Bowery Mural

Why does a man (or woman) climb mountains?....

Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Hello all
I have been trying for months now to figure out the feelings I get when I am walking, climbing, hiking and dragging myself up hillsides and mountains, across rugged terrains, scrambling over huge boulders the size of Ryan!!
I think I might have realised what it may be... no promises but here's the only way I know how to describe it just now...

It's the feeling of 'why oh why am I doing this?'; it's the self doubt about the prospect of one of the hardest things I will have achieved in my life - the trek; it's the dread at the beginning of a walk with other more experienced folks of 'I hope they don't rush away from me'; it's the self satisfaction of when I am going at a steady pace and they say 'slow down!'; it's the niggling pain in my left knee when I'm nearly at a summit and the burning pain that it turns into on a descent; it's the great feeling you get when you are climbing your first munro and realise you've been taken up one of the biggest in the country and you HAVE done it (it was hard but you've done it!!); it's the magnificent views that unfold before your very eyes or the ones that don't on a claggy day on the hills; it's the banter that you partake in up to a certain point and the banter that you love listening to but must never be repeated!; it's the 50 mph winds atop an open summit with nothing but a few rocks to try to get shelter from; it's the sight of the two or three false summits that seem to appear like some black teasing mounds on every munro - why are they made like this?!!; it's the fantastic feeling of a great photo that you've taken on your first winter route and you're so proud you've entered it into a photo comp at a film festival!; it's the ice cold water your glad of on a steep ascent; it's the nice warm shower you have after an exhilarating day on the hills; it's the stinging red face after a windy but exhilarating day on the hills; it's the emotion that took my breath away on Stob Coire Sgreamhach; it's the solitude and silence of the Lost Valley; it's the anticipation of waiting on the article you're featured in coming out and the nervousness of not even reading it yet as you're too embarrassed (the pictures are great though!); it's the advice you've sought from many a wise man or even the advice from the not so wise one!; it's the sense of belonging where you never thought you would; it's the wishing you could be doing much much more but the dodgy knee is holding you back; it's the hope that it all goes as planned and the realisation that it's coming around very very quickly; it's the flutter in your tummy when you catch a glimpse of Everest on TV; it's the weight on your shoulder to deliver the money shot; it's the excitement of those final few steps to the money shot!; it's the months of ramblings on a blog that you're not even sure that anyone reads! and realising that you write way too long entries because English isn't really your strongest point - but hey, we can't be good at everything!; it's the being too shy to have one of your hero's stand right in front of you and you not even saying anything but wishing you had and then replaying the conversation you never had over and over in your head; it's just you being you but wishing you could be a bit braver; it's feeling like you're a burden when people take you out walking but you're really not and in fact you're actually quite good at it and it's them that go too fast - way too fast; it's discovering hidden talents you never knew you had; it's discovering hidden places that you never knew existed; it's discovering a whole new life you are kinda liking better; it's the things that keep you going when you don't really want to; it's being cosy warm in your new down jacket; it's being freezing cold and soaking wet on the side of a hill when you feel sick cos someone gave you a JellyBean with extra glucose that is meant to be a pick me up - Sharon!!; it's your very first blister after a walk up Dumyat; it's the stories you hear from various sources of climbing and walking and seeing and doing; it's the amazing people you meet along the way and hopefully many more to come; it's the lingo you don't understand but you nod all the same; it's the sheepish way you acknowledge your challenge when you tell someone else; it's the friends old and new who have helped you to believe; it's the Olympic Gold medallist that wished you good luck and told you of his hopes to be an Everest base camp doctor one day; it's the guy who inspires you with tales of two broken ankles and six (and counting) Everest summits; it's the assurance that you get from deep down within; it's the new yellow kit bag that's getting you there; it's the cosy fleeces and tech tops that you layer and layer; it's the shiver down your spine when you watch Sir Chris Hoy win his third Gold medal; it's the tear in your eye when Lance Armstrong wins his seventh Tour De France; it's the sitting eating lunch on a summit top with the views that go on for ever and could be another planet; it's the drive back home with the sense of achievement and the photo's you can't wait to load to the laptop; it's the questions from people of 'when do you fly out?'; it's the watching on with awe at this person climbing up the side of a rock like Spiderman and wondering how he gets a grip; it's the sudden feeling of realisation that it's not that far off; it's the laughing til you cry on the day in Drumochter/Pitlochry, the ptarmigan spotting and the fabulous mountain talk; it's the enthusiasm someone had for the trek into Base Camp when they've actually climbed Everest! - made my day; it's the finding an affinity with people around you; it's just something that cannot easily be described; it's the great outdoors.........

I'm not sure if you got the feelings from that but ... well it's the best i can do. I'll leave you with another few lines I heard recently on tv on Wainwright Walks. He talks about the English Lake District but i think it can be used to describe everyone that walks/climbs/hikes/treks and all the rest. I liked it as soon as i heard it:
Why does a man climb mountains?, why has he forced his tired and sweating body up here when he might instead have been sitting at ease in a deck chair at the seaside. It is a question every man must answer for himself. Alfred Wainwright.

Can you answer his question?......

Happy New Year!
much love,
Ange xx

13 weeks & 4 days......

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Hey all

Hope you have all survived the festive season so far! It's been really busy once again and thankfully it's been quiet today. Santa has been good to me again this year. He left me a Rab down jacket; Kings of Leon cd; a Munro book and map so that I can log things (I'm not a munro-bagger mind!); the usual perfume, jammies, slippers, etc; The Dark Knight & Mamma Mia dvd's and Prison Break season 3 dvd set which is fanstastic. I'm half-way through it already and it's just as good as I remember it to be, if not better!! If you haven't seen it check it out - great! I also got a Moleskine diary to record my year, this will be in addition to the Moleskine notebook i got myself to record my trip. I'm hoping to get people, friends, family to write in it before I go away. Think that will be comforting when the pain hits me! haha.

