Sidlaws: Blacklaw Hill & White Hill from Little Ballo

Unnamed Point 273 (NO 276349, 273m) Blacklaw Hill (NO 288344, 284m) White Hill (NO 274338, 233m) 10.5 kilometres 240 metres of ascent You’ll perhaps recall my previous expedition to Blacklaw Hill—I went in from the north, which turned out to be a minor assault course, and went out to the east, which took me into … Continue reading Sidlaws: Blacklaw Hill & White Hill from Little Ballo


There is something majestic in the bad taste of Italy; it is not the bad taste of a country which knows no better; it has not the nervous vulgarity of England or the blinded vulgarity of Germany. It observes beauty and chooses to pass it by. But it attains to beauty’s confidence. E.M. Forster, Where … Continue reading Liguria

Greg Egan: Dichronauts

Geometry might well kill them in the end, but only a rigorous understanding of its principles could make their situation intelligible, let alone survivable. That quote comes from Part 4 of this novel, but it encapsulates what’s intriguing and (at least potentially) frustrating about the story—it’s about spacetime geometry. I’ve written about Greg Egan before, … Continue reading Greg Egan: Dichronauts

Gear Review: Bolt-On™ Virtua-Trekker

For the last few months I’ve been cutting a dash on the hills wearing the wrap-round headset pictured above. It’s the core component of the new Virtua-Trekker—the first application of Virtual Reality for the hill-walker or fell-runner—and the nice people at Bolt-On™ Cybernetics have been kind enough to give me an early prototype to review. … Continue reading Gear Review: Bolt-On™ Virtua-Trekker

Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat

In a previous post describing the Coriolis effect, I mentioned its relevance to space travel—if a rotating habitat is being used to generate simulated gravity, Coriolis deflection can interfere with the performance of simple tasks and, at the extreme, generate motion sickness. As an example of the sort of effect you could expect to encounter, … Continue reading Coriolis Effect In A Rotating Space Habitat

Sidlaws: More About Smithton

I’ve been intrigued by the lost community of Smithton since I climbed Smithton Hill this time last year, and then read David Dorward’s description of its namesake—“Former farm-toun W of Lundie village, deserted, abandoned and demolished within the past half-century.” This was living memory for Dorward, writing in 2004, because he used to visit Smithton … Continue reading Sidlaws: More About Smithton

A discursive blog on various topics of minor interest