The “Big Chicken” Mantra

09 Jan


I reckon it’s a damned sight more enjoyable sitting here chanting the “BIG CHICKEN” mantra than planning a walk in the hills.  In fact actually walking in the hills just doesn’t bear thinking about.    With avalanche warnings this week for the Ochils, and us into our 4th week of perpetual freezing snowscape, I am of the firm belief that the end of the world is fast approaching and I don’t fancy it arriving with me and The Fatdog caught out up a mountain in waist deep snow.  The thought of being blasted into eternity 30m from a summit is a thought to horrendous to contemplate…aaarghhh….only 30m to go and I would have had another tick on the list!   Mind you all the (sheep) ticks would also be blasted into eternity which would be no bad thing.

Nothing new to report on the snow…it’s still there, cold, white and splattered all over the countryside, just a bit more solid than it was before.  It has an annoyingly thin crust with pure powder below, horrible for walking through.   The Fatdog loathes the nasty crusted stuff so picking a walking destination for tomorrow is proving a wee bit tricky.  There’s also the state of the roads to take into account.  With the local authorities being a wee bit selective when it comes to which roads(or part of roads) to clear, moving off the main routes is a bit of a lottery.

To simplify matters I will assume that the end of the world will indeed not happen tomorrow and that the odd road may be less slippery than a politician’s expenses claim.  On that basis I will choose something…somewhere… when (and if) my enthusiasm returns.  But until then…



Posted by on January 9, 2010 in General Drivel


8 responses to “The “Big Chicken” Mantra

  1. Simon

    January 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Bleh! Could you not run a virtual report alongside this account of woe and misery. You know: the thaw has set in, the temperatures are up, everything in the garden is beautiful. Just to cheer us up. We’d never know and it would keep your faithful readership happy. Both of us.

  2. fatdogwalks

    January 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    You should know by now Simon…I just don’t do happy 😦 !

    If I’m feeling miserable and grumpy…then everyone else should feel likewise. Why should I peddle false hope of balmy sunshine and green, green, grass when it’s clearly white and bloody freezin’ outside!

    The Fatdog and I did go for a short walk today…and it was near home…and it was cold…and the white stuff was still on the ground…and it snowed!!! Get my drift?

    Now…regarding the “faithful readership” do you mean that only two people read the blog (a gross overestimate if you ask me) or is your schizophrenia getting worse. If the latter my commiserations to you both. 😉

  3. scott

    January 9, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Not chicken at all. Regardless of the superb mountain forecast for today – and last week iirc – the thought of a 5am rise and then a frozen two hours plus car journey (minus 20, this morning apparently) to then spend the limited daylight hours avoiding anywhere that could possibly be an avalanche site just isny doing it for me.

    I’ll wait a month I think, till the snow has calmed down, or consolidated, or learned to behave itself – whatever it does to become less dangerous.

  4. fatdogwalks

    January 10, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Thank you for the expression of solidarity Scott 😀 …


  5. Linda

    January 12, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    I am a complete chicken because I have never done a proper winter climb and wouldn’t know where to start in terms of preparation and how to use the relevant equipment – i.e. ice axe, etc. I will also be waiting until the snow clears!

  6. fatdogwalks

    January 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Linda it’s difficult to know how to define a proper winter hill. I’ve been up Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) in December (2006)and didn’t need ice axe or crampons. There were icy paths but little by way of snow.

    I don’t generally do the bigger hills in the winter months but when I have been out I check on Shills to see what the conditions are from other reports then pick the least snow covered hill with no droppy off bits. The tactic has served me well. I don’t take Maisie anywhere that’s physically dangerous or a walk that would mean too long a day in snow/cold.

    Do your research and you’ll find you can have access to a hill somewhere – be flexible. Mind you I think it would be a struggle this winter! – probably west would be best…though I haven’t been checking.

  7. Linda

    January 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Yes, I agree it is difficult to define. I climbed Beinn A Cleibh and Ben Lui in November 1990 with Dad and two of his friends. There was patchy snow on Beinn A Cleibh but we didn’t realise the depth of snow on Ben Lui until we started the ascent from the saddle adjoining the two hills. As we were heading up, we passed some climbers who were on their way back down. They wore garish day-glo jackets, which were the ‘fashion’ of the day, and carrying ice axes. We got some strange looks from them as we were not as well equipped – although I would have given the day-glo jackets a miss! Even though the snow was quite deep in places, we managed fine without any crampons or ice axes.

  8. fatdogwalks

    January 13, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    If these guys had come from the north east then they would definitely have needed the gear. I came up that way in summer and even the shallowest of the routes was fairly steep higher up. The side you came up was much less steep and should have been ok without the heavyweight gear…no nasty droppy off bits!


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