Anyway I also got some vouchers for an outdoors shop that I get a quite nice 15% discount at so I treated myself to a Suunto Core watch that's meant to be all singing all dancing with altimeter, compass etc on it. Sounds great but when I switched it on it was all in German and had to turn on the laptop and bring up MSN translator to help me out a bit! Managed to get it working now and it's fab. Still to figure out the compass settings and altimeter but plenty of time for that. If anyone knows, drop me a line?

So I'm going now but I'll leave you with a few pictures from Christmas day at the Higgins/Anderson/Preston/McEwan household..... yes there were really 14 of us for both Christmas and Boxing Days! Don't know how we do it but that's the way it should be isn't it??

bye for now, take care

Ange xx

1st pic: Brian, Ryan and Kelly Anne playing the DS
2nd pic: Ryan with his new tool box and JCB digger!
3rd pic: Ryan and his new bike, Granda sorting the peddles
4th pic: Ryan after Boxing Day dinner with his drum sticks!!

Twas the night before Christmas...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

... and now less than 100 days till I set off on my travels. It really is going too quickly now and before I know it I'll be on that plane heading to pastures new. Oh it's very exciting.....

Hey all

Well Christmas has gone and sneaked up on us again and i'm just finished making 'Angie's special fudge'. It's well tasty and hopefully will be well received after dinner tomorrow. I watched my favourite Christmas film today - Santa Clause The Movie. I got it on video when i was a wee girl and I just love it. It's nice but Ryan did not appreciate it today! I don't think he gets the whole Santa thing yet, he's actually pretty scared of him I think and wouldn't go to the Grotto in Stirling to have his picture taken with Santa - 'No Angie, no like it' were his words. I think next year when he's 3 he'll understand it more. Or maybe when he gets his brand spanking new mountain bike tomorrow morning he'll get it!!!!

I think Santa is bringing me some kit for Christmas (I seen the Tiso bags laying around, lol), hhhmmmm i wonder how he knew? ... and what will it be??

Now it is time to announce that i have reached 92% of my target and I am on course to beat the target of £3250!!! this is great news and a big relief before Christmas as there have been times when I've thought that it would never happen.

On that note I will bid farewell and hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!!
take care,
Ange xx

One word... Coldplay...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Hey all
I nearly forgot to write about what a great weekend I had! - (including the prize bingo of course).

Went to Glasgow on Saturday night with my sister to see Coldplay - one of my favourite-est bands in the whole wide world ... ever!! FACT. It was a fantastic gig but I couldn't help thinking I should have been in the section at front of the stage with the passes......hhhmmm I wonder how you get in there?

They played a great mix of new and old songs including one of my old favourites, Green Eyes from the Rush of Blood to the Head album. The warm up band were ok, Eugene Frances Jr and the Juniors. A couple of songs were quite catchy. Then on came a guy with what looked like a laptop and a giant screen displaying these subliminal cartoon type characters that just kept getting repeated for nearly 40 minutes!! All very bizarre. It was a like a poor man's Moby without the stand-out recognisable tunes.

Coldplay didn't actually appear until about 9.15pm but it was well worth the wait. The new album is really good and I dare anyone to listen to Strawberry Swing whenthe sun is aout to rise or to set and not feel a flutter of hope in our heart. That is such a cheesy line. Oh well i just think it's a good feel-good song. They played a few dancey versions of Talk and God Put a Smile On your Face - pretty good, maybe they should release them? then they done a little acoustic set away on the far corner of the venue - Green Eyes and another little ditty song that Will sung. Then it was back on stage for Lovers in Japan, Death and All his Friends and a few others. Brilliant. That was my third time at a Coldplay gig but yet my favourite one was at the Palau St Jordi in Barcelona, November 2005. That was ace. Great gig, great city, great view just brilliant. They were on fire that night.

I've seen a few live bands in recent months and they rank amongst the top. Loved the Snow Patrol gig the other week in Edinburgh as I was so close and it was a really intimate venue. Going to see them live again in February at the SECC so I'm looking forward to that too. Gary Loghtbody's goofy style and banter set the heart all of a flutter...... aaahhhh.....

Whilst at the SECC there was a scrolling screen thing that was showing who were playing and what was sold out. There's still some tickets left for Daniel O'Donnell by the way! ha ha. The Killers is sold out which is a real shame as I think they would be an amazing live act. Kings of Leon were playing on Sunday night and of course that was sold out. I quite like them too. The X Factor Live tickets are on sale - I might give that one a miss....

This all got me thinking, what is my favourite song in the whole world? Who are my favourite band? What would the line-up be at my make-believe music festival? If you can answer these questions let me know, I'm curious. Oh also, give me some recommendations for songs for my trekking play list...... what would they be..... something inspirational, something cheesy, something easy listening, rocking out?????? questions, questions. Ok I've an idea, you each have to name me 3 songs to include on my Official Trekking Playlist-volume 1.

To finish i'll leave you with some nice lyrics from 2 fab songs....
I was just guessing at numbers and figures,
Pulling your puzzles apart.
Questions of science, science and progress,
Do not speak as loud as my heart.

What have I done it's too late for that?
What have I become? Truth is nothing yet.
A simple mistake starts the hardest time.
I promise i'll do anything you ask...this time.

Bye for now, take care

Ange xx

Another day, another target reached!...

Monday, 8 December 2008

Hello people, hope this finds you all well and raring to go for Christmas!?

Well it is with great pleasure that I announce that I have reached my first fundraising target of £2600 - 80% of my overall target of £3250. This has come about and was reached when my Auntie Norah held a prize bingo in her house on Friday night. It was a good wee night and a huge thanks also to all the ladies of Dunblane for coming and making it a great success. The total raised at it was £225 which is fab just for being in the house. The next one will be held in February - come along, who secretly doesn't love a game of BINGO??!! ha ha.

