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Sunday, 9 August 2015

MOKrun and Macriahanish - BH weekend May 2015

This is traditionally the weekend where we go to Mac with the intention of surfing and traditionally, get no surf! Not trashy, or dumpy, but none (!). This year was a bit different as Dave and I entered the MOKrun half marathon which, it turns out, is very popular and having done it I can see why! 

I elected to stay in my nice comfy bed on Friday night, and drove up Saturday arriving just as the guys got off of the water to tell me there was small clean surf on Friday and up to 6ft clean sets that morning. Raging, and laughing too but hey ho, I was saving myself for the race. Went for a swim in the sea without a wetsuit in as an ice bath before the race, and gave myself hypothermia symptoms and had to spend best part of an hour in the shower...! oops. That night everyone went out and I elected to sit in a warm caravan watching that new pixar film called Home, hilarious, and besides a small disaster with Skye the dog, it was an altogether nice evening where i got to cook dinner and stretch my legs inside in the warm. I trotted off to bed a bit late about midnight. God i love my down sleeping bag. 6am, porridge, 7-830am more sleep, nervous and stretching for 845, 930 am Dave, Heather and I piled in the van to get to the start of the was BALTIC! The weather was drizzly and windy as hell which wasn't ideal but a few pee stops later and we were off on the run. It was mad, and far from flat! Perhaps thats meant to be flat in Scotland? The route was awesome though, undulating roads, across a field, down the beach, back across the fields and a fast road section back to Campbeltown. Managed to keep a lot of the runners off of my back and I overtook white a few which I wasn't expecting!

Ended up coming in in 68th out of 265 runners which I was well pleased about, and a time of 1h 44m 58s.....sub 1hour 45 minutes! YAS! So thrilled. If i hadn't of been injured and it had been ideal conditions, then perhaps I could do it better! Roll on next year?! 

Spent the rest of the day huddling in Dave's caravan for warmth and the constant supply of tea and beer which heather obliged me with...she's my hero. Beers and bed. Next morning a short paddle on the waves saw me back on the water for the first time since my shoulder, and it was pretttttty sore but ok. Heres hoping :)

There are some other photos here from Jon McFadyen Photography of the event which although not specific to me or people i know, show the course in nice shots :)

Will be entering next year I think! 


Kingy weekend with Snowboarding - Apr 2015

Weekend with the Powells getting smashed in the back of the car and in the Kings house with Teri's first day out skiing on the Saturday, and my first day back boarding again which was weirdly good and then, i went back on my own on the Sunday and proceeded to drop by bloody snowboard off of the lift and the guy had to walk all the way down to go get it.....oops. Fail. It did mean a very short day on the hill but conditions were hellish by the end and I was well ready to get off and back to Glasgow for a warm bed and a cuppa. Met some ACE snowboarders though from Newcastle, they reckon they're up at Braehead a bit so I'm hoping to catch them there at some point, we sat and had a natter before we all headed off and they sounded great fun so looking forward to bumping into them! 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Another broken shoulder...21/03/2015

So here I am again then. Just as I thought I was on the home straight...out the shoulder popped again. 1st July 2012 and now on the 21st March 2015. It had been almost three years ago. This time I was slap bang into what was turning out to be an epic weekend with Dave...Friday night at SUCC film night in which we won a prize for best photograph winning a £100 prize which I was pretty stoked about, followed by a day walking in Glencoe, taking in Stob Coire nan Lochan, Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach with a really sketch descent off of the Bein Fhada ridge...! Down climbing the icy snow slopes as the usual descent paths were corniced to hell... Followed by dinner at the Claichaig and a pint at the Kings house. 

A long lie in the following morning saw conditions not great, so we elected to go see if the Falls of Lora were running with a backup plan to do a munro in Appin nearby if it wasn't. Turned out that the whole world had turned out to the Falls, with the cut 'n' shut duo there for some carnage. It was a bit of a monster tide, and I spent the entire day going in and trying to surf the waves and getting a serious beating, one of which I swam out of after two involuntary breaths of salt water, came up coughing it up and was pulled out by Dave and everyone! The last run of the day from the top, I caught the infamous forever wave for the first time and I was stoked about it, came off of the back got through all the munchy holes and surfed the easiest bit backwards apparently...then came to the smaller eddy line whirlpools and me and I think a guy called Angus (?), got caught in it together and between the paddles swirling, I raised mine up to avoid his and clanged mid air. I think it was that impact that did it, no more force than the average high 5 must have sent a shock into my shoulder at exactly the right moment, then I went into the water and bailed immediately as I knew instantly that something was seriously wrong. I debated whether it was fully out for a moment, but there was no chance of a roll and I was dragged out by the duo and several other folk who were there. There was a guy called Graeme I think, who is a doctor at Fort Bill and he was great, and examined the damage passing comment that I was 'very tolerant of it all' which was a compliment of sorts!? The pain wasn't too bad it was the humiliation and knowing thats the next years boating (at least) down the pan that really hurt. Id go through the pain again tomorrow if it meant I could be back on it for the alps but I know thats not realistic.

