Wednesday, 4 June 2008

A Scottish hill day in Japan

Today we tackled our first ever volcano - Naka Dake. A whole school outing wearing identical blue track suits had decided to walk the 8km from the nearest town. Some pupils we're clearly enjoying it more than others. Meanwhile, we decided to take a taxi and a cable car to 1,200m. We felt like royalty as we passed them - and they took pictures of the taxi!

The volcano came with massive emergency shelters and warnings of sulphur dioxide poisoning. We felt very at home though when the Scotch mist surrounded us for most of the day. One part of the volcano had a disorientating black sand plateau, whilst other parts had some interesting rock formations.

The Naka Dake Crater (below) hasn't erupted since January 2004, when it produced a mud eruption (more info and more images of the volcano).

Next to the summit of Naka Dake is the summit of Taka Dake, the highest point in the caldera at 1593m. Here's us on the summit taken by a fellow Japanese mountaineer. I wonder what he thought of us in our shorts and linen trousers. (Note to self - I promise not to criticise foreign tourists wearing trainers on Scottish mountains again).

On the way back down we met this very kind gentleman - Hiroshi Kikuchi from Aso City. He informed us that the local ski centre (in the background) hadn't been operational for ten years. A similar fate to many lower level ski centres in Scotland.

For fans of Andy's caterpillar watch (there's at least one member of the club - me) here's a couple of sightings from today. The brown one moved very quickly!


David said...


You have really let your dress sense go to pot today. Remember that you are also representing GB!

Also, what is the point of the shelters. Would that stop a pyroclastic gas flow?