when one of the ranoch guys arrives, and is looking around the car park, the guy decides he's too close to the private area. The landlord accuses the poor guy of trespassing, the guy says he's got a booking, the landlord tells him to piss off, and the guys says well give me back my deposit. Next thing you know, the landlord is pushing the guy, who ends up calling the police threatening to charge the landlord with assault!!!

The next night, after the hillwalking, we're in the pub having dinner/drinks and get told we are being too loud-before 9 pm! Then one guy who is singing away gets told he's cut off, and if the rest of us want to continue to drink we have to move to the function room. Which we start to do, when alan's mum has an argument with the guy and we all get thrown out of the pub! So, the party had to continue in the rooms of the bunkhouse, but apparently this club comes well prepared, as they had a ton of booze.

So, that was my weekend, eventful to say the least. As Alan pointed out, it made for good entertainment, and there weren't any TV's, so maybe that was a good thing...

Now I am starting to pack up the flat (though I haven't done too much) and writing my anthro essay (I've taken the books out of the library anyway). And we leave Friday morning on our big hike :)

Thursday, June 05, 2003


Well, I'm finally finished work!!! And though it hasn't sunk in yet that this isn't just a long weekend or a couple of days off and that I am NEVER going back, it is nice to have some time to hang out.

Monday evening I went to see a reading by Margaret Atwood-read her new book! It sounds wonderful and I had no idea how funny she was going to be.

The next day I headed into Glasgow for some fun... First the train station in Edinburgh was closed because of a security alert (the queen was in the city...) and so I took the bus and then on my way home, the bus had made it maybe ten minutes away from Buchanan bus station and my bus driver jumped out of the bus, leaving us blocking all traffic, to attack a ten year old boy who had been throwing stones at passing traffic. It took at least 2.5 hours to get home-this always happens to me-trains are rerouted around chemical explosions, too much water on the track (between Oxford and Coventry, you'd think they would be used to lots of rain in England), etc. I am starting to think there is some sort of evil curse... However, during my day in Glasgow, I saw Yann Martell. Anyone else seeing the Canadian pattern here?

Yesterday I went and volunteered to stuff envelopes for the Fringe Festival, boring but then I did used to work at the mandate centre ;) and then in the evening...I SAW ANI DIFRANCO!!! It was the most amazing concert ever! Now all I have to do is make it to see Radiohead and all will be good.

We leave next Friday to walk the West Highland Way. Between now and then I need to clean up the flat, start to pack and write an essay on aggressive gift giving for my anthro class. Lot's to do, so of course today I am doing none of it and am going to the Chinese buffet down the road with Jenni and Alan instead!!

I am not covered against SARS, which is great since it doesn't seem to be going away in Toronto... Damn.

Oh, and I am about to clean an oven for the first time ever-I have lived independently for 6 years, and only now does it become an issue!

"And oh what a waste of thumbs opposable, to make machines that are disposable..." ani difranco