Cycling down the road to hell…

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I have been doing a fair amount of cycling recently in an attempt to up the fitness levels. I have taken the bike up some mountain trails- which has been fun as it is a ‘hybrid’- not a full mountain bike, and has no suspension.

Today however, we were picking Will up from a cub scout weekend in Lochgoilhead, so I took my bike on the back of the car, and Michaela dropped me off to cycle up over the pass and down Hells Glen.

Hells Glen has a steep single track road that winds down through precipitous wooded slopes. Cycling down there is a white knuckle ride, with mouth firmly closed against the insect life. It is so named because it was a place once black with the fires of smelting and charcoal burning- impossible to imagine now, as few obvious traces remain.

The climb out of the Glen up to the A83 at the top of the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ is quite something. It starts out kindly- climbing through leafy Birch forest next to a lovely stream. But half way into the 700 foot climb the slope goes brutal.

Which kind of brings me to an Evangelical moment…

The road to hell is swift and seductive, but the climb in the other direction is very, very hard…

And by way of proof, a few photies;

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Winter (and William) stage a comeback…

Will with hood up

Will with hood up

William has been away to the Lochgoilhead Feis this weekend, run by Lochgoilhead fiddle workshop.

He has had a ball- lessons on the Clarsach (hence the photo in the earlier post) the fiddle, and whistle, as well as Gaelic singing and pecussion.

He also had a chance to do a high ropes course, go out on a high speed boat, and shoot arrows. We missed him, but he had loads of fun.

We went to fetch him this afternoon, and to watch some of the kids put on a bit of a show. It was great to see so much enthusiasm for making music- which I think is one of those key things that holds communities together. Because Will is at a Gaelic unit in school, he has a chance to get involved in all sorts of Scottish cultural events- and it gives us such pleasure to see him soaking into the stuff of our adopted land.

A few weeks ago he went to a Celtic connections event with school, and seemed to pick up a hero in young singer Norrie MacIver, accordionist, beatboxer and member of the band Bodega. Norrie was one of the tutors at the Feis, and Will has come back full of enthusiasm- wanting to take up learning an instrument again. Thanks Norrie! We all need role models, and people to draw us on…

The weather was dreadful though! The drive down the spectacular Hells Glen is always a challenge- and when there is snow on the road it can be treacherous.

So here are some photos…