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A Wedge of a mountain.

Wedge, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Just back from Iceland, where I took a series of snaps of this strange looking mountain in the West of the Country. Although the region was remote, I was able to access the Internet from pretty much wherever I was, thanks to free wi-fi systems in most buildings I was in.

The remoteness of the region I was in, and the issues facing the folk who live there were brought in sharp relieve by a little online spat on the Flickr Scotland forum, relating to perceptions of the Highland and Islands.

I was tired, I was Grumpy. I was full of the cold. I let go both barrels.....

"A large part of my working life - and home life when the lad is cycling or older boys need to be taken to and fro Uni - is spent on the A9 or the train travelling to meetings in Edinburgh or Glasgow, or Mountain Biking events further south.

Work wise my biggest bugbear is meetings organised for a 10:00 am start - which means that I have to stay overnight the previous day. 10:30 is almost as bad, as it means I have to get the 6:50 train, leaving home at 5:30 - so up at 4:45. All for a meeting that lasts an hour and a half.............

These days I just say no - and if they want to meet with me, its at a time and place that suits me.

Some large multi-agency events I arrive at 11:15, when the 7:55 GNER gets in, even though the they insist on an 11:00 starts, and when the chair always asks - train late? - I reply, no you started early.

When I offer to meet them half way, they say, mmmm not sure that I can get to Stirling in time for a 10:30 start. Perth for 11:00 - Mmmm difficult.

Half way of course is south of Dalwhinnie, but I'll settle for Pitlochry, but try getting a Weegie to cope with the concept that working life exists north of Perth.

The really funny thing is of course when they do decide to make an expedition north, it always involves them in extensive travel, with at least one overnight stay (if not two - and this is when my team organises the meeting around the train that arrives in Inverness at 11:45 and leaves at 14:40) and lots of excitement in venturing furth of the central belt - from people who think nothing of buzzing up and down to London, Brussels or Paris in a 12 hour working day.

Me grumpy! Aye right - and I'm just talking about Inverness, which is not exactly the back of beyond. Image my colleagues in Wick, Kirkwall or Stornoway.........

Did you also know that Milan is nearer London that Lerwick, and that Edinburgh is as far from Lerwick, as London from Edinburgh?

Anyway rant over, as I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Reykjavik, watching the sun go down, and thinking that Scotland does not know about distance and remoteness compared to Iceland.

I've just been interviewed on the Icelandic 6:00 TV news asking what Iceland can learn from Scotland. My immediate instinct to say - not much - would not have made good TV, so I said what that they expected to hear.

But when it comes to distance and civic perception of space, rurality and what a county is and what cities represent?

The answer would have to be - Aye - not much.........."

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