It was also here that I met a lady who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer. She gave me a few words of encouragement and told me that it was because of people like me raising funds for such a worthy cause that makes her life a bit more easier with the help she and others receives from charities such as Marie Curie Cancer Care. I was so touched and moved but managed to hold myself together and not to cry in her face. I mean after all, she is the one going through it. I would never have guessed to look at her either. A really nice lady... she won about 3 prizes and claimed this was beginners bingo luck!! Good luck to her.

Anyway this is another opportunity for me to say THANK YOU to each and everyone who has sponsored me, contributed home-baking to cake sales, sold raffle tickes, donated prizes for raffles, wished me luck, took me walking, gave me inspiration and finally encouraged me on every step on my journey so far. You are all great! (Jeez, that was such a lame thing to say eh!).

So yeah, cheers everyone

take care,
Ange xxx

First meet with the OMC! (munro number 7)...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Hi everyone

Well the week has only just got quiet for me between work, play and cake baking! so i thought it was time for the story of the first meet with the OMC and my 7th, yes, my 7th munro!! up at Roy Bridge - which is about halfway between Dalwhinnie and Fort William.

We set off from Stirling at about 5.45pm last Friday night and made good time up the A9 reaching Pitlochry at about 6.45pm. Just after Pitlochry the snow came on and so it was a long slow drive into Roy Bridge eventually reaching the Roy Bridge Hotel at about 8.30pm. Here we sampled the local 'cuisine' and Friday night highlight that was a game of pool. The cuisine came and was a brick hard cheeseburger, grey fish and a black hair in your peas!! Lovely.... Needless to say we'd arrived here at 8.30pm, had eaten some of the food and left by 9pm. What a laugh.

It was time to head to the bunkhouse - Aite Cruinnichidh - just outside Roybridge. We got there, settled in our bunk-bed room with the two Jean's and met a few new people then decided what we'd be doing the next day. It was decided we'd do Beinn Teallach with a few other group members. Job done. We had a wee chat with folk and headed off to bed.

Next morning i was woken by the rustling of Jean number 1 leaving at about 6.30am to go and climb 3 munros!! Cool. We got up, had breakfast and then all 9 of us headed off to the roadside parking place near Tulloch. It was all snowy and lovely and the bonus was that the sun was out and the sky was the bluest I've seen for a while! We headed off up a nice woodland track that was covered in snow. It was like a winter wonderland. Gorgeous. Crossed an icy cold river that snaked almost black along the field of whiteness (snow). After successfully crossing the river without getting my feet wet it was on up a gentle climb to the edge of a forest and then to start the steeper section. The views were amazing! and the higher we rose the more the landscape changed and to me it became almost lunar, i think..... All i could think was why hadn't i done this long before now. I also find that i tend to stop talking and like listening to the hill banter that gets randomer and randomer as the day goes on.

Sometimes I'm also thinking why am I doing this? If I'm honest I suppose I do tend to get a bit .....well, for want of a better word - miserable when walking. I couldn't understand it at first. For instance when I climbed Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe I totally hit a brick wall mentally twice and wanted to be just picked up and lifted back to the car. Which is funny thinking back now cos it was never gonna happen was it? ha ha. Then when I was up Ben Vorlich recently I found myself thinking the same. The strange thing is it never happened when I climbed Bynack More for Trail magazine article!! I'm not sure at which point of the climb that it starts to set in but I think I have the reason for my general miserableness on the hills all figured out now. It dawned on me that i hadn't realised that hill-walking was a competitive extreme non-team sport!!!! Silly me. It seems the rule is that the more experienced people race away ahead and leave the less experienced (e.g. ME) at the back and that's the point the general miserableness settles in....silly me....for not realising this munro-bagging wasn't an enjoyable outdoor activity but a very serious and dare i say it self-centred activity. Now I'm not saying every one's like that but that has been my experience of some of my SEVEN munros.

I'm not actually that bothered about ticking munros from a list or a map, yeah I'll tick them when I've done them but that is not my ultimate goal. I much prefer to be out and about walking up any hills really. None of this competitive edge to it. I have asked several very experienced people the question do they ever get like that sometimes? and the answer has been mostly that yes everyone feels like that when the climb gets steeper and when it's freezing and raining and you just feel generally down but the glow after you reach the summit seems to be worth it - doesn't it? I've also been told that if you can't talk and walk at the same time then you're going too fast. I wish someone would tell the folk at the front that. It's not teamwork at all. Then, as if you're not feeling bad enough, somehow they always seem to get the conversations going about a person that was going too slow etc etc and that makes you feel sooo bad. I think they forget that they started somewhere too and so do I have to. I mean I wasn't the slowest in the group by any means and actually i think I'm pretty hill-fit now but i don't want to rush on cos i know that on the way back down my knees will ache so much! I don't think people realise how sore the pain is..... Anyway that is my rant about 'competitive munro-bagging' over....

So yeah munro number seven was completed and a group set of for the second one of the day and me, Sharon and Jackie headed back down. We were the sensible ones as the day got colder and the sun was setting at around 4pm we were back at the car. 6 hours - not a bad time at all with the snowy conditions. I got some really great photos and they can be seen at the link below but here's a couple of my favourites from that day...

Back at the bunkhouse we made dinner of pasta, bacon and my mum's spcial recipe cheese sauce. The banter was good and i found it really interesting finding out about what different people had been up to that day. Soem went climbing, some did 3 munros, some had done 4!! and we had done 1 ha ha. It was good. Then to the talk of what to do the next day started and i decided that my knees were too sore to be doing another one so the plan was that Jackie would bring me home and Sharon would go on with some others to do some more munros.

All in all it was a good weekend and i realise what i've missing out on all of this time and i kinda think i'd like to give ice climbing a go but have not a clue about how to begin. I figure if you're doing that then it's slow and steady and people have to work together more as part of a team. I'm sure I'll find out about it all at the OMC but that will be the focus for after the trek. Speaking of which...

