Tag Archives: walk

Muddy walk

Today the weather was lovely so we got out and about, at lunchtime we made our way over to Bridge of Allan and then did this walk from BoA to Dunblane (well, I say we did that walk, we got a bit confused at the beginning, so the first bit of our walk featured a bit more local housing and a bit less riverbank than intended; we managed to find our way eventually and rejoined it about half way through the second paragraph where it talks about the path dropping down through a leafy gully and a second bridge over a tributary). It was a lovely (though very muddy) walk – not too onerous, but enough to make us sweat a bit without being miserable! (I am such a fair weather walker). I am stiff as a board now though!

Here are some pictures from the walk:

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The cave is thought to be the inspiration for Ben Gunn’s cave in “Treasure Island” – the author Robert Louis Stevenson was a local, and apparently spent lots of time here as a boy. The church is Dunblane Cathedral.

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Inside the Cathedral was this ancient carved cross; also very movingly was this tribute to those who died in the shootings in Dunblane Primary School in 1996:

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For those of you who were amused by my account on facebook this morning of HD’s preferred activity for the day, this was taken at the end of the walk. Here he is on the bridge at Stirling Station, taking pictures of the signals:


There’s a few more (and you can see them all a decent size) in the flickr set.

2011 Project365 (days232-234)

22nd August:

22nd August 2011

This is a close up of a carved wooden box. No reason, I just liked it 🙂

21st August:

21st August 2011

We were in York for our friend’s birthday this weekend, this is more beauty from his garden (the red flower from about a month ago is from the same garden. I have serious garden envy every time I stay there).

20th August:

20th August 2011

As part of our weekend we went on a walk with friends on the Yorkshire coast, from the Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve (where we saw lots of gannets on the cliffs) through to Flamborough Head cliffs. It was a lovely walk, and unlike most of our friend’s birthday walks not that hilly (always a plus!). There were millions of ladybirds around, but also millions of wasps. It was a beautiful walk, I really liked the scenery which was very distinctive. We even had good weather 🙂

A week of stuff

I haven’t blogged for a week, which has been due to a combination of being too busy doing interesting things or having large chunks of boringness when there’s been nothing to write about. Anyway, things worth telling you about:

* weekend in York. Our best man had his annual birthday walk (his walk 3 years ago was our second date). This year (unlike last year) we didn’t get drenched, so that was good. We started at a village, the name of which I have forgotten (West something-beginning-with-T), and walked about 7 miles mostly along a river through fields and woods, to another village called Masham which has famous breweries (Theakstons, Black Sheep). We had a meal at a hotel next to the Black Sheep brewery when we finished the walk, and I made the mistake of ordering Guinness (my usual beer of choice) instead of something made by Theakstons. I sent the first one back as I thought they’d given me a pint of Coke by mistake as it had no head, and the second one only had about a millimetre of head which had disappeared after a couple of sips, and it didn’t taste as good as usual. I think they were having an off day. Anyway, the walk was good, we got to see lots of friends, and our best man and his wife recently bought a new house with a lovely garden so we got to nose at that too. A lovely weekend.

* interviews. HD has had a couple down south this week and last, we’re still waiting to hear. He thinks one went well, the other not so. Everything is being thoroughly crossed, as it’s getting a bit crucial that we get something soon as I’m about to get my final pay packet from the university. I have an interview lined up at the end of the month for a health visiting job here which I’m not desperate to do but if there’s nothing else going I’m glad I can fall back on it. Still waiting to hear from the part-time jobs I applied for, which I’d prefer if HD gets a job down south as it means I could still be around here a couple of days a week which will be helpful for seeing supervisors/going to the library/sorting out the flat/etc.

* shipmeet. Actually it was also a mini-wibmeet, as 4 of the 10 people who met last night at Ad Lib were also wibloggers. Smudgie and Smudgelet are up for a visit this week, so we had a meal in the evening – unfortunately due to thesis commitments I couldn’t share in their afternoon adventure. It was good to see Smudgie, and also fellow bloggers Surfing and Tractor Girl, and to see some familiar and unfamiliar shippies as well. I was particularly impressed with my pudding – I had a chocolate brownie (which was really really something else, it was gorgeous), but I figured that as it had a strawberry on my plate *and* I declined the accompanying ice-cream, that meant that it was virtually calorie-neutral.

* thesis. Argh. If I could just get my current chapter out of the way then I could get on with something fun (I always think that when I’m at this point in a chapter). Hopefully it will be finished by the end of the week, but only if I step up the drama queen histrionics act. One good thing is that due to the worrying about jobs and money, I really am not remotely fussed about the uncertainty about my thesis extension. I’ve got more important things to worry about.

