…… the next chapter ….

Well that’s the end of one chapter and the start of another! Just finished my Open University degree. It has been a long journey which I thought I would never finish! Work, family and other demands caused me to insert a lengthy intermission. I would have given up completely in the last year, but she wouldn’t let me ………. Now I can focus even more attention on my relationship with the outdoors through climbing and mountaineering, providing technical advice to outdoor establishments, first aid training and a little paddling with the new toy! To cap it all, just met up, for the first time in exactly 30 years with my Junior Soldier troop – seventeen years old, skinny and fresh faced when I last saw them. Now look at them, I felt like a proud dad!

An early summer?

The Highlands have had a stunning start to the summer with a good week of lovely spring weather. The rock was warm and dry and the breeze minimal. Is this the start of another good summer, or a worrying indication of the effect our use of fossil fuels is having on our home?

Has it sprung?

Great afternoon climbing at Dunkeld, in the dry and sunshine …….. am I dreaming? Came across a healthy looking frog about its business en route to the crag. It looks and feels like spring; but is it? Cheers Matt, fortune favours the opportunist!

Winter skills and a top!

Good winter skills day out with Mark and Nicola on Beinn Ghlas. Managed to catch a whole variety of conditions under foot and in the weather. It all started still and stunning, then a traditional rapid change!

First Aid Training

That’s another couple of first aid courses delivered; Outdoor First Aid (2 day / 16 hour ) and an Emergency First Aid at Work course (1 day / 7 hour). Plenty of fabulous and engaging folks on the courses who really valued the way we at the First Aid Training Cooperative deliver our courses in a systematic and interactive way. First aid is something that is done, not watched. Hopefully not done too much mind!

the ground was exceedingly cold!

Happy New Year ……. and by the way where’s winter?

Had a fine day climbing in the Cairngorms, Corrie Sneachda. Winter climbing, but it was pretty marginal. Some mixed routes need a build up of snow and / or ice, others don’t, in fact they benefit from being bare so the hook holds can be found. That to me is not very sporting! Nevertheless today was a nice day in the hills with good company, sunshine and a Brocken Spectre. The Mountain Cafe in Aviemore was full mind 😦

Autumn continues …..

So, when I was a lad, Christmas in Scotland involved either white and cold or white and wet experiences in the mountains. Sometimes even white, cold and wet! So there we were today in Glen Coe heading up the zig zags on Gearr Aonach in rather autumnal conditions. The weather was mild, some blue sky and a gentle breeze, so actually rather nice. Add great company to that and we have a good day out. But we are all looking forward to the return of the winter 🙂

My fish are confused!

Having experienced a few frosts and a little snow – which I enjoyed in the hills by the way, my fish back home are now slightly confused with the pond temperature gradually rising as we enjoy (?) 10 degrees Celsius. There is a lot of activity and they are still feeding rather confidently. I was rather expecting them to be hiding in the dark depths at this stage. Fingers crossed winter arrives – again! See you there 🙂

Beautiful Strathearn

Stunning day in Strathearn. That’s the bit that includes Crieff and Comrie and some simply stunning walking, running and biking. We started at Comriecroft and headed east to Crieff on the old drovers road past the monument and over Laggan Hill. This is a stunning trial and part of the Crieff 10K race route, run br Strathearn Harriers. part Next we climbed up to the Glen Turret dam past the Famous Grouse distillery. This is a long climb of over 300 metres but on a tarmac (albeit potholed) road. After photos in stunning conditions we headed west to Breafordie Lodge then down off the hill. This is a 15.5 mile ride with around 630 metres of climbing (around two hours of riding), but great even in challenging conditions. Finished off with coffee and a roll at Bonnie’s Mountain cafe. Great route, stunning weather and even better company.

Dumyat Downfall!

Dumyat is a special place for many reasons; accessible, remote, and stunning views of the central belt including Grangemouth …………!  The Ochils offer fabulous running, biking, navigating and solitude.  Today it was a little wintery which was my downfall.  A hidden rut under the snow and my front wheel went north and me south in a perfect arms outstretched superman position for ten slushy metres.  No harm done, the watching Highland cattle just, well, looked on ……  The lesson today was go slower, more weight back and relax!


…… pre downfall