Friday, 31 August 2007

Traditional celebrations - the feline way?

A very professional and reasonably priced glazier arrived this morning with a new pane of glass for our back door. No ordinary pane of glass, this one had a hole so we could fit a cat flap, thus ending months of running around opening and closing the door for our ungrateful little beasts. Hurrah!

However, for some reason Marmot's first response to getting a new cat flap was to run off into the garden and kill a blue tit. Is this a traditional form of cat celebration, a sort of barn-raising party which takes the form of a ceremonial sacrifice? Or is it her way of saying, "At last! Now I can bring dead things into the house any time of the day or night! I hope you don't mind mice on your head at 3 am hur hur hur."?

If killing little animals is a form of celebration, I'm just glad it's not something we humans do. Imagine:

"Susan, your excellent work around here hasn't gone unnoticed: we're going to promote you to Deputy Vice-Head of Marketing (Hertfordshire)."

"That's wonderful news. Excuse me..."


Thursday, 30 August 2007

The Cambrian Way

A couple of days ago I came back from a week walking the northern section of the Cambrian Way, an unofficial high-level mountain trail through Wales, which involved around 90 miles of walking and over 9,000m of climbing. You can see more photographs if you like - I'm quite proud of some of them.

The Cambrian Way has had a tricky history. When first proposed, there was a lot of opposition to the route. Some of this came from land owners worried about extra walkers strolling over their property, but with the advent of the Right to Roam, this is no longer such an issue as the vast bulk of the walk falls within the CRoW agreement.

More interesting is the second original objection to the walk: that giving it official status, like that enjoyed by its better-known cousin the Pennine Way, would encourage people onto the route who are not experienced enough to do it safely. Having spent a week doing the northern section, I have to say I now have a lot of sympathy with this view. The Cambrian Way through the Rhinogs and Snowdonia was one of the most enjoyable, breathtaking and rewarding walks I have done, but I'm certain that it was only thanks to years of hill-walking experience - including several other long-distance trails - that I was able to enjoy it properly. Indeed, had I not had well-developed navigation, scrambling and emergency skills, I know I'd have spent a considerable amount of the time blundering around in circles in almost zero visibility, or clinging to slippery rocks half-way down cliffs and grimly waiting for the icy kiss of hypothermia to put me out of my misery. Yes, Cnicht, I'm thinking of you...

It's an odd idea for a holiday, when you think about it. Can't wait until next time.