Tuesday 14 April 2015

Challenge Planning

Judith made me chuckle with her take on Challenge Planning here but it had me thinking, what of my own?

I have a list. Or at least, I did have a list. That was before we moved and I haven’t seen it since…

My food was delivered yesterday, thanks to Mark at Mountaintrails, my Challenge Cake (for the Cheese and Wine) is currently being fed and my new water bottle holder has been despatched. I am still trying to establish the existence of a local bus from Shiel Bridge to Dornie run by MacRae Kintail Buses, but hopefully that’s the last thing on my list, bar the fresh food. So, am I prepared?

I was thinking about this as I strolled yesterday and I’ve come to the conclusion I’m feeling more relaxed each year about this preparation lark. My route is good, for me at least. There is variation and there are expanses of the unknown and there are opportunities to go high if weather allows and I want to. It’s also quite a sociable route. Again. I have all my OS LR maps and I have printed off my route maps. I might even remember to pack my route sheet this year. I am very happy with my dehydrated meals choices and I’m fairly confident I’ll find fresh foods that I like quite easily en route. I have booked my accommodation at the start, a B&B and two hostels along the way and arranged for parcels to be posted on to myself, just containing a couple of dehydrated meals and maybe maps.

I have a dry run with the planned kit on Thursday as I have a DofE training night and I intend to take mine and Ciara’s packed rucksacks to demonstrate the kind of kit they should carry, how to pack a rucksack (I hate lots of dangling bits on the outside!) and what they could aspire to. This will give me the opportunity to give things I haven’t seen for a while a check over, including my Laser which hasn’t been out since September.

Will I be posting a kit list this year? Probably not. It hasn’t changed much. I will replace my fleece with my Rab Lunar pull on and my thermal vest, mainly due to the bulk, but I’m confident I won’t regret it. I will also take my groundsheet protector instead of my foiled mat. The protector is a little heavier, but gives me a groundsheet in the porch as well as some insulation and protecting the bottom of my tent and my Synmat. It also means I won’t be sliding around the floor of my tent for two weeks! I haven’t decided which trousers I’m taking yet, that largely depends on the weather forecast before we leave and whether my Paramo trousers are repaired and returned in time. So I don’t think I’ll post the list, I may just post the total weights to keep the fussy folk happy. (I still have my spread sheets, I know how much it all weighs and what I’ll be hauling across Scotland!)

Now, what have I forgotten?

Thursday 9 April 2015

More walking and making new friends…

I’ve walked almost every day since we moved, varying distances, but I haven’t yet repeated any route. It’s brilliant.

So, here’s a few photographs that I’ve taken.


Across Blair’s Loch


Through the trees


In the middle of the above pic is a rock with a dipper bobbing on it. Honest.


White butterbur, lots of it


Close up and sloping?!


White butterbur carpet




A few weeks later I had confirmation, this is Wild Garlic


In the middle of this pic is a sticky up twig at the top of a tree. There used to be an osprey nest on the ‘platform’ beneath. It was utterly destroyed in the winter storms and I have not yet seen any sign of the pair that usually nest here…


Cross Slab (Ogham)


I should offer a prize to anyone who can identify the pair of birds in this and the following photo (but I probably won’t…just in case)




And the path by Blair’s Loch…








with frogs!


Two of my new friends


They are cute!




Why is it always in a ridiculous puddle?


Looking up the sides of the Dava Way near Clashdhu


A rather lichen laden tree


I have no idea why I particularly like this one…


Moss covered tree stumps catching the sun


Wider view


Swathes of garlic


Also catching the sun…


The first celandine of the year


This sheep had just given birth to her lambs when I walked past


Another new friend


Really pungent now, be glad you don’t have smellyvision


First wild garlic flower bud


Lots more celandine


Wood anenome



And a couple of other walks to report on later.