ON TO THE SADDLE
There are no words (except perhaps in a Glaswegian dictionary) that express my loathing for anything on the hill not propelled by limbs. Dogs, cats, birds, giraffes, lizards, frogs, people - all good. Scramblers, quads, British Army helicopters, mountain bikes - all very bad. Especially mountain bikes. It is forever like the troll and big Billy Goat gruff when we meet. So it is a prize-winning humble pie, served up on a spade, that now I must eat. Captain Vertigo, if you are still around, I beg your mercy. Today was a dour, difficult Northern slog. On one side of 2000', sun that split the stones; the other, cloaked in a sadistic northerly with pocketsful of freezing rain. A slip-sliding descent off Donard and a southeasterly bearing on to rough Rocky were to set up a bee-line for Binnian and Lamagan, but the conditions were just unpleasant and a quick recce with commonsense sent the Cra on a route back home. Tee-ed off, I sulked refractory on to the Saddle - and half way down to the Glen River, the pop and purr of small motorbikes and the narcotic smell of 2 stroke combustion. Beneath me at about 1200' and unbelievably in terrain that an Ibex could find contrary, emerged two stalwarts on whisper-thin trail bikes, picking a track up through the mirk. "Excuse me", "sorry" and other implausible things were coming out of their mouths and I could hear myself shouting out loud "Good on you boys." Please Captain, I tried to stick the words back in, but the pride being in these worthies' company had swollen them and they simply wouldn't fit. Here, amongst the florid-faced fatbums fighting for their fifteen minutes, were real heroes. The only entertainment in the Mournes today and by far the best for years.