So onward and upward I go, back to the physio, back into the arguments with doctors etc that I need an MRI and that I want referral to a specialist and all the rest of it. Not looking forward to that - been looking into private treatment already. Although, work are being fantastic about it, letting me take the time I need to get back on my feet. Was walking around Glasgow today and Monday, still in a lot of pain but I'm just trying to keep my chin up this time, as once again the ground is ripped out from under me just as I thought everything was doing fine!

However, I'm still walking, talking and I have my health other than that so lots to be thankful for, lots of my friends and family are there for me and thank goodness they are, i don't know where id be without them! Special thanks to Dave - thank you for pulling me out of yet another river with a broken shoulder, its a crappy job driving me to the hospital, this is the 3rd time if we include the split lip from wet west last year! Thank you so much. I hope that someday I can think of some way to repay you a little!!

The snaps are from the hill day we had on Saturday up in Glencoe...was such an epic weekend...apart from the obvious!

The walk in via Coire Lochan
Ascending to the E ridge of Stob Coire nan Lochan
Crampons + helmet + axes + aviators and vest = good look!

Looking W from Stob Coire nan Lochan out to Mull - gorgeous

Bidean nam Bian and our ugly mugs!

Sunset in Glencoe from the valley

Photo: Dave Martin. OOUUCCHH

SUCC Film Night and Uganda 2013 video

This is a video for the SUCC Film Night that I made back in Feb/March this year which shows my trip to Uganda, a whole month of solid boating, I got to paddle with some of the best paddlers on the planet from all over, I worked so hard at it I felt like Arnie when I got back. It was two weeks of coaching with Kayak the Nile based between the Hairy lemon and the NRE camp in Bujagali, followed by 2 weeks with Dave and Mark over xmas and new year. It. Was. Incredible. The whole experience, the place, the people, the kayaking. Everything about that place changed the way I look out on the world, its such a different life out there and I'm dying to get back out asap.... but between me and my various medical dramas it could be a while unfortunately. Ahhhhh. In any case, its a few minutes of the best bits so have a look and enjoy...

Uganda 2013 from Rachel Dance on Vimeo.

We also managed to win the photo competition with this photo of Strathclyde University's paddler Louise Mansion (the woman, the legend) at NSR in the beginners category having a huge carp before another comedy hero swim at inlet bagging the points for the club...hero!



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

No gear required!! 15/3/2015

Today we went for a tramp up Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a 'Chochiull. Perfect test run for Daves new shiny manta's he got yesterday afternoon last minute before the place closed....we were at the club's ceilidh on Friday night and a very tender hangover ensued on Saturday morning after heading to Glasgows Propaganda night at the O2 ABC! Sunday morning up we got all keen for a good day out - it was glorious weather, great conditions, almost naff all wind, sunny, excellent visibility. As we got further and further in we realised that we could have done the entire day in no winter gear whatsoever...B2 boots? Not required. Crampons? Not required. Axes? DEFINITELY not required! So we took our kit for a glorious walk in the sunshine for a giggle! Today is also mothers day, so also, happy mothers day to all the lovely women in my life who make the family what it is :) I hope that you all had a wonderful day, of course, to my mumsie especialy :P ! XX
Dammit these boots will see snow today! 
Lots of the white stuff, totally avoidable though!
Looking out to the Cruachan range
Summit Selfie!
Happy mothers day mum!
Just to make the watch read 1000m! 
Highland Coo and wee highland coo...cant help it!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Monster catch up post!

Catch up time.

Well first off, ive been utterly crappy at blogging for well over a year now, and im hoping that I can get back on it. Not sure that anybody reads this but me, but i enjoy it nonetheless. A bit like a journal to just look back on an reminisce. 

The last post here was April 2013, and in that last year and a bit now, its been a hell of a ride! Starting where I left off from April 2013, I went on my first two trips to the alps, one in early May time to partake on Mr Laurent's early season Slovenia paddling trip (but we made a whole two weeks out of it taking in Italy, Switzerland and Austria as well), another in the July time with York University Canoe club, covering France and Austria and a day in Switzerland. Each of these were incredible in their own ways, I was a bit too broken to partake in all of the harder rivers, specially the second trip as I properly gave my shoulder a twang and nearly didnt even go! The first trip was a smallish one with Rich, Mike and me heading out together and me feeling like I was going to my death. It was a fun two weeks, I'd not met Mike before but it was lucky that we got on so well :) Rich went off to meet Teresa in Venice so we stole the car and went to see Dave, Mark, Rush and Ben in Italy for a couple of days before heading to get Rich and go home via Switzerland, almost missing the ferry and getting ridiculously drunk on it after we made it in the nick of time! The second trip was the YUCC trip, and it was a bit of a stress at points, with Dave famously not stopping the car for hours even though Alec, Katie and I were dying for a pee and we didn't have any food that day hardly at all...then I threatened to stab Dave in the eye with a Mars bar to make him cheer up and pull over, at which point we all burst out laughing, and nearly burst our bladders too. Pretty funny. We paddled France, Austria and a day in Switzerland. It was great, and I can't wait to go back when I'm less broken this year! We also went for the obligatory week surfing in Cornwall with Clan Fawcett and the Lochwinnoch guys, which was awesome. Then perhaps in the August time, I applied for a job as a postdoc as a great opportunity arose to do laser stuff, in Glasgow which was amazing for me, as I'm able to live in Scotland with the highlands accessible, live with Dave which was lined up to be great fun and then get transported home to RAL to do experiments and see my! So I took the job and frantically sat down and started writing my thesis!! So in December, I moved all my stuff to Glasgow to essentially be moved in with Dave (!) got myself really drunk at the SUCC xmas dinner that day and then flew out to Uganda the following morning!! It was mental! I'm sure ill write about that trip separately. So all in all, a year full of trips and exciting things and to me, life didn't get much better than that. I was buzzing off of the feeling that id done a lot of constructive stuff, even though I had taken 9 weeks out of uni (!) to do it all, but to me the having a good time part of life is far more important.

