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Rab test drives his new hat in a stiff sea breeze and finds it’s the tops

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This news just in: I have bought a new hat. Oh, why do I keep doing this? I already have a huge collection of hats but, last time I looked, only one head.

The thing is, I rarely wear hats. Don’t suit them, d’you see? Well, I guess one or two styles make me look rugged and stern, ken? You titter. Fair enough. Put it another way: one or two styles don’t make me look a complete poltroon. Just half a poltroon. To be candid, most make my nose look big. And when I say “big”, I mean “bigger”. The hat draws a bull’s-eye on the beak, saying: “Look at this, folks!”

That’s why I hope the current trend for masks continues. They’ve been a boon to the nose-conscious. They cover up our protuberances – and they keep them warm. Otherwise, my beak is always cold. I must have been a dog in a past life.

Why we don’t wear face masks routinely in winter is a mystery. It’s the one part of our entire body that we leave exposed. I guess it’s to discourage us from carrying out bank robberies, but I can honestly say that, over the entire course of my life, I have only committed two of these.

I was seduced into buying another hat by the sales pitch that it had a piece you could pin across the front to protect your proboscis. It’s a “trapper’s hat”, which is rather a gruesome name, but of course the fur is fake.

I’ve had several of these in the past, but they didn’t work for me, and I only ever wore them in the house. But, even without the nose cover, this one somehow looks quite fetching, or at least less ridiculous, even if I say so myself.

I tested it out at my special place on the shore, walking to the end of the promontory right to the sea’s edge, with the breeze whipping aboot ma heid and the snow-covered mountains across the water eying me glacially.

It felt good. Thankfully, there was no one around to see. I made ready to whip off the nose covering should I encounter anyone on the short stretch of road when I made my way from the shore to the forest.

But I never encountered another soul. Up the hill, I sat on a wee bench I’d only noticed for the first time. Fantastic view. And, while it was Baltic all around, I was as cosy as toast, my body warmed by my excellent anorak (a Lowe Alpine, sadly discontinued) and my hooter heated by my own warm breath.

I concluded, however, that a combination of the hat with a snood – a neck warmer you can pull up over your face – would be best. I tried this arrangement for personal attractiveness when I got home and had to conclude that I looked magnificent. Mainly because you could hardly see any of me.

If ever I were out in a serious blizzard, I’d put the hat’s nose cover over the snood. All that would remain exposed would be my eyes and, while I’d like to cover these too, the consensus among experienced explorers is that it helps to see where you’re going. Goggles! That’s the next essential in the ongoing cover-up of ma coupon.

More in this series:

Forget Scandi noir and Game of Thrones – it’s Springwatch all the way for Rab

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