Friday, 21 November 2008
Following the success of the quiz night last night i have decided there will be another one. Around February time so I'll keep you all posted. The feedback I had about it was great and everyone who attended really enjoyed themselves. The mountain themed questions stumped a few folks but I didn't think What does the F in John F Kennedy stand for? would be so difficult?!!! Anyway the raffle prizes went down a storm and so far the total raised from the quiz night and raffle is £234. Pretty good huh. I will be better organised the next time and will start the promotion well in advance. But alas it will wait until after the Festive Season which is definitely upon us now....
... Popped into a sale in town tonight after and secured 1 present for Dad, 1 present for Baby Ryan and of course a little something for myself too that isn't made of Goretex or fleece - ha ha. Well chuffed. Only a few more to go now.
So this is a short a sweet posting tonight - yay i hear you cry! But if anyone can answer the question above there's a prize!!!! Answers on a post card to...... well not really but leave a comment if you know (and that is without checking Wikipedia first - cheater!).
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Hope this find you all fit and well and raring to go for countdown to Christmas! Sorry someone had to say it – it’s only about 6 weeks away after all...
It started off windy, then the light rain came along and just as we headed up to what I thought was the summit the heavier rain struck but worst of all was the really strong winds! Weren’t just strong winds but the sort of wind that you can push against and be almost horizontal it was so strong. Yes I did say what I thought was the summit as I’m finding that most hills have false summits – why? Who builds them? Stop it please, it’s quite annoying to find that you think you’ve reached your goal and then find it’s actually about another 15 minute walk further back. So we reached the first summit and sat in the cairn, wind howling round about us and then a figure appeared on the horizon like a mirage. He came all the way up circled the cairn and then headed back down to where he’d just come from. All a bit surreal really! So this was my 5th Munro – woohoo! (Gael Charn). I grabbed a quick bite of my sandwich and had to take off my big gloves – the guy in Tiso assured me I could do anything with these gloves!! That’s why I can’t even pull my jacket zip down with them on?.... I dunno, they say anything to sell you something eh. But other than that they are rare and warm. My fingers were frozen so the gloves went back on and we headed on to the next Munro.
It was down a few hundred metres and then to a track winding its way up the back of A'Mharconaich. All the while the wind I swear was getting stronger – the type that takes your breath away. Our faces were being battered by hail stones or strong rain, it was rather unpleasant and I was thinking why, why am I doing this?? We decided to head upwards and get onto the gentle ridge up to the summit as soon as possible. This was a hard slog and quite steep in places. Again another false top and then we got onto the gentle slope of the ridge. At this point I was pretty quiet as I was trying to get my mind on the job in hand and think good positive thoughts. Sounds weird but those of you out there who have this type of past time will know what I mean – I hope!! Time for a pit stop and another bite of a sandwich and a wee snack. Then the final push. It was pretty quick and we managed it in about 20 minutes. We couldn’t see a thing from here and decided it was best to take a few snapshots and head on down as the clouds were thick. Only about 10 minutes down and suddenly it was almost clear (still strong winds though) but the views were fantastic and that’s when you realise why indeed you do this type of thing on a weekend. Bliss...
My mood had gotten brighter and the banter flowed. If anyone could hear our conversations they’d think what??!!!! All great fun though. Finally we were nearly back at base camp (ha-ha) and this mound of mud was baffling us. We couldn’t figure out how to get around it as the ground was a total bog. Call Mountain Rescue I cried and we were only about 20 metres from the train track! Ha-ha – well it was funny at the time and we laughed. So that was 2 Munros on 5 hours – just like the book said. I must be better than I thought at this hill-walking malarkey. Ding ding – RESULT!
Ok you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Munro-Bagging. When I’m on the hill and people are saying ok do you want to go for the second one? I’m like ‘No I’m not bothered about ticks on some list’. But afterwards I proudly get my list out and tick it off. I say yeah go ahead and bag some Munro’s but I think some people take it too seriously and perhaps they just get the book out, rush on ahead to bag the Munro and then tick it off the list. I’ve been told on several occasions now by various experienced people that you should go at your own pace, if you can’t talk to your mate when walking then you’re going too fast etc but when you’re out on the hill and people seem to be rushing off ahead and then start talking about times when they had to wait for slow people then it doesn’t make you feel that great. I’ll just say one thing – team work people! There’s no I in TEAM – as they say.....
Anyway we head on down to Pitlochry for our evening of mountain talk with Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell. We met up with a few friends there and had a good laugh beforehand. The talk was a very interesting and eye-opening talk. I especially enjoyed the section in Kenton’s talk about the trek into Base Camp. It made me so proud, nervous, fantastic and eager all at the same time about the journey I have ahead of me. Amazing! He spoke with great admiration about the Sherpa’s and Sirdar’s who do a wonderful job on all Everest Summit Expeditions. Much respect to them. He also mentioned the Base Camp cook who makes apple pie – which I have been told about before. And I liked when he commented on the trek into Base Camp being as much of an achievement as a summit. We all have an Everest inside us and this trek will be mine. Go on people, find your own Everest and do it!!
After a long and very enjoyable fun day we headed back down the road as we were knackered and my face was stinging with the wind. Next stop its Fort William next weekend with the Ochils Mountaineering Club. I’m now really psyched for that as it will be my first trip out 2 days in a row and I’m keen to find out how I’ll get on.
I’ll leave you with a few pics of our day .....
and more pics can be found here:
Thanks for reading,
Song of the week: Human – The Killers ~ Are we human or are we dancer?