That brought me right up to new year, i flew back into the UK on the 6th January after a truly epic month away, it had its ups and downs and there are a few things that I would change given the chance to do it again but it was definitely one of the best trips of my life :) After that, 2014 was just, well,.....just a bit shit I'm sad to say! In theory, it was great, I wrote up my thesis which was single handedly one of the hardest, most tiring and personally one of the most testing things I've ever done, but I did it and then with a few weeks overlap - went off to Strathclyde to begin the job i'd taken the previous year. I joined the Strath guys in the middle of an experiment and it was a great laugh, within a few days i'd been a bit tipsy in the rec soc and had celebratory beers with the team twice and it was pretty fun. Moving to Glasgow was a strange experience - a new office, new work, new place to live, new person to live with, new environment, new friends, .... new everything.
Moving in with Dave, getting used to a new job and remembering the things that miss and realising that it was going to be a far more bumpy road than I had hoped...but I made it there and proved to myself that it could be done. PhD handed in, job in hand - in theory it was the best time! 

Summer rolled in and we managed to get through several munros, about 30 in total i think starting at easter time, and finishing when I went away in late autumn early winter so a reasonable few i think ... not half as many as I would have liked but you know, I do have to work for a living!
In July I had an experiment on the Gemini laser facility as a kind of cross over between the old and new universities, but it was a very testing run! It was great for me though, so many groups and such a good experience and I came away thoroughly broken and tired but proud given the circumstances of what we did achieve! Almost straight away after that I was whisked away to Germany for a few weeks to work at the GSI laser facility, and then almost immediately after that, was back to Rutherford again for another TAP run for 6 weeks, running right up to the lab closing in mid-late it flew by. An entire year went by so fast that I never really caught my breath! It was a whirlwind of new things in life and a bunch of testing experiences with work and a whole heap of personal stuff too, things you learn about yourself and others when you make a new start.
Gardens in Darmstadt I think!

Heidelberg - such a good day! We miss you David!
Walk in the woods probably post-beer! Point 5 eV!
Tour of GSI - such a huge place, PHELIX seems a tiny!
 The new year 2015. Man I was glad to see this one in. It sounds all doom and gloom but I do think that occasionally, you'll have an absolute clanger for a bit of time, and then things get better - 2014 was my clanger and I'm hoping that it doesn't last into this year :)
Spending Christmas 2014 at home after being away the previous year was absolutely magic, and then boxing day at Rog's and a day out clay shooting with him before heading back up the road was really special for me.
Nan and Me 2014 - matching jumpers!
Nan and the grown ups in xmas jumper style!
It reminded me of how much I value everyone back home even if I dont get to see them much at all. Like when I was a kid, mince pies were magic, mulled wine was a real treat and being at home cuddled up in the warm with the christmas tree lights on was really humbling...and i only missed it for one year! Im pretty sad but I do love a good Christmas :) and even better when its followed by a family do for those we didn't see on xmas day on boxing day where we get even more fat and drink even more wine! 

So that brings us right up to the new year then, there is a lot of stuff there and much has been missed out due to my lack of blogging over that time but honestly, I've just not been very motivated to. I felt a bit saturated with social media - constant Facebook updates from everyone reminding me just how boring I really am (!) and so I just kinda, switched off for a while I think. Im not particularly fanatic of the whole thing, but I have to say that I do enjoy having a nice record of fun times to look back on and smile about, even if it is a bit of effort! to keep it up. Any who, must endeavour to keep writing little things on here :) 

Monday, 7 April 2014

'Be the change you want to see in the world'

What would you do if you could do anything? ... watch this little gem....

For now I choose half and half, enough of the stuff that I need to do, to sustain the things I want to do - so for those who know me, and still wonder why id rather drive hundreds of miles just to go get freezing cold on a river, or out in the hills in my own time then keep listening. I shouldnt think ill ever be able to completely stop doing things I dont want to do, but, there are some pretty awesome things to do in this world, so get on it as much as humanly possible. Thats my plan, and I like it so far :) Whats yours?

This YouTube channel is all about a guy called Alan Watts, a british philosopher, touched a bit of a nerve with me today, after my epic week or so away in Scotland, and all the fantastic things I got to do in 2012. Roll on 2013.

'Be the change you want to see in the world'

Go Ghandi. Right on.