...I got my flight details through and it's all becoming so real - eek! Gulf Air flight: London Heathrow to Kathmandu via Bahrain on Thursdy 2nd Aril 2009. The countdown is on....

Well i'm heading off now and i'll leave you with my song of the week:

Greatest Day by Take That - yes people it is a good song!!

take care, be safe,
Ange xx

Halfway to the target...

Friday, 21 November 2008

Yes it's true... I have reached over 50% of my fundraising target - woohoo!!! Of course it's not been all of my own doing, I have had help along the way from various avenues and then there's all of you great people who have taken just 4 minutes to sponsor me online - BIG THANKS!! And to all those who say they will sponsor me, yes... it does only take a few minutes to do the online thing so get on with it!!

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!).

Play safe,
Ange xxx

5th and 6th munros .... Are we human or are we dancer?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Hiya all
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’s been a busy few weeks of late. I’ve hardly had enough time to do anything but it’s all good. I’ve now officially climbed 6 Munros – yay me! Done my 5th and 6th this past weekend. They were Gael Charn and A'Mharconaich up at Drumochter Pass. It started off with an 8am leaving time and rather pleasant drive up the A9 and getting to Balsporran Cottages at around 9.20am. We set off up the track and managed to get lost just a few hundred metres into it. We ended up on the wrong side of the river so backed up and found the proper one. It wasn’t the main track on the map we took but a one the veered off to the left and up the ridge of the hill. It was sooo boggy and I gave up trying to prevent my boots from being caked in mud halfway up. No point really.

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,
Ange xxx

Climbers/Mountaineers - are the brave... or just a bit mad!?!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Ok you may be wondering at the title of this blog. I'll explain...

Went along to my third mountaineering/climbing talk last Thursday. This one was again at the Ochils Mountaineering Club. It was by Kev Shields. In case you don't know who he is, he is a guy who climbs with most of his left hand missing, see these websites for details: and

Anyway when he started the talk i was thinking 'man he's a brave guy! if a little nervous' and as he went on and the talk progressed to the end he got into the flow of it and I realised he's also a bit mad!! - no offence Kev. It was a fantastic talk and his life seemed liked one disapointment after another until he discovered a real passion, i mean a real actual passion and enthusiasm for all things relating to climbing. His enthusiasm was infectious. He had funny little tales of girls dumping him as he spent most of his time stuck to the side of a rock instead of wining and dining them on Valentines Day - a very funny story! He has a prosthetic hand attachment made by the University of Strathclyde Prosthetics Dept which has an ice axe built into it. He said it's a bit limiting in some ways but in others it's as useful as a real hand he said, pretty amazing really.

Now i'm still picking up the climbing lingo but i am assured by a trusted source that him wanting to climb a route called The Hurting in the Cairngorms at an XI/11 is totally mental!!!! But this guy is different (and i'm sure there are some others like him) but this is like Spiderman, James Bond and [insert another superhero name here]. So I ask this question... Mountaineers/Climbers, are they brave or just a bit mad?! I mean you'd have to be wouldn't you?

A few questions were asked at the end of the talk - is his mum still talking to his dad after he built him a climbing wall in the garage? and how would he prepare for The Hurting? He said that he'll have to get into the mindset that the worst could actually happen on this route. Can you imagine that? I couldn't do it but i wish him all the luck in the world in his efforts. He never said when it would actually happen but he will be doing it with Dave MacLeod - i think! Here's an interview of Kev by Dave Macleod.

So yeah if you get the chance to see his talk go along, it was fab.

Next stop Pitlochry on Saturday for a talk called Vertigo by Kenton Cool and Ian Parnell. Looking forward to this one!

Oh yeah nearly forgot. Climbed my 4th munro last Saturday - Ben Vorlich up by Lochearnhead. Did it in good time despite the rotten weather, all in all a good day that was finished by a cup of tea and cream cake in a Callander coffee shop - yum!

catch you later
Ange xx

PS on a totally different note completely, it isn't just me who loves the song from the Barclaycard waterslide advert?? Do you know it? if not here you go ...... enjoy! :-)

Fundraising Thank yous!! - Donations to the QUIZ NIGHT

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Hi everyone
How are you all?
In case some of you didn't know I'm having a QUIZ NIGHT on Thursday 20th November from 6-8pm (well it may run on after this time!). It's taking place in the Common Room at work as quite frankly it's free and close by and well ... despite people trying to persuade me I'm just not one of those types that can go with a brass neck and ask a place to get free hire of a function room in a bar/pub or somewhere. At work i can book rooms myself plus i don't want to be worrying about stuff on the night (although those who know me know i will be!). So it's £5 per ticket (includes entry to the main quiz, soft drinks and nibbles (can't sell alcohol as I'd need a licence). Hopefully people won't find this too much to part with i mean after all it is for charity.

Postering has become my latest adventure sport. It's where you print off posters, trawl the corridors of the Uni 'postering' with 2 mates and get lost in the maze of the A, B, W and X corridors, lol. A good wee jaunt though - eh Sharon and Linda!!!!!! Big face anyone! haha.

Anyway lots of letters have been sent out last week and this to try to get some prizes and raffles. There's been restaurants, cinemas, hotels, beauticians, football clubs, outdoors stores etc etc. So far I've had a few replies and Linda has been extremely helpful in calling in favours and sourcing good prize donations.

A huge thank you to the following companies for kindly giving me prize donations. Very much appreciated. :)
Donations so far:
30 minute Aromatherapy Facial - Beauty by Nina, Stirling
Mobile Car Valet - Shakemashammy
bottle of Bacardi - Mr J McGuire, Cowie
beauty voucher - Elaine at Unique Beauty (Gannochy Sports Centre, University of Stirling)

This is a short post but the donations section will be updated as new ones come in.
Bye for now

Ange xx

If there's a rocket tie me to it...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Hey everyone
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 ( ) 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 and here
Hello to Jonny and Ryan who spotted themselves in my pictures.