That is all, I think.

Another excursion

At the weekend HD and I went on a little jaunt to the Highlands. We started off with lunch at Fort William before heading off for Ben Nevis, the original plan being that he would walk up it and I would sit in the bar at the bottom and do lots of work (that I had brought with me). About 20 minutes after dropping him off at the bottom of the mountain however he phoned to say that he didn’t seem to have his walking legs with him, so he made his way to the bar and after a quick rest we decided to head back to Glen Coe to have a more gentle explore around somewhere a bit less strenuous. So we went to the Visitors’ Centre at Glen Coe and did a very gentle and short walk round there, and then decided to go to Oban. Neither of us had been there before, and had no idea what it was like, but it turned out to be rather pretty. HD thought as we walked into town from the car park that it reminded him a bit of Whitby, and once we got to the harbour I thought it reminded me a bit of Stornoway. We took a walk up to McCaig’s tower, where there are fabulous views over the town and across to the island of Kerrera (and beyond that to the mountains of the Isle of Mull). What a sweet place, I liked it a lot. Photos are here.


The sky was still blue today, so we went out for a walk. After a pub lunch we went to the nearby Sundon Hills Country Park, and had a gentle walk. Here are my pics:


When we got back to the car the thermometer was reading 23 degrees (in light/dappled shade). 23 DEGREES?!?!!! It’s barely been 23 degrees all summer!

Weekend drenchings and Beautiful Things, and Smudgie’s Revenge

This past weekend saw us in York for the annual birthday walk of our best man. Our second date was his birthday walk a couple of years ago. This year was a shorter walk, with a last-minute change of location due to the weather forecast (the place where the picnic was planned was forecast to have 23mm of rain in 9 hours, which doesn’t sound like ideal picnic weather to me!). We did about 5.5-6 miles on the Wolds Way in North Yorkshire, and very nice it was too. The first couple of hours were more or less dry-ish, but the final hour it chucked it down with rain, so despite all being kitted out in waterproofs we all got drenched. Here are some pictures (the last one isn’t black & white, by the way!):


We decamped back to York to have the picnic in the church, which frankly was much more civilised, though as I had only got my cheap non-breathable cagoul in the walk it was as wet inside the coat as outside it, so I was very aware that I didn’t smell very civilised! Apologies to anyone who was there who was too polite to say anything.

After the picnic HD and I had a wander round the shops before heading back to R’s house where we freshened up and prepared for the evening invasion. Some of the walk people, and some other friends who hadn’t been able to walk earlier, pitched up for food and an attempt to reduce R’s collection of random obscure spirits (many of them from eastern Europe, the quality of many of which can be imagined). HD and I and a few others very much got into the spirit of the activity, with a number of simultaneous knockings-back of spirits followed by a collective verdict (which was generally gauged by the extent to which our faces screwed up after swallowing!). For most of us, the worst one – which elicited the most dramatic reaction – was a Latvian offering which included the word ‘balsam’ in its name. Frankly it should have been named ‘creosote’, because that’s what it smelt like – it was revolting! Though rather alarmingly HD didn’t think it was that bad (it reminded me of the wine-tasting a couple of years ago where he rather liked the wine that the rest of us declared reminded us of old ladies’ wee). The other notable one was a Hungarian spirit, in a bottle shaped like a hand-grenade, called Zwack. Even HD didn’t like that one (I think Balsam was worse, but it was a close-run thing!).

Before you think we spent the evening drinking hideous cheap nasty eastern European engine oil, I should add that I spent most of it knocking back some utterly wonderful home-brew sloe gin. I could have drank that all night (to paraphrase Eliza Doolittle). Actually, that probably doesn’t improve the overall impression, does it?

Yesterday morning HD and I drove up to Penrith, where we went to the rather fabulous Potfest in the Pens. HD collects ceramics, and I have picked up a few nice bits and bobs of ceramics over the years too, and so we were both pretty much in heaven. A huge room (I’m guessing from the floor and the ambient smell that it was for many years a livestock market) full of lots and lots of Beautiful Things. It was gorgeous. We spent a couple of hours looking at every stall, then after lunch we went back to make our purchases. When we’d first got there, the very first stall we’d seen in the main hall had a beautiful ceramic lizard which I’d really liked, but I’d thought I’d better not buy something till I’d seen it all. Once I’d gone round the whole thing I still really really wanted it, so after lunch we went back and as we got to the stall I just managed to see the artist removing the lizard from the wall and selling it to someone else. It was almost one of those slow-motion film-like moments, with me leaping towards the stall with a silent “Noooooooooooo!!!” on my lips. Fortunately he said that he had a couple of others in the car so told me to come back in a few minutes, so we went on our way to look for some presents for various family members who have birthdays coming up. When I got back there he had indeed got the lizard from the car, and then I discovered that he didn’t take visa and I didn’t have enough cash! Argh! So I had to phone HD (who was at a stall on the opposite side of the hall) and ask him to lend me a tenner, which was a bit embarrassing. But I have my Beautiful lizard now (definitely worth a capital B), so will just have to think of the best place to put it. It really is Very Beautiful Indeed.

