Musings about wanderings

Month: January 2019

Adventure planning time again 20JAN19

The 2019/2020 handbooks for the Camping & Caravanning Club and the Motorhome & Caravan club have dropped through the postbox so planning time for more adventures.

Part of the joy of campervanning, especially in the winter when not much camping is being done, is the planning of the year’s trips. I’ve already got a few things booked including my summer holiday trip but it makes for an entertaining winter evening, thumbing through the books, seeing the pictures and wondering where the van will take me in 2019.

I’d like to travel a bit further afield this year. Over the past couple of summers I’ve done large trips in the van and I now know that it is a comfortable motorway mile munching machine. A bit less composed on the twisty countryside stuff but once up to 70 on a main motorway the van purrs along and with some tunes going it makes for a very pleasant trip.

So time to plan and dream about upcoming trips.

Dundee 12JAN19

With the goal of getting out in the van more and getting a lot more travelling done, it was up early and off to Dundee for a day trip.

The road was straight (M90/A90) then down the A85. I did get a bit lost and ended up missing the car park I was aiming for but ended up in a better one that was totally empty. So no problems parking.

The first port of call (no pun intended) was the Discovery Centre and the RSS Discovery

RSS Discovery

This is a ship that spent 2 years in the Antarctic ice surveying and exploring before a life of scientific voyages. The Discovery centre told the story o the expedition south along with the details of the ship’s construction in Dundee.

The ship itself had been modified since the Antarctica voyage and was missing its engines. However there was plenty to see on board and lots of details about the how the crew would have lived on the voyage. The quarters were cramped and one interesting feature is that there are no port holes on the side of the ship. This was to give the vessel strength to survive when trapped in the ice.

Next along the banks of the Tay was the V&A Dundee

V&A Dundee
V&A Dundee

This is an impressive building with an even more impressive space inside.

V&A Dundee interior
V&A Dundee interior

Lots of the building is given over to education about and the preserving of, Scottish Design. The permanent exhibition is not that large but had the MacKintosh Oak Room set up as it would have been when first installed in a tea room in Glasgow. This was worth the visit alone. Other items of design were on display and it was quite an eclectic collection.

Continuing along the river was HMS Unicorn. This is apparently the third oldest ship in the UK and is a frigate from the early 19th century. It had been converted to a drill hall at some point in its life so the top was roofed over and the masts were gone but the lower decks were set out as they would have been in its life as a warship. I enjoyed my visit but it was hard on the back and head, they seemed to have been a lot shorter in those days.

Last up on the visit was the McManus Gallery and Museum. This is a fairly typical city museum with the family silver on display as it were. However they did have some artefacts from NCR and DMA Design and a very good portrait exhibition so worth the visit.

There were a few other things I thought about seeing but I was on the clock for the pay and display parking so it was back to the van pausing only to see the Desperate Dan and Oor Wullie statues.

Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx
Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx
Oor Wullie
Oor Wullie

Started out on the road home just as the rain came on so result there. I really enjoyed my trip and saw some fabulous stuff. Might head back at some point for any other exhibitions at the V&A and to see the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre.

Out Walking 5JAN19

On New Year’s Day, I managed to get out for a walk, climbing Arthur’s Sea, walking along the canal and then down the Water of Leith. It was the first real walk I’ve done in ages and it was 20Km of pure joy.

I had forgotten the simple pleasure of striding out along a path, of climbing a hill to see the top or of sitting eating lunch outdoors watching what goes by.

I’ve been doing so much running of late which basically means training and more or less sticking to a strict schedule that I’ve not been able to get out for a walk for a year or more. My hiking gear has been feeling somewhat neglected of late.

Running, while I find it a meditative act, is an inward looking exercise. I’m focused on my form, my breathing, my pace and often how much longer I have to go before I can stop. I don’t see what is round me. I’m also pushing myself so often I’m really quite tired.

Walking is a more expansive act. I’m moving at a slower pace, though still working for it, and can look around and see the landscape that I’m passing through. I hit a rhythm and settle into a stride. My legs carry me along in an easy fashion and I’m begin to feel part of the scenery that I’m passing through.

There’s also time for photography, another much loved but somewhat neglected pastime. The light was fantastic from the top of Arthur’s seat and I got a few good photos at the top and then on the canal.

Salisbury Crags & Castle from Arthur's Seat
Salisbury Crags & Castle from Arthur’s Seat

The bonus of that is of course, see what you managed to shoot when you get home. Here’s what i did get.

So, time to spend the year on foot, traversing the paths of the country and capturing it all on (digital) film. Sounds like a good recipe for 2019.

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