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!!
Jings, crivens, help ma boab!

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

take care,

Ange xxx

Wee Jeemy - RIP!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hi all
It is with regreat (but not sadness) that i announce the demise/death of Wee Jeemy (the moose). He died at approx 11.45pm on Tuesday 21st October 2008 whilst trying to eat a bit of Mars Bar from one of the many traps laid around the room. It knocked him clean oot!! and by the time the First Aid (Jimuck) got to him he had gone to meet his maker. Gone but deffo NOT sadly missed. I just hope he didn't have any wee pals over to stay - eeek!!

OK normal service will resume tomorrow with trek talk and no more moose talk. Promise!

Ange xx

Wow ... i'm knackered!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008


I wonder when it was that i had this strange idea that some things in life could be easy? Driving test - no bother; climbing a munro – hard but good; trekking at altitude to Everest base camp – hard but very rewarding; trying to catch a wee mouse about 3 inches long – torture, nightmare, a living hell!!!...

After quite a stressful past few days I sit here blurry-eyed typing in the safe haven of the office. I've just spent my 4th night in a row in my new bed – my Rab sleeping bag on the couch!! Suppose i’d better get used to camping out for when i’m trekking. And although camping out in the living room wasn’t exactly the practice run i had in mind, needs must.

You may be wondering the reason for this mini-adventure. Well it is because of Wee Jeemy – the mouse that has now been camped out in my bedroom for 2 weeks!!!!!! Aaaarrrgghh. All joking aside it’s really starting to get to me, to creep me out even and just when i thought we’d got him, (i.e. no mouse activity) he scuttled about my room last night again at 10 past 12 last night!!! I jumped out the bed and shouted on my dad - lame i know but it's sooo creepy. At first i could only hear him but then i caught sight of him running along the skirting boards and almost jumped out of my skin. My dad proceeded to spend then next hour with a brush trying to coax it out but alas he was too quick and at 1.10am he finally gave up and closed the door.

The next thing to do was to get my clothes and stuff out of the room for work. For this task my mum was called into action. She appears to be much braver than i thought. I sent her in for trousers from the wardrobe he's hiding behind and then i manage to grab a few essentials for the next few days. I fear i will be camped on the couch for another couple of nights.

I know you must be thinking ‘it’s only a wee mouse’, well i thought the same at the start but now it is really starting to get to me not being able to go to the place that was my solace – my bedroom, now i can’t relax there until he’s gone!!!! There are now several traps strategically placed around the floor but alas this one is no ordinary mouse, he’s a fly guy! Even had the cheek to manage to take bits of food from the 2 traps without them going off! Hhhhmmmm. Every hole in the skirting boards and in cupboards have been filled, the window is in the catch, the radiator has been turned off so there’s no heat and the bait has been set so heaven knows how he's getting in and more to the point where was he hiding yesterday after noon when i hoovered the place for the 8th time this week!!! Fingers crossed he will be gone soon and i can hopefully relax and de-camp from the living room. Mouse trapping tips would be greatfully appreciated.

Anyway apart from that i feel like i am hitting a brick wall with the fundraising, training and that. I had 3 intensive physio sessions and ventured out in the hills on Sunday to see if any knee pain came on. The good news is that it took a it longer for the pain to come on, the bad news was that it was still as sore as previously. I am totally gutted at this as the doubts about my trek are starting to appear again. I don't know what I'm going to do now. The physio said there was an improvement in my knee and ankle and i can definitely feel that my thigh is a bit better – although I’m a bit tender and bruised from all of the pummelling! If there is no improvement then I’m afraid it’s a trip to the Doc. Hopefully this time he’ll give me much more than 3 minutes and a prescription for a box of Ibuprofen!

As far as the fundraising goes well... I am getting there, but very slowly. Thanks to those fantastic people at work who have helped me by baking yummy cakes and also to everyone who has sponsored me so far. More funds are needed though – please give generously. When i set out on this journey i thought i had nothing better to do than to ask a few people and write a few letters to various companies but so far i have had no reply, nada, nothing, zilch, zero! Not even to my requests for prizes to raffle off. I wasn’t thinking of anything major like a 2 week break to the Bahamas (aaah wouldn’t that be lovely just now) but just something simple like a voucher for a meal at local restaurants, cinema tickets.... you get the drift. I have had one VERY generous cheque in the mail from a nice man at NISSEI AS Ltd but on this occasion i did have the advantage of him being an associate of one of my uncles which helped. Anyway very soon i will be staked out in my local supermarket (that rhymes with fresco) and will be packing bags for a day so if you are in the vicinity on one of the following days – 8th or 22nd November or 14th December - i’ll pack your bags ... for a price!

All of the above has made my week very challenging indeed. It started off great last Monday too with a nice meal at the MacRobert with Dorothy, Linda and Brigitte. I’ll be getting that pancake again!! Yum.

Tiring, knackered, stressed, fun, laughter, hard work – these are some words to sum up my week that has passed. I hope that the new week dawning will be much better though. If you too have had a tough week i suggest you join me to celebrate the new better week to come by listening to one of my favourite songs: Chocolate – Snow Patrol

Cheers for now
Ange xx

A litte trek taster...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

how is everyone? Yeah you two whom i know reads this! :)
Anyway I was browsing the medium that is the World Wide Web last night (whilst trying not to be too scared from Wee Jeemie) i came across some pretty cool vidoes of treks to Base Camp that people have done. I'm going to try to upload/attach them to this blog but this may turn out to be a disaster. If all else fails go to YouTube, type in Everest Trekking and some videos should appear. OK, here goes ......
It never worked so here's the links: and ......
ok ok so that last one wasn't a trekking video but it's a good song and whilst perusing the site that is YouTube i decided to keep it!

hope you all like
be good
Ange xx

Reaching a target...

