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

Return to Culbin

We had attempted to walk to The Gut back here when a slight mishap meant we cut short our walk on that occasion. This time we hoped to make a better fist of it.

This walk was back in November, but I don’t remember anything significant. The weather was relatively fine but grey at times and we did have a little off path adventure, but we survived with just slightly damp feet. I seem to have taken more photographs on this walk.


New benches


Views from the top of the fire tower


Made it to the gut and rewarded with excellent views


Yep. We went through this


But it did improve!


Excellent views at lunch from our log pile


Thank you Laura, thoroughly enjoyed myself!

Roughly 14.6 km and 118m total ascent

Around The Bochel

The 12th October seemed like a good day to meet up with the Lovely Laura and go for a walk. We decided it was about time we returned to the Tomintoul area and gave The Bochel a go. We are quite familiar with the area and really should have been prepared for the mud fest that ensued, but it was a while since we’d been in the area and we had forgotten.

It was a grey day and it did attempt to rain later in the day, but it came to nothing in the end, despite the waterproof faff.

It all started very well, we parked the car at Tombae car park and set off a short way along the road before taking a track and crossing a bridge. Then it got…tricky. There were cattle. A substantial amount of cattle. They weren’t too close, but kept moving which didn’t please me. And the mud! The mud was utterly ridiculous. That is partly why I seem to have taken very few photographs. That and the fact we were talking quite a lot.


The boardwalk, short respite from the mud fest


Loved the sky


So, the plan had been to follow the footpath and then make our way uphill to the top of The Bochel, but we didn’t like the going much, after the mud fest it was a steep, heathery slope, our next least favourite ground for walking, so we decided to continue contouring for a while before making our way across and down the hill to meet the footpath. There we came across another slight issue with cattle, they were blocking the track we intended to follow up onto the road to avoid the return through the mud fest. To avoid the cattle, we went through a gate leading into the adjoining field (the gate between the two was open, but the cattle seemed uninclined to come through it) and walked quite quickly across to another gate (which  I think we climbed?) and into some trees. After a quick scout about, we decided our next course of action would be to follow the fence line along the edge of the trees and make our way to the road tat way. Much to my horror, we found we than had to climb a stile into the back garden of a small, occupied cottage and sneak through their gate to reach the desired track to the road, but we got there eventually!

Once on the track, we crossed a bridge and made it to the road. At Allanreid car park we made use of the picnic bench and had a rather late lunch. Soon after we walked along the road back to the car. Such fun!!

Roughly 10.8 km and 316m total ascent.