Take care everyone,
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
OK here goes for an epic update!! I say epic as it suddenly dawned on me that I have acquired my Pappy’s (and my Dad’s) skill of starting one story which twists and turns and goes off on several different tangents before I reach the end goal that is the whole point of my story in the first place. Apologies to all who have read through any epic emails when the whole point was only ‘hiya, how are you?’ Ha-ha. I quite enjoy writing, typing, asking questions, telling stories and generally pouring the inner most thoughts from my head into emails, blogs or any other medium that you are able to read. I might write a book one day.... now there’s a thought. Anyway see there was a tangent already and I only wanted to say hello!
So... you have been warned, settle in and let’s begin...
Firstly, I visited the docs last week and I have now been referred to the orthopaedic clinic for my sore leg, gammy knee, dodgy left peg, whatever you want to call it. I have been assured that it will take a few months for an appointment so I am not hopeful that anything would be done before my travels in April. Whether or not this is a good thing I have yet to decide. The negatives are that I MAY get some pain when I’m trekking and I’ll be worrying about it constantly I think but the positives are I’m going on the trip of a lifetime and the views, scenery, experience, personal journey will be much more than the pain ... and besides I may have many other things to worry about than a bit of a sore knee.
It’s been a busy time of late what with Spanish class, cake-baking, fundraising, work and general fun-times. Not to mention that saga of the moose loose aboot ma hoose!! I managed have a nice relaxed weekend and started (whispers) Christmas shopping.... ssshhhh! Also went to see a talk at the Albert Hall in Stirling with Sharon. It was by Simon Yates (he of Touching the Void fame). So there we were in a hall full of (mostly) over 50’s, I was admiring the gorgeous pictures listening to his interesting talk and wondering why, when he mentioned his friend Joe who was a bit clumsy and prone to breaking his leg, did this bring a round of laughter in the audience. It wasn’t until it finally clicked that he was talking about the incident that the whole film Touching the Void is actually about is what he was talking to us about. The moment that he cut the rope he said was a pretty simple decision really. He hadn’t had a tug or heard Joe shout and he couldn’t see him because of the storm that was blasting around them so in that position I ask would you do the same? I think maybe so but I wouldn’t really like to find out. So as the talk went on I realised that was only a small (but not a minor) incident in his life and he has done much more climbing since then. His latest endeavours have been to South America, islands off the coast of Chile to be exact where he has climbed several unknown and unnamed mountains in the past few years. All in all it was a good night and a very interesting talk by a remarkable yet very straightforward guy. Cool!!
Did I mention that I have joined (well almost) joined a mountaineering club? When I say mountaineering I mean hill-walking and when I say joined I mean we went along to see what it was all about and then you have to be nominated by a member then accepted into the fold, so to speak. It’s the Ochils Mountaineering Club. Sharon also very kindly signed us up to a weekend in Fort William at the end of November with members from the club. There were two non-members places available and so there she was with our names on that list quicker than you can say ‘I’m a munro bagger!!’ All in the name of training you understand. It’ll be my first venture out in the hills 2 days in a row so we’ll see how i get on. The strange bed in a shared bunk room is more worrying than the 2 days on the hills but it’s another thing i’m going to have to get used to.
Speaking of that, I have to tell you this funny story. We went to our first night at the OMC about 3 weeks ago. They meet on a Thursday night at the Rugby club in Stirling so we went along to a talk by a guy called Es Tressider (www.es-on-ice.co.uk ) about a recent trip to the Tasermiut Fjord in Greenland. Amazing talk and pictures but we were sat behind this row of fairly old guys and one fell asleep, snoring and all! And his mate gave him a nudge on the arm and he almost fell off his chair. It was sooo funny. I couldn’t look at them as it was one of those situations when you know you aren’t meant to laugh but can’t help it – like at school.
I went to a Snow Patrol gig at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh last week. It was for the launch of their new album on 27th October and was a good show. I had a great seat at only about 4 rows from the front and was given a guitar plectrum at the end by a guy called Troy who plays with the band on some songs but is also part of the crew. Again my trusty camera goes everywhere with me and the pictures can be viewed here http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=64341&l=22f6e&id=682653237 and here http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=64344&l=e268b&id=682653237
So what next?...
• Well another talk at the OMC in the rugby club on Thursday 6th November. It’s by Kev Shields who climbs with a prosthetic arm. Amazing!
• Off out on the hills this Saturday with Sharon. I think she’s making me to 2 munros again – weather permitting of course.
• Then it’s Pitlochry on 15th November for a talk by Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell. Really looking forward to that should be interesting and perhaps I can blag a signed photo or something to raffle off for my fundraising.
• In between all of this I’m holding my 4th cake sale on 11th November and a Christmas themed cake sale on 3rd December. These are always popular so if you’re in the vicinity drop by for some tasty home-baked treats. Plus a QUIZ NIGHT on Thursday 20th November in the Common room, Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, 6-8pm. Tickets are £5 and can be paid on the night. The prizes are coming in slowly but surely.
After all of that it will be Christmas and before i know it it’ll be April!!
Time-check: 11.43pm on Tuesday 4th November 2008 and we could be about to witness history unfold in the next few hours by the unveiling of a new black American president. ‘Change’ was his campaign slogan. Do you think anything will change? And will that change be for the better or the worst? I don’t know but surely a change is as good as a holiday! isn't it?
Change (Noun) can mean:
• The process of becoming different
• the act or process of changing
o Social change
o Biological metamorphosis
o The mathematical study of change
• Small denominations of money given in exchange for a larger denomination
• transition, transform, vary, adjust, alter
Song of the week: If There's a Rocket Tie Me To It - Snow Patrol