Wilderness on my doorstep…

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I am just back from a tramp around the hills above Dunoon. Exercise, I feel, is overdue.

What a lovely day- crispy frosty grass underfoot- bogs the more friendly for a creaking coat of ice. Views opening up over the distant hills and mountains.

For those who are used to walking in England- the hills of Cowal were mad busy today. I saw more people than I saw deer! (For the record- two people, one deer.)

The downside for this lack of use is that there are few if any paths, and so progress is hard and potentially fraught with wrong turnings. Today I found the summit of Bishops Seat, cold and whipped by thin clouds. But an attempt to find a trouble free and easy descent was foiled by fallen trees and areas of clear-felled forest. I emerged very muddy but satisfied, tramping through all the clean dog walkers on the path around the reservoir with pride at my obvious adventure.

I have come to love the kind of local walking that follows a known route, then extends it into the unknown- a new peak beckoning, or a clamber alongside a burn as it forces it’s way through the forest. I do not use a map for these outings- they are of little use in the forest anyway (planting and felling changes the landscape all too frequently.) A compass is useful to ensure that a firebreak is in the right direction, but beyond that- it’s about following the nose…

And today, it was wonderful.

I know myself blessed to be able to live amongst such beauty.

Today, it was good to be alive, and easy to worship God.

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