21 Nov 2011

John Muir Trust Big Give Christmas Challenge

Is there anything more exciting than a half packed rucksack nearly ready for the weekend? I think not. I am off to the Brecon Beacons on Saturday.

More importantly if you donate to the JMT between 5th and 9th of December your donation will be doubled. Ideal if you don't know what (else) to get me for Christmas.


Details of how it works and where the money comes from are here.

9 Nov 2011

Tay Descent 2011

Phase 1 Training
Louis and I arrived at Loch Lomond for our training paddle after a very early start from the South coast. We met up with Michael and Graham who provided extra gear and most importantly the boat. Before undertaking an event like the Tay Descent (23 mile course) you should always put together a training plan. Half an hour later training complete and it was down to Corries for 4 full Scottish breakfasts. It was great to meet up with them  again.

Phase 2 Acclimatisation
The next phase on the way up to Perth was a stop at the fine Glengoyne distillery for a tour and tasting. After a bit of head scratching souvenirs of the trip were purchased (we both went for the 12 year old single malt). We met up with Michael again at registration and headed up to Grantully.

Phase 3 Base camp
The SCA campsite in Grantully proved to be a perfect base for us. Simple facilities, sheltered pitches and friendly residents. As is traditional the orange tents made a showing again.

Phase 4 Race preparation
We made our first visit to the Tully Bar for Lamb Stovies in front of the fire and many discussions about ... well I cant really remember, except meeting Richard - Michaels partner in Lilo.

Phase 5 The paddle
After dropping off a vehicle at Perth we returned to Dunkeld for the start of the race. Nervous thoughts calmed by meeting a few friendly faces from the DW.

We dropped into the river above the bridge in Dunkeld. Unfortunately Michael and Richard had been unable to wait for us at the start line, possible because of the strong current or a strong determination to win above all else. The first section if the river was a nice easy start drifting down the river admiring the tress on the bank and the hills behind. Then we hit the rapids at Campsie Linn, well, we decided to take the "Chicken run" around the side. Next was Stanley Weir. This is where the fun starts, you drop down the weir into a mass of mixed up waves. Brilliant.

That is me in the front that is...

Phase 6 Recovery
We returned to the campsite all fairly shattered. It was only 3pm but we decided to shift our time clocks forward by 2 hours. This meant as it was 5 we could go to the pub and go to bed at 9. Graham had joined us again to review our efforts. This seemed to involve mainly shaking his head sadly at us.

A sign of a great trip is the enthusiasm to repeat it. The was no shortage of this as we said goodbye. It was just a question of how and with who. Without question The Tully Bar will be involved.