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Tom's Top Tales - mountains, glasses and the vicissitudes of the Scottish climate

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Tom Morton Tom Morton | 16:25 UK time, Wednesday, 6 October 2010

It's a pleasure this week to post the full version of a text I had to summarise on air, and one I didn't get the chance to read out at all. Both to do with mountains, glasses and the vicissitudes of the Scottish climate:

First, one from Dave Hewitt (well-known writer on matters mountainous, and indeed, outdoors editor of the Caledonian Mercury:

I once had my specs blow off on a hill - one of the most alarming moments I've ever had in 30 years of regular hillgoing. A big gust wheeched them off and away into the surrounding boggy tussocks - but, not now having any means of seeing properly, I had no idea exactly where.

Crawled around for a bit - was worried about treading on them. Then realised that about ten minutes previously I'd overtaken someone, so waited for him to catch up and asked him to help. He duly found them, for which I was hugely grateful. He turned out to be the only other walker met that day, so I was really lucky.

Could have picked my way slowly back downhill without them, but certainly couldn't have driven home.

Ever since then, I've carried one of those wee strings designed to tie on specs, and I attach it whenever it's particularly blowy or, even on calm days, if I'm on a scrambly narrow ridge where having my specs slide off my head would be a disaster.

And its sequel, from Malcolm Whyte:

Many years ago I went hillwalking to the Creise, near Glencoe.



Creise, Glencoe.  Image copyright https://www.flickr.com/people/youngthing/

Creise, Glencoe.

It was a grand day and on the way down I stopped on the moor to take one final photo looking back to the hill. I took off my specs to compose the shot, clicked the shutter and walked away. After a few hundred yards I realised my loss and went back to try and find the glasses, but no joy. A couple of weeks later the roll of film had been completed and developed at the chemist. Looking at the Creise photo, I realised there was a lone telephone line running across the moor and that this might lead me back to my glasses. I returned to the foot of the hill the next day with a friend; clutching the photo. Using the photo, the mountain and the telephone line, we managed to get into a position on the moor that gave the same view as the photo. To general surprise, the lost specs were found sitting on top of a boulder. We retraced our steps and enjoyed a pint in the Kingshouse Hotel. I drove home that evening with the specs safely in position on my face.

The next day I went on the train to Aberdeen and left them onboard. I had no photo to help retrieve them this time...

You can hear Tom Morton's daily top tales on the Tom Morton show, Monday-Friday 1400-1600.

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