Our New Backyard

Last weekend we went for a walk in the Pentlands with David Hine, aka Gridnorth.  It was a good day of chat and soup and 3 or 4 easy summits, a late start and an early finish.

When I first moved here, I was pretty sniffy about Edinburgh's backyard.  ''Pah!'' I snorted (to myself - the grumpy hiker always walks alone), ''sheep country''.  I did a few day walks over the main summits, but nothing stuck.  An over- grazed desert, a tamed waste ground.  It was a bit unfair of me.  Perhaps I'd been spoilt by a 2 month through hike.

They still aren't wild hills, but I've since discovered a few odd corners inbetween farmland and grouse moor and the burns full of dead plastic and empty shell cases, long evenings under moonlight in the quieter southern stretches, geese migrating overhead.  And under snow they do transform into something else.  Something not quite as benign.  Even if it's just illusion, it's not a bad one.  The Kips are pretty elegant in their winter velvets.