Monday, 29 September 2008

Well i have nearly reached a milestone with my fundraising, i now have £998 - only another £2252 to go. I have to admit it is taking longer and is much more harder to raise funds than i thought but it's all part of the challenge i suppose eh! I do have a large family and some have still to sponsor me so I'll be looking forward to that.

I was going to organise some sort of 'event' to raise funds but there's so much legalities to take care of before then so I'm not sure about that idea now. I'd need to be convinced of it. If anyone has any ideas to get my finds going in the upwards direction then let me know. (Although I'm still not sure anyone is actually reading this blog - if you are show yourselves!!!).

Anyway have to rush off as got an appointment with the physio - ouch!, still not a marked improvement with me not being able to run but hopefully it will subside soon.
word of the day - Frustrated
catch you later
Ange xx

Training, Life, Andy Murray and ... Lance Armstrong

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Hey everyone
Not written for a little while, although I'm not quite sure who I'm writing to as I don't even know if anyone actually reads this blog. (If you do, leave me a comment please!).

So the gym is going well. I'm getting back into the 'habit' of it but it's been quite hard and my legs were soooo tired this week but onwards and upwards. The gym for me is a place of strange occurrences. Let me explain. Where else would you see the sight of a young girl who has her designer velour tracksuit, full face make-up and 3 inch long, dangling diamante earrings!! Yeah i know, and there's me with my t-shirt and trackie bottoms on trying to look composed on the cross trainer, sweat running down my brow, iPod full-blast in ears suddenly catching myself and realising the guy on machine next to me may be hearing me breathing away heavily like i don't know what! I look around, take a swig of Highland Spring and try to maintain my breathing at a reasonable rate. Bad move since i have had blocked sinuses for a week. On the other hand you get the body builder types (as i like to call them) too. They waddle in with their pyjama style jogging bottoms on, the obligatory tattoo, tan and, more often than not, shaved (bald) head. Anyway, yeah the gym is a strange place.

But as my week started i was excited about the fact that Andy Murray was in the US Open final against Roger Federer and he even had a chance of winning!! Hey we seem to think we're unbeatable when we get to a final eh. Anyway i settled in with Radio 5 live on Monday night listening to the first set - oh dear! I'd forgotten how good Roger was since his form had ever so slightly dipped in the past few months. There was a bit of a fight back but alas after a good effort Murray never won.

But.... half way through there came BREAKING NEWS: Lance Armstrong has reinstated himself in a dope testing programme and will come out of retirement to race in the 2009 Tour de France. WOO and indeed HOO - big style!! One of my all time heroes will race again - fantastic news! This brightened up my week no end. Can't wait and since one of my regrets was not actually getting to see Le Tour 'live' when he raced before, here is my second opportunity. Those don't come along very often and i think i mentioned in an earlier blog posting I'm taking all opportunities that come my way. So anyone who's interested I'll be making my way by plane, train or automobile to Paris, France in July 2009 - wanna join me??

As ever, be safe
Word of the Day - LIVESTRONG
Ange xxoo

TRAIL magazine, October Issue ... Out Now!! eek

Friday, 29 August 2008

Hey everyone
well the time has come and it's finally out!!! The article about little old me in TRAIL magazine. Go out and buy it now!! If i do say so myself it is a pretty good article (cheers Claire) and the pictures are fantastic (thanks Tom). No seriously it's well smart and I'm well proud of it. If anyone is actually out there reading this and you go out and buy it, let me know what you think?
I was on a communication and supervisory skills course in St Andrews University from Wednesday to today (Friday) and only managed to get hold of a copy yesterday. They didn't have a copy anywhere and me and Brigitte 'trailed' the streets of St Andrews trying to find a place that stocked something more than a Financial Times or a trashy gossip mag! Thankfully good old WH Smith had a huge selection of mags and i stood there in the shop reading (well looking at the pictures really) before heading proudly to the till to buy it. I was dying to open it up at the page and say to the guy serving me 'this is me - look!!' but i resisted.
Anyhoo let me know what you think of it,
word of the day - knackered (and pleased)
Ange xx

Team GB!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

A brief interlude from the trek/training/fundraising talk to take my hat off and bow down to Team GB 2008!

First at the Laoshan Velodrome (because those that know me know that I just love, love, love, the cycling!). What an achievement from the big man himself, Mr (or should that be) 'Sir' Chris Hoy. No but seriously the precedent has been set with Steve Redgrave and Kelly Holmes, surely GB has to mark this achievement? 3 Gold medals at these games! Awesome big guy.

It was bad luck but good effort to Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in the Madison race. They were being watched very closely from the outset. Oh well, Wiggins has already got some pretty shiny medals in his locker and Cav won quite a few stages at this years Tour De France so all was not lost. They will win more, I'm sure of it.

The ladies weren't to be outdone. Victoria Pendleton was strong in the individual sprint. So fast. Gold. Well done. Rebecca Romero: Well considering she only got on a bike (in competition) 2 years ago, this is an awesome feat. Gold. A previous Olympic silver medal winning rower, she certainly has shown the GB athletes over at the Birds Nest stadium what hard work, dedication and a 'what you can do when you put your mind to it' attitude is all about.

Not forgetting the other valuable members of Team GB cycling: Jamie Staff, Ross Edgar, Jason Kenny, Paul Manning, Geraint Thomas, Ed Clancy, Wendy Houvenaghel, Nicole Cook, Emma Pooley, Steven Burke, Chris Newton, Roger Hammond, Ben Swift, Sharon Laws, Jonny Bellis, Steve Cummings plus all the coaching and backroom staff. Sorry if I've missed anyone out.

Still to come in the early hours of tomorrow morning is Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips in the BMX - fingers crossed for you! Then there's the mountain biking with Liam Killeen and Oliver Beckingsale.

