Friday, 8 June 2018

The Great Outdoors Challenge 2018

Well, I made it. A crossing with highs and lows, as one might expect when walking across Scotland, but so glad I perservered and pushed through the lows, I definitely finished on a high! The write up is here

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The Hill Before

A couple of weekends before the beginning of the Challenge, I wanted to test my fitness a bit and my new rucksack (Osprey Ariel 55 AG), on the spur of the moment, we went off to climb a hill we’ve been looking at from a distance for quite some time. It’s a very prominent, rounded lump, along the west of Loch Ness south of Drumnadrochit, Meall Fuar-mhonaidh. Off we set, having purchased our Meal Deals from Tesco, to drive to Balbeg and then abandon the car neatly just before the pottery.


The lump we were heading for


After leaving the car park, we followed a road for a short while to its end, then a path lead us to a pretty silver birch wood.


The path through the trees eventually gave way to open hillside and the path continued gently upwards.


There were showers around about us, but none came our way all day.



Still heading up.



A stile to cross the deer fence, good practice…



And the views just kept coming


Along the Great Glen towards Inverness and the Moray coast




…glad we weren’t caught in that downpour…






The obligatory…


My first primroses of the year

P4282065A bench, or a stile to nowhere?

I make no apologies for the amount of photographs, it was a glorious day and we had a fabulous day out. My pack was beautifully comfortable, although it was only half what I might expect to carry on the Challenge.

Roughly 9.34 km total distance 523m total ascent and 2.4km/h

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Pre-Challenge Strolls

A short while before the Challenge, Laura and I had a couple of walks. The first, before the end of April, saw Laura arrive here with several gas canisters and a gadget. First, we went for a stroll (we’d been putting off playing with the gadget for about a year and a half, going for a walk wasn’t going to make much difference!), just my average morning walk, before returning to drink coffee and risk life and limb playing with the gadget and gas.

All went well and we were able to walk another day.

Roughly 11.4km total distance, 88.6m total ascent at 4.2 km/h

The second walk took place in Laura’s neck of the woods. We met in Aberlour and after visiting the Co-op, we set off for Little Conval. There are a few exposed sections of road walking before reaching the woods below the hill and we had been somewhat buffeted by the wind, we decided a discretion and valour thing, it was too windy for even a little hill as it is so exposed, so we thought we’d just check out the ends of the tracks we would be using to make sure they would go in future. We actually made a very pleasant circuit through the woods and had a thoroughly good walk, putting the world to rights and discussing all things route and gear related.

Roughly 12km total distance, 353m total ascent and 3.2 km/h

I have no idea why there is a distinct lack of photographs. Think we were too busy talking!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

So, that was 2017

It has been such a busy year! I don’t think I can actually remember everything that’s happened ad everywhere I’ve been.

Harry the Hernia was dealt with in early March and has caused no further problems. I didn’t complete the Challenge in May, but the problems I encountered were not related to Harry, hopefully the new pack David has bought me and the extra training to improve leg strength will help make next year’s crossing less painful.

Rhiannon finished her four year psychology course and graduated in June, she’s come home for a year to work locally before perhaps going back to continue her studies.

Aedan is competing at ever higher levels, he’s been to Europe and Australia and along with receiving a Merit award from Sports Aid Scotland he was also awarded Young Sportsman of the Year. He has been selected to represent Scotland shooting 10m Air Pistol at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast Australia in April. A tad exciting.

Ciara is studying hard at university in Aberdeen, the same course that Rhiannon has just finished. She seems to be enjoying it and is also maintaining her shooting.

Conall did well in his first set of exams last summer and is now studying hard for the next set. He is hot on Aedan’s heels with regards his shooting and next year will enjoy still being a junior whilst Aedan starts his senior career.

There must  have been much walking and fitness, Mick and Gayle visited and Laura and I have enjoyed many walks together. There was also our last Duke of Edinburgh Award group to supervise over the summer, a Gold group who have been an absolute joy to support and encourage. I will miss them, but I am so pleased that the last group I have supported from the Open Award Centre that I have been co-coordinator of of were such a fantastic group.

My regular walks on Altryre put a smile on my face and song in my heart. Loving life and looking forward to more of it in 2018.

Sláinte mhath!

Last Walk of 2017

In June David and I went back to the gym (for me, the first time at the gym for more than 13 years) in a bid for me get fitter and make hills more comfortable, although not necessarily faster. On 31st October we ventured out for my first run outdoors for over 12 years. All the time I have been walking between 30 and 50 kilometres a week, to maintain my walk fitness. So on Friday, we decided to do a favourite walk to see if my hill fitness has improved any. In the event, I think it was a bit of an unfair test as there was quite a bit of snow and ice on the ground which inevitably impacted on our pace, although the Kahtoola Microspikes came into their own and definitely helped.

The favourite hill is of course, Meall a’ Bhuachaille, and we haven’t been there for over five years, I was happy to be back.

I didn’t get as many photographs as I would have liked as my camera battery doesn’t like the cold, but I didn’t want to hang about myself particularly, it was chilly. The lighting was rather wonderful. Fab day out with TTS.


Taken as we left Ryvoan Bothy


Looking along the Craiggowie ridge from the cairn


Roughly 9.16 km and about 529 m total ascent