…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoteorology [me-not-e-or-alllodgy]; the condition of watching the weather, part 1

The journey from Edinburgh to Dunoon was potentially hazardous.  Mac1, father and myself had packed up the two vehicles the day before.  Thank goodness. For at least then it was not precipitating. The Sunday morning of the 23rd of February was quite another matter.  Gale force winds ensuring bridge closures and warnings to high sided vehicles; rain with barbs on the drops; and cars loaded so heavy, it required ten minutes notice for braking.

Mac1 took her own car.  Dad drove his for the part from Edinburgh to Loch Lomond. We were taking the long way round because we had no way of being sure that the ferry would be running from Gourock.

There was one small 'detour'...(Glasgow is a big and confusing place).  We got back on track though and then into the lower Highland scenery round Lomond.  Not that we saw much of it.  Even as a passenger I had no advantage.  The clouds had dropped.  The rain was dense.  I had to keep an eye on the aged father with the weakened reflexes.  The bit from Glasgow to Lomond services seemed to take nearly as long as the bit between cities - and quite possibly was. We availed ourselves of a bowl of home made lentil and carrot soup and cheese scone for lunch and admired the clouds sitting on the waters of the legendary loch.

Dad handed me the keys.

You should know; when I emigrated to OZ, I did not buy a car.  Could never afford it. Never needed one.  On the odd occasion that it became necessary, I would hire a vehicle; say perhaps once a year.  I did have the use of Emm's hubby's car when there in November, for which I was very grateful.  My point here is that it is a long time since I drove.  It's a long time since I drove gear change.  It's a long time since I drove under slightly different rules and  very different road conditions.

Then there was the weather.

Did this daunt the YAMster?  Oh no dear reader!!  I actually have a lot of driving experience from previous Scottish days.  It's like the bike analogy...  isn't it?

Yes it is.  Once I had the muscular memory retuned to clutch and stick coordination (that only took two corners), once I had sorted out my right from left as far as the indicators and windie-wipers were concerned (four turns and three puddle-blinders only); once I had the mirrors set to suit my hobbitishness (after missing that roadster overtaking me at greater than advertised speeds), all was ship-shape and slide-along fashion.

I genuinely love the act of driving.  Not just the getting places.  The roar of the engine, the feel of the wheel. The trickier the conditions the more alive it feels. Focus.  I love the focus.

So pounding rain and buffeting winds, winding roads and dim light?  Doddle.

One thing becomes clear in the mist that covers the monros as you pass into the Scottish wilderness; even in the worst of weather, it is beautiful.  After the initial adjustments and keeping an eagle eye, father relaxed and became a passenger enjoying his trip. 

He became the tour guide and memory-sifter.  Did I recall when...?  We climbed there, we guddled for trout there, we camped up yonder.  Deeper and deeper into the glens we drove.  The burns and rivers were taking over the braes; gushing doesn't even come close. There were waterfalls where none had any right to be - including straight onto the road.

Sheep too.  Not on the road exactly and certainly not gushing.  It paid to keep close attention on the verges though. 

The further we got, of course, the narrower became the tarmac.  As we turned round the junction where Lochgoilhead was one way and Cambelltown the other, dad started muttering about tricky conditions.  Not for worry of my driving;  but the "Rest and Be Thankful" is a renowned trouble spot.  Sure enough, as we came along the lower Kinglas valley (the A83 for those inclined to maps) we hit the barrier. Policeman waving traffic round.  

Yes traffic.  it's a busy road.  Folk were not best pleased.  

(to be continued...)


  1. The twisting roads. The weather. The aged father with weakened reflexes. Oh yes, I've been there…
    Cheers! Gail.

  2. We no longer own a car, the beer fairy was a truck driver for years and when he retired he said enough was enough and no longer drives at all.
    I never drove and never really missed it and lately there has been so many accidents involving older drivers, maybe it was not such a bad idea to just stop when your eyesight and reflexes are not so good.

  3. Hooray--an adventure! Lead on....

  4. Oh my, what an adventure. Driving in horrid conditions is something I have done many times, always a little unnerving however. Can't wait to hear what came next.

  5. Isn't that awful?
    We're in the middle of a blizzard.


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