Next I have to mention the sailing over at Qingdao. Congratluations to Ben Ainslie on winning his third Olympic Gold medal on the trot. I'm running out of words other than Awesome. Ok, tremendous effort!

Then at the swimming, not as successful as some may have thought but still a great effort by all. Rebecca Addlington with her 2 Gold medals was fantastic and all she wanted was new shoes! - ah a girl after my own heart.

I'm well aware this post could become very long if i were to mention the whole of Team GB, especially for those who are not that into sport. So I won't go into any more details or name the full GB squad but these links give details of Team GB and the medals won - so far!!

I've realised that I'm quite passionate about sport (quite a few different sports too), even if i don't take part in any myself. I think i may have missed the boat on becoming an Olympic athlete but these guys certainly do inspire me and make me even more determined to complete my challenge as best I can.

Some of my memorable Olympic moments so far: The men's 100m sprint final on Saturday was truly a sight to behold. Usain Bolt of Jamaica winning at a jog in a world record time and with his left lace undone!!! It must be great to be sooooo good. Then there's Michael Phelps. Bullied when he was young for having big ears (true story, i heard his mum talk on the radio about it!), and now he's arguably one of the best Olympians - EVER. He's still only 23 too, gee whizz. I do feel sorry for Andy Murray, gets to number 6 in the world and still people keep on criticising him because he never got a medal. What has he to do? Never mind Andy, when you win Wimbledon then they might sit up and take note. The poor wee diver, Tom Daley, i think the pressure got too much for him at only 13, no wonder! Never mind he probably will medal in London. Now this wasn't an event, it was Saturday morning on BBC news 24 and the reporter (she was Scottish too - duh!) was interviewing a guy who trains alongside the mens coxless 4 rowing guys and asked how he thought the 'c*$%less' (you get the drift eh!) 4 would do in the race! It was all he could do to keep a straight face. Ha ha what an dafty she was! I'm sure it will be replayed over again on one of those blooper programmes that seems to be filling the tv schedule more and more these days. Gymnastics - good to watch but the scoring system stinks big time. Sort it out people.

Now Paula Radcliffe ...we were being told a few months ago about how this was her time and then she fractured her leg but still we were kind of assured she'd been doing all this training and she'd be fine. She was going backwards at one point in the marathon and the commentator said that this Olympics wasn't about winning it was about if she could finish or not! now that's not what we were being told a few weeks ago, was it?! Don't get me wrong I actually quite like Paula and think she is an amazing athlete, what I don't like is that the media (sorry but it seems to be the English media) build these people up and make them better than they actually are at the time and then knock them down or make excuses for them when it goes wrong. Remember David Beckham during the World Cup in 1998. He had to flee to America to tour with the Spice Girls as the press were crucifying him and effigies were being burned in the streets. Then a few years later he was the darling of the press (and I'm sure he works hard so he could become this). It just seems like the press build pictures of people into Gods and when it goes wrong they're like well they weren't that good anyway. Give these people a break, take a truthful and objective look at them beforehand and then judge them on what they achieve.

Another thing i don't get is this athletics. Example: track runners - surely they know the times that their fellow competitors are putting in well in advance and know then what they have to aim for and achieve to medal. Obviously, as in every sport, things can happen differently on the day and the best may be disqualified or something so they have to take their chances then. Also, why did the young boxer not make the weight for his fight and then be sent home?? I cannot understand that. Yes, he was taking on extra water because of the heat etc etc but surely the team of coaches, nutritionists and various advisors etc factored that into his regime?!? It's common sense is it not? Or is my thinking too simple and some other things come into play. Not sure but what I think is that it shouldn't have happened. I do have sympathy for the boxers as they are the only Olympic sport that is truly amateur now and their funding isn't as great as the athletics/rowing/swimming etc. Heck the guy Jeffries was selling burgers from a van at Sunderland FC only 2 years ago! Anyway rant over.

Now after all of that i have to say i think London 2012 will be quite exciting for Team GB and we should get behind them all! Here's a question, what do you think of a GB football team? I quite like that idea....

Then ... after that we'll have Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to look forward to. There's still time for a new Chris Hoy to be found and trained by then - hopefully. So take all the Wii's, playstations, Xboxes, PSP's, Gameboys (or is that too old school) Nintendo DS, anyway take all of this nonsense away and get the kids out playing sport, any sport, just get them active and interested and you never know what may happen, a new hero may be being produced as we speak and we just don't know it.

word of the day - PROUD
much love,
Ange xoxo

Kit & answer to the difficult question

Friday, 8 August 2008

Ok something has been bothering me for a little while now and i need to sort it out and clarify it once and for all. I've been asked on a few occasions by a few cynical people what, i think, is a difficult question to answer and then i feel like i have to justify myself and my reasons for doing the trek. The question has been asked in various forms but in a nutshell what they are essentially asking is this... "if 'I' sponsor you, am I paying for you to go on a 'holiday'"? !!!!! ... yes people, tis true, i have been asked this question!
Now, number 1, this is most certainly not a holiday. Yes i will be travelling to and getting to see a culture and country that, if i wasn't doing the trek, then i would probably never think of going to Nepal for a holiday but at the same time i am having to put a great deal of effort and time into training - which i am enjoying by the way. I think if you ask a few folks who have experienced any sort of trek, hill walk or expedition they will tell you how hard this is going to be. At the same time, I also have no doubts that it will be a very rewarding, challenging and exhilarating experience that I will probably never experience again - unless i get the bug! and that's why i decided to take on this challenge. I want to push myself to my limits, live outside my comfort zone, step outside the box, whatever you want to call it i feel it is time i did it. And if i could do it whilst at the same time raising money for a VERY worthy cause then why not?! After all, ask yourself this: What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

Number 2, yes some of the sponsorship money does go towards the costs of the trek but bear in mind i have already paid over £500 as a registration fee and insurance, i will need to get a Visa (around £60), pay local airport tax when i leave (around £25), have vaccinations before i go (goodness knows how much that will cost) and then have the task of trying to arrange/think up different ways to fund raise, which i can tell you also comes with quite a bit of pressure.

