Wednesday 11 February 2009


Looking at the latest copy of TGO I noticed that a small publishing company were seeking submissions of literary non fiction. In particular they required work relating to the relationship between people and the wild places of Britain. Looked at the article, considered it, placed it to one side and thought some more about it. In all honesty I thought it was a bit pretentious, me, being an author? However, it kept niggling away in the back of my mind and so finally I began work. My spell check and I exchanged many cross words, it does not recognise Gaelic, or at least anglicised, Gaelic, place names. It took some coaxing for it to include such words as bothy and lochan in to its dictionary. Maps flew in all directions as I cherry picked pieces from my blogs and from notes. Correct spelling of place names is essential, thus much time cross checking on various maps. After a few days of typing and polishing up my work, the required manuscript of just over seven thousand words was submitted last night. An e mail this morning has confirmed the work has been received. Now I have to wait until April before I receive any further news.
My other dilemma is my attempts at getting away for another trip. Currently snow conditions in Scotland are excellent.However, my first choice was a bit of a logistical nightmare. My second choice became a no go after that wonderful Scottish source of information aka Duncan, informed the way out of Aberdeen toward Braemar was almost impassible. The third choice was Aviemore; not my favourite area, however it was easier for access. My main problem after that was the thought of the twelve hour coach journey each way. I baulked at the idea of it. The journey itself is bad enough, on a more personal level, being cramped in next a total stranger is an ordeal for me.Tentatively I looked at the night sleeper. Feasible and with the added bonus of arriving in Aviemore not long after 7 am. The cost was scary at £124, it would blow my budget to smithereens. Despite that it looked the better option. That was until I studied the journey information a tad closer. All they where offering was a reclining seat, not even a bunk for the night. In desperation I am now going to check out flights. This poses new problems, in the form of stoves. Airlines have strict policies over them. All this makes me one desperate bunny, all that lovely weather out there and I am confined in london.


  1. Hi Dawn,

    Congratulations on completing your writing. Let's hope it is used.

    Here are a few ideas bearing on your dilemma.

    If you fly, where would you land? There are airports at Aberdeen and Inverness,
    but none at Aviemore or Braemar, AFAIK.
    Unless you have an arrangement to use the Queen's helipad at Balmoral...

    Hamish Brown wrote about posting gas canisters and food parcels to Youth Hostels and Post Offices for him to collect on the way. Once you decide on a route, you could phone a nearby PO and ask whether that service is available there. You can Google for "Poste Restante" to learn more.

    It is possible to send fuel (as well as stoves) through the post. I know that because I just took delivery of 5 liters of "Panel Wipe" for use as a cheap alternative to Coleman Fuel.

    What kind of fuel would you be using? Gas is surely available in Aviemore.
    You can Google for stockists. I don't know whether meths is easy to buy in Scotland, or what they call it there,
    but you should be able to find that out too.

    Maybe you'll get lucky and someone local will volunteer to accept a parcel through the post and and put it in an outhouse for you. (Hamish Brown did that too.)

    I took the sleeper from Euston to Aviemore in August 1985, and had one of my best ever trips. No worries in those innocent days about taking a petrol stove and fuel on the train. I did forget to buy teabags at Aviemore, and then became stupidly depressed when I couldn't brew up afterwards!

    Hope this helps,


  2. Hi John, many thanks for your suggestions. probably I shall do the night time shuffle on the coach. Am only going up for a few days. Probably I shall use the whisperlites baby brother,the simmerlie it is liquid fuel but is smaller and lighter. All that lovely snow, must get up there!

  3. Unless you can get a cheap train ticket, bus is cheaper option I guess.

    And I'll say before people start going "the road's nae blocked", that I couldn't guarantee the weather and road conditions to Dawn. Heck, a workmate's son took 4 hours on Friday to get from the airport at Dyce in to the city on the bus.

    If flying - what about Inverness, and bus down the Great Glen?

    LOL at the idea of Dawn using the Royal landing pad. Shame that Aboyne is only for gliders - maybe the accept light aircraft, but not sure.

  4. Looked at flights Duncan. Darned expensive. Not to worrage, it will be coach to Aviemore. Willjust have to rub shoulders with all the ski bums!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Tickets all booked John. As far asI can see, snow, ice and sub zero temperatures. Please may I borrow your dog as an extra source of warmth!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. You can get bargain flights, easy/ryan etc special offers, but from what I've seen they need pre booking and a future commitment - not for an immediate Great Escape.

    Might be worth checking though, seeing what the budget airlines are offering. I've seen bargain returns £30 to Inverness, etc.