Monday 4 June 2012

Bonnie Bonnie Banks

The bank holiday weekend was fast approaching and a plan was hatched. My brother and his fiance were both off so it was arranged we would finally tackle a hill together. Ben Lomond  was the intended target on the Monday of the long weekend.

Nothing could go wrong in the run up. Or could it. Last Saturday, during the heatwave, I decided to have a quick stroll up the The Greenock Cut (pics here). Halfway along, something went in my foot and the usual 40 minute return leg took just shy of 2 hours.

That's fine, it'll be fixed by next Monday I thought. All was going to plan, it was healing nicely until Thursday it started getting worse again. The text was sent and confirmed I probably won't be walking.  But by some miracle, I woke up on Saturday and it was completely cleared so a quick check to confirm Monday's weather was to be a scorcher and it was full steam ahead.

This morning arrived and the trip to Rowardennan began. We parked up at about 09:30 to be greeted by a plague of midges. So much so, my arms look as if I have got the measles.

After getting kitted up, the expedition was on our way. Ben Lomond is considered one of the easier ones and it definitely is. There isn't much technicality to it and the path is in such good condition it is a case of march on. And, that's what we did.

Following the path, upwards and alongwards, we were making better than expected progress. However, the dodgy joints started to make an appearance. But trudge on we did.

I have to admit though, I didn't mind the occassional stops as the views towards Loch Lomond in this weather was breathtaking.

Something of an unusual occurrence on a hillwalk, I found myself marching off ahead into the distance. I was quite proud of myself to see that my recent efforts at fitness have not been completely wasted.

After the first two crests, my continual marching got me to the summit approach. I was like a man possessed. Even more so now that the end was in sight.

And there it was. The Ben Lomond summit. It's true what they say, Ben Lomond is very popular, and even more so on a sunny bank holiday.

AS some of you may have noticed, there has been little mention of the rest of the expedition. Mind I said I marched on. Well it appeared I did. It wasn't until the summit approach that I saw Gaz was not too far behind but no sight of the third amigo.

This afforded me a good bit of time on the summit to just sit and relax and take some pics and soak up the views. The full Loch was ahead of us. It was also nice to get a distant view of Loch Sloy sandwiched between Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich.

Gaz was not long in catching up with confirmation that we were a man down. Turned out she stopped about the 760m mark but stopped due to a niggling leg injury. Got to admit though, that was a tremendous effort for a first attempt. Well done.

That was that then, Munro No. 2 for us together. A quick bite to eat than it was time for part 2 of the fun - the descent. This is where my knees start to go.

AS lovely as the view is, I really don't like this kind of descent. The view stays the same the whole way and makes it seem longer. Although, with the weather we usually get, it's not a bad sight to stare at for the next two hours.

Once we got down to the 700m mark the full compliment was back together when we caught up with Elaine who started to saunter back not too long ago.

Down and down, passing bus loads of folk and we finally got back to the vistors centre. And right on cue - Midges.

After a quick change of gear and the best bit of a walk - the trainer change - it was time to head on and wave farewell to the Bonnie Bonnie Banks until next time.

Today was a great day out. The weather and company were both good. As usual, the full picture gallery can be accessed by clicking below. I have fallen out of favour with Picasa so this is the first post to try out my new Smugmug account.

Ben Lomond (4th June 2012)
  • Stumble This Post
  • Save Tis Post To Delicious
  • Share On Reddit
  • Fave On Technorati
  • Buzz This Post
  • Tweet This Post
  • Digg This Post
  • Share On Facebook

Saturday 2 June 2012


[This post does contain spoilers]

The exams are done and that meant the flood gates are open for the summer with the following three events to look forward to:
  1. Prometheus
  2. Brother's stag do
  3. Brother's Wedding
Let's set the scene. Alien is my favourite sci-fi movie of all time. In a genre where you are meant to put yourself in either the Star Wars or Star Trek camp, I went a bit off piste and decided I don't like either. For me, you can't look past facehuggers and xenemorphs.
  1. Alien - the first one was immense. A limited cast scifi horror which used darkness and suspense to create genuine terror and claustrophobia.
  2. Aliens - One of the few films where the sequel stakes a genuine claim to the first. A new director was involved and the terror and suspense was swapped for an all out Man v Alien acionfest.
  3. Alien 3 - Another new director and a return to the feel of the original. It doesn't quite match the setting of the Nostromo but does a good deal to move along the evolution story of the Alien.
  4. Resurrection - An abominiation
  5. AVP/AVP:R - A disappointing realisation of a fanboy's dream
So imagine the excitement when it was announced they were going to revisit the world that Weyland Industries operates in with Ridley Scott taking the helm. The internet went into overdrive. What were we going to see? Is it a prequel? etc etc etc.

Skip forward a few years the motley crew were gathered in Cineworld with our 3D specs on as if we were a Roy Orbison tribute act.

Skip forward a couple of hours and it was over. My initial reaction - disappointment. Where was the Aliens, where's the linkage, the ship looks similiar but it's the wrong bloody planet.

However, I thought I'm not going to rant and rave about it now. I'll let it settle and see what my views are in the morning. This is the result.

After thinking about the movie, my feeling on it is better than it was last night when you look at the bigger picture. Yes, the movie was to serve as a prequel to the original franchise but it was always stated it would explore the extreme beginnings and try and explain who the big dude in the seat on LV-426 was. I think I kind of lost this in my hype and excitement.

That's what it did. It focused on the 'Engineers' who were involved in the creation of man and their motives in creating what appeared to be an organic weapon of mass destruction. SO in fairness, it did do what it set out for this part. You can now go and watch Alien and say, that's who the Space Jockey is and where he came from.

But it still leaves a major plothole in the series - How come all the eggs appear on LV-426 and how did the Alien race evolve from black goo to an egg laying queen?

Another area it focussed on was the 'Company'. They appear throughout the franchise but they began somewhere and the virals and movie go someway to showing the exploration ambitions of Weyland Industries.

All in all it was a good scifi movie. Visusals were great, majority of the cast was good with the Fassbender putting in another great performance. Besides the obvious lack of series linkage my main gripe is that it lacked suspense. The beauty previously was the use of darkness and pulse sounders to create the atmospheric suspense which was completely lacking here.

So what next? There were more new questions asked than answers answered. But it does leave the door open for a follow up to bridge the gap and evolve the story up to the point of the LV-426 crash. If part one deals with the 'Engineers' the next part should hopefully deal with the 'Engineered'. The Company knew about the Aliens in the original so between then and now we should hopefully see a proper linking prequel with a good deal of human interaction.

Until now, I have not read a single review and limited my pre movie hype to the official virals. So everything I have stated above could be way off, but it is my 2 pence on the situation.
  • Stumble This Post
  • Save Tis Post To Delicious
  • Share On Reddit
  • Fave On Technorati
  • Buzz This Post
  • Tweet This Post
  • Digg This Post
  • Share On Facebook