Tuesday, 18 December 2007


The first Monday morning of Alien Wally’s holiday dawned clear and frosty. It being the first Monday morning of Alien Wally’s holiday, he and Mags slept through it. Luckily for them, the winter sun, so weak that it only manages to raise itself just above the horizon at midday before giving up and sinking back down in the mid-afternoon, was also too weak to exert any sort of melting power and so the frost was still there to greet Alien Wally and Mags when they eventually got themselves up and out into the world. In an effort to remedy their laziness, the two decided to make their way to the Pentland Hills just outside Edinburgh for a bit of a walkies.

The two started by taking a bus to Bonaly, the plan being to walk from there to Flotterstone on the other side of the Pentland Reserve, a distance of some 4.24 miles (about 6.8 kms), enjoy some well-deserved refreshment at the Flotterstone Inn, strategically placed at the entrance to the reserve, and then catch a bus home from there.

The walk started out a bit chilly through the forest, but the exertion up the hill combined with being slightly closer to the sun at the top allowed Alien Wally and Mags to remove their beanies, gloves and the top layer of their fleeces. The reservoir at the top of the hill remained frozen, however, allowing Alien Wally to walk on water before settling down to a spot of lunch.

After seeing signs dotted around the reserve proclaiming “Sheep Worrying” and asking hikers to please alert the farmer if they noticed any such worrying going on, Alien Wally and Mags were concerned at the apparent anxious nature of these creatures. Was it the state of the world today that had got these woolly ones so worried? The reports of island cousins rolling down hills? Perhaps the ewes were nervously looking over their shoulders, wondering when, in the spirit of the current tupping (mating) season, a, um, horny ram would be sneaking up behind them?

By the time Alien Wally and Mags reached Flotterstone, the sun was beginning to go to bed and things were getting decidedly chilly again.

By the time they reached the Inn itself, thoughts of ice cold pints had long since been replaced by thoughts of hot coffee. The brew worked its defrosting magic, and the tired hikers ventured back out, only to discover that they needed to be on the A701, and not on the parallel A702, if they had any hope of catching a bus back home. Thankfully, their legs managed to carry them the unplanned extra mile or so eastwards to the comforting sight and seat of a Lothian Number 37 which bore them back to their flat and the MacNoodle, who looked suspiciously like she hadn’t gotten out of bed the whole day….

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