Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Save Chambers!

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have occasionally mentioned Chambers Dictionary, well, just once or twice...

Its parent company, Hachette (there's an apt name if I ever heard one) decided last month that it would be a good idea to close the Edinburgh office, out of which Chambers has worked for 190 years - for no doubt sound financial reasons, but no sound human reasons - and split ChambersHarrup between the faceless leviathans of Hodder and Larousse.

A petition has been started in the hope of saving the Edinburgh office - with its twenty-seven real people doing real jobs - and prevent Chambers being subsumed. PLEASE SIGN UP!

Save Chambers Petition (you don't have to donate to iPetition)
Buy Chambers Dictionary! (Nothing compares with a real one!!)
@ChambersOnline (on Twitter)
Chambers Online Dictionary (The online version)
Clishmaclaver (ChambersOnline's Brilliant Blog)

The background story can be read on the Publishing Scotland website, and in The Scotsman.

Footnote, 16/11/09: the Chambers office is now due to close by New Year, with half the staff having left by the end of November. I am at a loss to describe how angry this makes me feel, and how sad I am. Bean-counters - I wonder how you sleep.

Friday, October 16, 2009

On Fogginess, Precipices & Isolation

The summit of Braeriach, as only the truly bonkers will ever see it:

The drop over the edge is 1,000', or more, depending on whether you bounce left or right as you go!

Having descended out of the cloud, Strath Spey shows in all its majesty. Only four hours to go...

And my favourite photo from August (a patched-together screen-bending panorama). This is Loch Avon:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Big Hill and a Healthy Soul

Have been in Scotland for five days, walking and climbing. Feeling stronger and stronger every day. Well, not today, but that's because I climbed a particularly big hill yesterday. Big enough for me to exclaim on the way up, at least twice, what the hell am I doing here? and whose idea was this again? Er... mine; but a good idea nonetheless.

The big hill was Braeriach, at 4,252' the third highest in Scotland. It is also one of the more isolated peaks in the Cairngorms, requiring a two-hour walk to reach the lower slopes. The photo is not mine - it was foggy and snowy yesterday, so much so that I turned back just 200 yards from the summit. You can see why...

Tomorrow I start for home, 600 miles and another world away. I won't get to come here again until next year, and I am already missing the battering wind, and crunch crunch crunch of my feet on some remote mountain path.

But my body is completely better, and I think my soul is now better too.

What's good for your soul?