Lockdown Round One

Where do we start?

I haven’t updated this blog since my retrospective post on my Japan trip last year. The trip was in February, but it wasn’t till July when I actually got the write-up done.

This will be the first of a few posts that will over the lockdown and the year that was 2020. It was a year we would all rather forget and for me, like many others would be tinged with tragedy and personal loss. I feel however that if I didn’t complete them, my so-called aide-memoire would be missing an important chunk of time and a fundamentally transformative period of all of our lives. They won’t be in-depth account, but an account none the less.

With the ski resorts forced to close and sudden furlough from work, I like most of the nation found myself at at a loss as we were all given the stay at home order.

Lockdown at the start was strict. One hour of exercise was allowed and I found myself wandering local streets I never would have before. Luckily the weather was on our side and since it was unlikely I’d be snowboarding anytime soon I embraced the sunshine on regular walks and bike rides.

As many would notice, lockdown brought with it a quietness as traffic stopped and no one was traveling.

Birdsong was prevalent and I even heard a Tawny Owl in the trees across the river from my flat.

local walking route
Stay Local

The privilege wasn’t lost on me in having a green space like Linn Park so close to where I stay. My family home is 20 miles away where my parents, sister and brother live. I was unable to visit them or anyone else for that matter and my need for the great outdoor and a place to decompress was made easier being able to visit this place.

One of the weird events that happened at the start of May was the appearance of armed police and roadblocks at the neighbouring block of flats. To this day I’m still not sure what it was all about, but it did provide a talking point as I sent live updates to friends and family. All seemed to end peacefully, but it did add a bit of excitement that was missing from our lives.

armed response
Armed Response Unit

As the weeks progressed the good weather continued and I ventured further from home. This would include hikes to the Cathkin Marshes, a stunning little nature reserve high above the South Side of Glasgow. It’s home to a diverse range of birds, animals and plants.

road sign
Some animals are more equal than others.

The Cathkin Braes themselves also provide a breathtaking panorama. This vantage point has the whole city of Glasgow below with the highlands as a stunning backdrop. The mountains in the north resplendent in a full cover of snow. The online snowboard and ski community would often chat about getting back to the slopes before the end of the season, but little did we know what kind of year we’d be in for.

view from Cathkin Braes
From above Cathkin Braes, looking west.
Erskine Bridge & Dumbuck with Ben Lomond beyond from Cathkin Braes.
Fox in den
Fox Cub

On morning runs I would watch a young fox family patrol the area along the river. The young cub would lie in the brambles, taking in the sun, oblivious to the noisy construction work going on behind. The dog and vixen occasionally paddling across the river to greet each other.

Fly fishing in Glasgow
Much like myself I spotted this guy bringing the great outdoors in to the city. Fly fishing in the White Cart river.
One skill acquired over lockdown was cutting my own hair.

The month of May ended, I’d had my birthday and luckily managed to have a drink and spend an afternoon with friends. However it was a time filled with anxiety, worry about job security, missing my family including my dad who was shielding.

Snowboarding and the community is something that feeds my soul and having that taken from me too compounded the isolation of lockdown. I really was learning what it meant to live alone.

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