So to clarify, for those who feel the need to ask me 'that' question: I have to raise a minimum sponsorship amount of £3250. All of the money goes to the charity (Marie Curie Cancer Care) and from that they pay the balance of the trek costs (not more than 45% of the minimum sponsorship amount) = £1462.50 This means that the charity are guaranteed to get at least £1787.50 and hopefully much more if I exceed my target.

And last but not least number 3. This trip requires me to have some specialist equipment. I mean i can't very well go trekking in my wee Adidas trainers and a pair of jeans! I have been buying some 'kit' each month since i got my back-pay and pay rise and have accumulated some pretty decent stuff. You've already seen the sleeping bag in a previous post but here are a few more pieces of kit i have purchased. 1 x Osprey Talon 33 lightweight daysack; 1 x Thermarest Prolite 4 Regular self inflating mat; 1 x pair of Berghaus Goretex Paclite Waterproof Trousers; 1 x pair Scarpa Goretex trekking boots; 1 x North Face Goretex lightweight waterproof jacket; 1 x 1l Sigg water bottle; 1 x Silva compass; 2 x North Face base layer tops - short & long sleeved (although one is now 3/4 sleeved as my mum ironed it!!!! - aaargh); 1 x Moleskine large notebook (to record my journey and thoughts whilst on the trek); 1 x Mountain Hardwear waterproof trousers; 1 x pair Mountain Hardwear gaiters; 1 x pair gloves and 1 x North Face toiletry bag.

For those in the know you will know how much this little lot has cost me and there's still more to buy including my main kit bag - a Large North Face Duffel Bag. Can anyone get me a discount at a reputable shop??? Please!!!

Anyway glad i got that sorted. Had to get it all out there. I'm glad to say i have been reassured by friends that what i'm doing is a good thing. Thank you friends.
Peace out, Ange xx

Training update and TRAIL magazine

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Sorry, I've not been updating this recently, truth is I've been told not to go walking until my leg is better (by the physio). So I've been given 14 different exercises to do and a tennis ball! to try to loosen the IT band. Sounds complicated i know.

Anyway got a text last night and it was Linda. She'd sent me a picture message asking 'Who is this'! and here it was............ me Trail magazine!!!! aaaaahhhhh. Now granted, it isn't the full article - that;s out next month, but it's a teaser page near the back of the mag giving details of what's in the next exciting issue of Trail.

Well you never seen anything like me!! I quickly made dinner (whilst the rain absolutely bucketed down and the thunder cracked overhead) and thought of a plan to go and buy my copy. I set off to Tesco and excitedly drove into the car park only to be met by two fire engines and a guy saying 'we're shut'! So i about turned and drove along the road to Sainsbury's. Guess what.... yep, signs on the door saying they were shut too!!! What's going on? Then i heard a guy telling someone else they had flooded - must have been that heavy rain shower and thunder storm. So I'll go to Morrison's, drove down, parked the car and headed to the magazine section. What!!!??? No Trail magazine!!!!! They've got Caravanning mags, lads mags, kiddies mags, auto trader, Radio Times and several trashy gossip mags (that we all read) ... but ... NO TRAIL MAGAZINE. There was only one thing for it. Yep i drove all the way to Alloa 24hr Tesco to get my very own copy of Trail. There i was standing in the isle, looking around to see if anyone was looking, flicking through the pages and there i was! 4 pages from the end and you can't even see my face! ha ha thank goodness. So if you're reading this set the date 26th August 2008 aside and go out and buy Trail magazine October issue. I told them I'd try to get sales boosted for that month ha ha.

Catch you all later
take care
Ange xxx

PS big thanks to folks ho have sponsored me since the last time. 18% of my target met already - thank you!!! x

Glencoe! ... and training update

Monday, 14 July 2008

Hey everyone
well ... now walked/slogged/trudged up in Glencoe (Bidean nam bian + 2 more) courtesy of DASS again!! Man that was a hard days slog, harder than anything I've done before. Those little niggling doubts started to creep in again but were soon washed away when (again) i turned around and seen what i had just done. I'll never forget the carpark that was always in my sights but just never seemed to get any closer. Here's a few snapshots:

Now for a training update: well been to the gym a few times, and a couple of walks. Went to a new physio tonight and he is confident I'll be trekking with a non-dodgy left knee which is good news. He's got me on a rehab programme with a few stretching exercises using a tennis ball! (don't ask!) and a big elastic band thing. I'm so glad that finally this problem has been taken seriously and someone can help!!

Next step - another jaunt up Dumyat tomorrow evening with Sharon. Looking forward to it.

Take care

Ange x

Fundraising event #1 - cake sale!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Event 1 down - loads more to go!

In the end I raised £91 from the sale of cakes! Good effort indeed i thought. Thanks to Linda, Susan and Brigid for contributing their tasty treats, time and effort - cheers guys.

Sold to colleagues from work were 'Rocky Road to Base Camp' Mars bar cakes, Coconut 'Khumbu Glaciers and Boulders', 'Khumbu Cough' chocolate drops, Iced 'Everest' cakes - that turned out a bit disastrous so were sold at cut price - bargains! hee hee. (Are you guessing the theme I was going for??) There were also banana muffins, marshmallow and jam tarts, white choc & almond cookies, home made tablet and more!!! It went down well with those sweet-toothed colleagues we have. Thanks to all who bought, contributed and donated far more than they ate.

So Event 2 will be starting to get planned soon. Please let me know if you have any ideas, i need to et that total going up, i'm at 12% so far and am quite pleased with that as i only started just over a month ago. Anyway, let me know of any good fundraising event ideas!!!!!!

As ever, stay safe

best wishes
Ange x