A Stroll up Ben Nevis

I finally got a bit of time off again recently so two friends and I decided it’d be a corking idea to climb the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis. We all live in rural sunny Devon and so decided it’d be best to spend 2 days traveling northwards. The perfect stop happened to be Windermere in the Lake District. It’s about 5 hours from Exeter and 5 hours from Fort William. Perfect!

We were away for 6 days in total. 2 days driving up, 2 days in Fort William, 2 days driving back. We’d climb Ben Nevis on whichever day was forecast to have the best weather, I was entrusted with reliable and accurate forecasting! The first day happened to offer the best weather for us. A few showers, strong winds on certain parts of the mountain reaching 30kts, and a foggy summit. The next day was horrific with persistent heavy, if not torrential, showers.

I just wanted to share some photos of the truly majestic Scottish highlands and our hike up Ben Nevis with you now. Unfortunately the summit isn’t visible in any of the photos because firstly it was clouded out, and secondly you can’t really see it from the route we took.  Enjoy.

Panorama from the beginning of the hike. Looking in the opposite direction to Ben Nevis

Me with a waterfall just under halfway along the route

Near the summit there are a few nasty ravines. Easy to see normally, not so much when it's foggy. You've got to be careful!

My friend Phil at the summit. Here he is the highest person in the UK!

A panorama just below cloudbase about 30mins from the summit. In view is a mountainous loch and in the distance Fort William

Panorama from the bottom of the hike. The Ben Nevis summit is hidden but part of the mountain is viewable, second from left

Overall the hike took about 7 hours – 4 hours up and about 3 down. My legs are still hurting, I got pretty bad rock shock on the way down. It was great though, the feeling of achievement when you get to the top is fantastic.

We spent the next day dodging rain, visiting castle, distilleries and museums, enjoying the scenery, shopping and drinking tea!

More photos can be found here on Flickr, and the whole smash here on Facebook

Planet Dinosaur

Just a quick post about a new upcoming BBC TV series. Planet Dinosaur is all about, well, Dinosaurs. We’ve all seen Walking with Dinosaurs (1999 – Yes, it really was that long ago), or so I hope, but there have been multitudes of new discoveries over the past 12 years by paleontologists. This series will be bring us up to date, all with some pretty outstanding graphics.

The series starts this Wednesday (14/9) at 20:30 on BBC1. Yes BBC1, it’s great to have this kind of science on at prime time on BBC1. Whilst it may look that it’s mainly aimed at kids I’m pretty sure lots of older people are going to find it pretty interesting too.

For more information check out the series’ website here and check out the launch trailer below.

These Crazy Republican Candidates

I must say, I forgot how bizarre and insane these people are. And you should be worried.

Some of the new Republican candidates are pretty impressive. Rick Perry stands out as a complete asshole, more on him later. Michelle Bachman, a modified, more intelligent version of Sarah Palin, can even string together a coherent sentence. Impressive.

There’s one thing they all have in common though. They’re all religious nutjobs. They’re anti-science. Rick Perry doesn’t believe in human induced global warming, saying the science ‘isn’t settled’. Hate to say Rick, but I’m afraid it is. It’s is the consensual view, accepted by 98% of the worlds scientists. There are copious amounts of indisputable evidence. Don’t bring up Climategate, they’ve been cleared of wrong doing.

‘Evolution is a theory with holes in it’ he’s been heard saying. Of course Creationism makes perfect sense here, no explanation needed. God just created shit, right?!

I saw a video on YouTube of Rick Perry being quizzed on science, by a mother and child. Now I hate parents using their kids for this kinda thing but Perry’s response is interesting. When asked about evolution he says America is great because they ‘teach the controversy’. This is just a posh way of saying with teach evolution AND creationism. I mean come on, there is no bloody controversy!

Everything will be ok though if Rick Perry becomes president. Prayer will sort everything out. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the power of prayer!

Why religion has such a prominent position in American politics escapes me. Here in the UK, if David Cameron started spattling on how religion would save us, he’d be out of office in a flash. I’m thankful for that. Creationists in the UK are rightfully scorned and laughed at, but in America are accepted as the norm. Why?

There’s one candidate that stands out though. Jon Hunstman. He’s a simmer of hope for the Republicans. He says you can’t argue with evolution or global warming. You need to accept science to move on. Here’s a clip.

So, if you’re a Republican reading this. Please, please don’t vote Rick Perry or for these other nutjobs. Vote for Jon Huntsman. Even better perhaps, just vote Democrat at the next election!