Friday, 31 December 2010


Well, that’s the end of another year. I’ve been thinking about all my achievements this year, which I usually avoid doing, but this year has been a good one.

After my failed first attempt at a Munro

VLUU L310W L313 M310W / Samsung L310W L313 M310WDavid made a successful summit of Gleouraich.

I then had success in Glen Feshie

SDC10456when I climbed Sgor Gaoith. I was very proud of myself.

We also successfully introduced three of our children to the joys of big hillwalking when we took them up A' Chailleach


This was an amazing experience, quite overwhelming and the stags roaring in the valleys below added to the extraordinary atmosphere that day.

There’s been many successful girly walks this year, filled with much laughter and great pleasure. I’ve also made some new friends, finally meeting a handful of TGOers in Tomdoun in May and since then I’ve met up and walked with Laura a couple of times and I’m really looking forward to many more giggle filled walks in the New Year.

Then, of course, there was my successful entry into the Challenge. This will be a major achievement in 2011 and one I shall relish.

It’s not all been good. There was another family bereavement in the spring, in David’s family, and the news in October’s announcement was truly devastating. As yet, we don’t know what will happen to us, so from that point of view, we enter into 2011 with some trepidation, but there’s nothing we can do about that, we just have to wait.

All in all, it’s been a busy year, but on the whole a good one. Here’s hoping 2011 holds some nice surprises and not too many difficulties.

Happy New Year to one and all, Slàinte Mhath!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Christmas catch up

Well, we fair galloped up to Christmas, what with three Christmas dances, Brownie pyjama party and singing carols at the inmates in Leanchoil hospital, a girly walk, last minute shopping, present wrapping and food preparation. The Royal Icing  instructions for my mum’s Christmas cake clearly says, “One snow scene coming up!”. It should read, “One avalanche coming up!” because that’s what I always seem to end up with. Next year, it’ll be bought, ready rolled icing…
Christmas itself was wonderful. Just how I like it, the six of us, nice and quiet. Well, as quiet as it can be  with new Wii games to amuse themselves with. Did I get a bit competitive whilst playing Just Dance 2? Might have. Certainly burnt off more calories than I usually do on Christmas Day, that must be a good thing!
David had a duty on Boxing Day, so that was a quiet day too, with more dancing and a couple of films.
The girls had managed to collect quite large sums of money from their recent birthdays and Christmas, so they wanted to shop. David thought he should stay at home with the boys, so “Christmas Holiday Tuesday” saw me heading to Inverness to The Sales. I hate shopping. No, I’ll try that again. I HATE shopping. With a passion. I HATE shopping at The Sales even more. All those sharp elbows and hangers click, click, clicking on the rails. I simply can’t bear all the clothes dropped on the floor and left lying, I feel compelled to pick them all up, but it’s not my job, arrgh!
Anyway, they were happy and spent a little of their money.
As you can see, there has been no walking and I’ve been beginning to feel a little like a caged animal, but there is hope on the horizon. Yesterday, whilst in town, David popped into Millets and bought Ciara and Conall new walking boots. These boots are currently being worn around the house at every given opportunity, (I’d be surprised if they didn’t spend a little time in bed last night) and their first outing is planned for a short walk around Loch Morlich on Sunday. Should still be quite pretty around there, not wet, grey and slippy in places like here.
In the meantime, there’ll be more dancing.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Clement Clarke Moore

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Mince pies and mulled wine

We convened for the Christmas Girly Walk at Lidl’s car park on Saturday and everyone was full of festive cheer as we fidgeted to keep warm in the snow and ice. We were Angela, Alison, Pip, Rikky, Sarah, Judith, Sally, Jo and me. Angela had intended us to have a sip of mulled wine before setting off, but had dropped the flask in the porch at home. As it was an old fashioned glass one, she’d decided not to sieve the contents, but rather to bring a bottle of Baileys, so those that liked had a good measure from a plastic cup before we left at a good pace towards the forest.
Angela took the lead (I had the map and route…) and we were soon heading down the track on the wrong side of the hedge. Judith put us right and that was the only near mistake of the walk. We’ll put it down to the snifter. It was a simple route, a mix of back roads and forestry as we wended our merry way. The going underfoot was mixed, a lot of snow, some compacted to ice and some fluffy and light, but the weather was mainly good. We had one decent snow shower, a few light flurries, but plenty of blue skies and winter sunshine, although it was decidedly nippy at snack and comfort stops.
We reached the car park at Wellhill to find the public conveniences open (usually locked during the winter) and there was a cheer as several of us took advantage of the porcelain. There was hot tap water too, wey hey!
Walking through Culbin always makes me nervous, I am notorious for getting lost in this forest, so how I’d got in charge of the route and map I’ll never know, but we made it through to Cloddymoss without event and I was proud. Here, we celebrated the season with our favourite walking friends and enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine (from Jo’s sensible flask).
Deluxe mince pies, six between nine was tricky
SDC11085 From the left, Jo, Rikky, Sally, Pip, Sarah, Judith, back of Alison’s head (the best shot of the two I took!) and Angela in the silly hat, say n’more
There was a glow about us and lots of good humour. Maybe a little tottering in places, but we’ll put that down to the ice…
Onwards every onwards, towards Dyke for a parcel drop off en route, to meet the Other Louise and sadly to lose Judith who begged a lift back to town for another engagement. Then a slight detour to kill time, just so we didn’t arrive at The Old Mill, Brodie, too early. (I personally don’t think it’s possible to arrive at a pub ‘too early’, but I might be getting myself a little bit of a reputation…). We headed down the track towards Brodie Castle and through the grounds to look at the frozen pond with staggering swans. I think someone wanted to walk around the pond, but luckily the consensus at this point was that we could go to the pub, phew.
We had a lovely ‘light bar snack’ and maybe a glass of wine or real ale, but I think we may have been a little too jolly for the place, our waitress certainly didn’t appear to appreciate our humour. Oops.
After a lovely walk and meal, there was a flurry of activity as  transport arrived to take Sarah and Pip, Alison and Rikky  in opposite directions. Angela and the Other Louise decided to walk back into town and the remaining three stayed at the table to drink coffee, eat chocolate and muse a while. After a short time there was much messing with mobiles, none with a signal and one without charge, but somehow we managed to hale a taxi (Jo’s husband and son in fact) and the Hardcore were at last transported home.
It was indeed a Merry Christmas walk!
9.12 miles walked
265 feet ascent (no lumps, hence the speed!)
3 mph average
49 minutes 54 seconds resting (it was a tad fresh for standing around!)
3 hours and 03 minutes moving

Thursday, 9 December 2010


The snow itself hasn't caused me any problems, but it has been causing problems around me.

I had walked forty three miles in ten days, but once the snow closed the schools for a couple of days then stopped parcels being delivered, my walking was curtailed and I've now managed nine miles in eleven days. This is not good so close to Christmas.

To make life more interesting, we've had a 'major BT Broadband outage' for 48 hours, so whilst I've been holed up waiting for the parcels to be delivered, I've had no entertainment. This would explain the four kilograms of marmalade now nestling in my cupboard.

And the half knitted fingerless mitts.

Haven't got round to the Christmas cards yet though. Just couldn't quite bring myself to do it.

Still, the champagne arrived yesterday so this morning I was able to get out onto the now nicely compacted snow for a play in my Kahtoola Microspikes. I may have been a little smug as I strode passed the other pedestrians, sliding along the slippery path. (Actually, there was only one other pedestrian...)

Oh well, best get on, emails and blogs to catch up with!