From Rhiannon on C...

Thats Merry Christmas to all you English speakers!

Up at 6.30am with a very hyperactive child bouncing up and down with delight at the sight of all the presents under the tree. I'm currently drinking whisky and waiting for the tatties to finish cooking.

I intend to use this blog partly to waffle on about my point of view of the world around me and partly to regale you all with my tales of derring-do (!) in the mountains of Scotland. I’m primarily a walker and winter climber, preferring Scottish Ice routes over summer rock. I love the feeling of freedom and the very fact that I can forget the world and the relentless media bombardment that seems to affect us wherever we turn. Only in the hills can you turn your back on the labels and cynicism of our Capitalist and increasingly corrupt society. Up there you can stop and blether with your fellow traveller and not be branded a weirdo for smiling and saying hello to a stranger.

Yes, truly you can avoid the Capitalist trappings of our Society.

Of course I never ever venture out into the hills without my Scarpa boots, North Face jacket (Gore Tex lined), Montane Salopettes and trusty Vango rucksack!

This year, the plan is to get enough days out to enable me to start a Mountain Leader training course (ML). With this under my belt I’ll be able to lead groups out into the hills during the summer (The Winter ML is for the real gnarly types, all big beards, real ale and ruddy cheeks). This will enable me to share my love of the hills with others and make a little bit of extra money too. On the downside it will no doubt make my Hill-days a more noisy and fraught experience!

Ultimately this will turn me into a well honed climbing machine, but the way the weather has been recently I’m more likely to be an embittered old grump due to a lack of exercise, too much chocolate and an ever expanding waistline. I haven’t seen the hills in the last couple of weeks due to the constant gales battering the Highlands. The odd glimpse of snow in the hills is all the more infuriating for it!

Gaelic Phrase for the day: Tha mo ceann gort. (Haa mo kee-awn gorsht) My head is sore. A handy phrase for the coming festive period

Well according to Magnus Linklater of the Times this is so.

The Lewis wind farm has been the subject of much impassioned debate over the last couple of years, with locals crying foul of the developers and money grabbing councillors, and the said councillors claiming in a Nelson ‘stylee’ ‘I see no Protests’ , conveniently missing the petition signed by 4000 odd residents of Lewis.

In case you don’t already know, the proposed ‘development’ will include 240 turbines and the associated pylons, sub-stations and roads. If this development was built in London it would stretch across the full length of Greater London. This was recently covered by Coast on BBC2 and was the first program that I have seen to really show what kind of impact this will have on the Island.

Magnus' article (I'll call him Magnus, I feel 'Maggie' would be a touch too familiar)quotes all the usual Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace rhetoric. He seems to feel that it is perfectly acceptable to create further noise and visual pollution at the expense of the 'odd' Sea Eagle or Hen Harrier. How are we possibly saving the world by building a forest of turbines along with a hundred miles plus of road, digging up tonnes of peat in the process in an area of Special Scientific Interest?

All to the benefit of one million people. Not alot of people when you think about it. If those million people used energy saving lightbulbs, remembered to switch lights off when they leave the room (best to make sure no-ones in the room first, it's not nice to leave Granny in the dark) and refrained from decorating their entire house in OTT ridiculous Xmas lights, maybe we wouldn't need this wind farm. I can't help but feel the Government are just a little bit guilty of spoon feeding the masses.

'Have you used all the power again?

'Look...right, here's the thing. It's just not on right? Yes I know you need your Sky TV and your 4x4 and of course it's important little Tarquin has all the mod-cons...What?...What do you mean you'll vote Lib Dem next time....Ok, Look here's a big windfarm, energy efficient (ahem) and Green too. Never mind that, the locals don't even speak the same language as us, Garlic or somesuch nonsense.'

'Just don't do it again. Ok?'

I hauled myself out of bed with all the reluctance of dog being forcibly removed from his prime spot in front of the fire. The rain was absolutely hammering it down and the wind was howling like a madman. I left my family and the cat snuggled up together under the duvet while I made my weary way down to the car.

The drive to work isn’t too bad and I have to admit to a slight feeling of smugness as I go against the flow of traffic coming into Inverness, I work near Alness and fortunately for me I’m one of the few that do. The drive across the 2 bridges was somewhat dicey, with the wind doing it’s damndest to hurl me into the Moray Firth.

Work’s ok, if ever so slightly boring. It’s the canteen that provides the real entertainment. Sharing my lunchtime with a Vicky Pollard a-like and a Catherine Tate a-like provided me with a frightening insight into life as a Black Isle Young Lady about Town. Speech is spoken at machine gun fire rate:

‘Whatyoudo at theweekend?’

'AhwentootwithJaniceandTraceyandLaurenandwewentclubbin yeah?'

'That Janice she'sarightfukinslut yeah?'

'Yeah, anyway, wegotacoupleoflitresofciderandgotreallyfuckinblootered and anyway yeah, Sharon(TheSlut) sleptwithJohn(TheBastard) notthatI'mbovvered becauseIsnoggedMurdoandhe'shunglikeafukindonkey!'

-brays of laughter-

-and breathe-

First Post

Welcome to my blog, which you will hopefully find full of intelligent commentary and witty anecdotes on life in one of Scotlands newest cities. Although you're more likely to be subjected to weary musings on the reality of life in TescoTullochNess and the realisation that the local 'Neds' all appear to have more money and better prospects than me!