After that I got the train back to Glasgow, and HD headed back down south. I was looking forward to a quiet evening after the weekend’s adventures, but sadly that couldn’t happen as there were horrors lurking behind the bathroom door. In the bath to be precise. Regular readers may remember my adventure last year with Smudgie the Spider – read about it here, here and here. Yesterday’s 8-legged monstrosity was the same size as Smudgie, though was a lot easier to get to as it was in the bath rather than lurking down the crack at the back of the toilet or on the (very high) ceiling. However, the battery in the spider-hoover-upper was a bit wheezy (understatement), so I had to be Incredibly Brave and cover the beastie with a cereal bowl (a BOWL! I wasn’t sure the mugs would have a big enough diameter!). Like last time, this wasn’t just a quick chucking out of the door into the corridor – once again, there was a ceremonial chucking onto the street, where it scuttled off without so much as a by your leave (thankfully!).

I had to have a bit of a lie down after that, I can tell you!

More culture, plus other random wibblings

Yesterday I did more culture – I can’t wait to get my computer back so I can actually link to some of these fantastic places. This time I went to the World Heritage Site of New Lanark, which was a village built by a mill owner in the 19th century who was way ahead of his time in terms of abolishing child labour, encouraging education and community involvement etc. The village, as well as being a tourist site, is still lived in (though I must admit I wouldn’t fancy living there during summer when all the tourists are around gawping into your living room window!), and is beautifully kept. It’s situated in a valley, and the main thing that we did was walk along the Clyde Falls path – the walk takes in 4 waterfalls, which often are little more than a trickle as they get rerouted to provide power for the nearby hydroelectric plant, but yesterday for some reason were well and truly performing for us! No doubt they were swelled by the heavy rain we had earlier in the week. A beautiful place, a fair bit of uphill but not Serious Heavy Duty Walking (I don’t do that if I can help it!), and somewhere I may well return with my sketchbook some time. I’m not very good at drawing water, but there were plenty of viewpoints and seats along the way so lots of places where I could get some practice. There was also a long winding decked walkway along part of the river which for some reason reminded me of the Yellow Brick Road, I kept wanting to start singing “We’re off to see the wizard”, but spared my companions the embarrassment!

A friend from London (who’s now in Bath – see my visit to her in June’s blog) is in Glasgow for a couple of days this week working at a conference, but despite lots of emails we’ve sadly come to the conclusion that our diaries just will not co-operate and co-ordinate. So that’s a bit frustrating, I would have loved to see her, but her only free evening is when my Romanian class is, and seeing as I am the class I suspect my absence would be noted! Oh well, I’ve just insisted that when I move into the flat she will have to come and see me, so we can catch up properly and so she can explore a bit of the city, rather than just explore the inside of her hotel, which looks like Stalag 17 from its picture on the website.

This morning I branched out and went to the local Episcopal church. I needed a liturgy fix! It was lovely to be somewhere which felt familiar (a lot of the liturgy we used was very similar to the CofE one I’m used to) even though I’d never been there before. I haven’t a clue what the sermon was about though – I was glad I wasn’t Mystery Worshipping the service, as I’d never have been able to summarise the “In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?” question.

I’ve been feeling a bit rootless again, though I’m sure that will be better when I get into the flat and have my own stuff round me again. Also, a few people I know have either been getting together with people or splitting up from them, and although I’m appropriately either happy or sad for them, both of these things are pushing a few buttons which are still more painful than I like to admit. I really want to go on retreat, so I have some time to explore these issues – relationships, home, roots and uprootedness, all that sort of thing, and where God might be in the midst of it all – but much as I’d like to get away as soon as I can, and before I actually move, I’m teaching every day till mid-December so I think I’ll have to leave it till the Christmas holidays so that I can actually get a good few days away. A rushed weekend would be a wasted opportunity I think.

And now I’m procrastinating. I really need to go through my tutorial material (even though this week it’s just the introductory one with all the various housekeeping requirements) as well as reading for both Russian and Romanian. I’m putting it off as long as I can, but I’m running out of things to do. There’s nothing for it – I may have to tackle the ironing.