Inver-Inver 2012

Inver-Inver 2012

We headed into the dark wet heart of Knoydart at 10 knots. Bottle-nose dolphins leap and surfed the bow wave. The rain lashed down. Some looked pensive while others dispersed the tension with humorous, if somewhat brittle, banter.

Inver-Inver 2012

The Old Forge soon put things to right and after a good night’s sleep we were ready to head into the wilds. Continue reading Inver-Inver 2012

Inver-Inver 2012

The Steeple Church is raising funds for the Church redevelopment project.  Part of the plan is to help raise £10000 by walking and cycling across Scotland from West to East in four days.  You can donate through the following JustGiving account.

  • Friday : Inverie – Roy Bridge : walk 16.5 miles(to west end of Loch Arkaig) and cycle 25 miles
  • Saturday : Roy Bridge – Glen Feshie Hostel : cycle 52 miles
  • Sunday : Glen Feshie Hostel – Braemar : walk 19 miles (to Linn of Dee) and cycle 7 miles
  • Sunday : Braemar – Inverbervie : cycle 58 miles

The actual route taken is more direct than that shown on the map and does a better job of joining the dots (The route shown is approximate).  The support vehicles will probably have to travel the route shown in blue.

Old Friends

After several years apart we finally managed to meet up again.  The Smiths used to live down the road from us in Wimbledon before moving back to Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal in 2007.  Before that I used to live with Daniel in Cape Town and I knew Karen through church in Rondebosch (that’s going back to the last century).  We managed to miss each other in subsequent trips back to SA* and so almost four years have passed since we last met.  In that time there have been another three children and a big birthday.  We managed to catch up at Tamarisk in Elham, Kent for a day while the McDonalds were in London for a wedding.

Elham is a long way from Newtyle geographically but is remarkably similar in that it is a small village in nice countryside.  The water is not as nice as Scottish water as a result of the chalk soils hence the three pubs in the village.

Here we are all together again.  From left to right, Ross, Kirsten, Amy, Karen, Hannah, Daniel, Sophie, Daniel.

McDonalds and Smiths at Tamarisk
McDonalds and Smiths at Tamarisk

* Not quite – I did dig out a picture of Hannah when she was wee at the folks house in Fish Hoek in May 2007.

L’alp d’huez

KevinLuh Alp Doo Hwez.  Kevin just cycled up here.  Twenty one bends all the way up to 1860m from a start at 740m.  He brought his road bike over from Cape Town a couple of months ago and has been training on the London flats for some of the steepest climbing around.  All you really need to go up is heart, lungs and legs.  Coming down, I would think you would need balls too.

L'Alp d'Huez
L'Alp d'Huez from the bottom
L'Alp d'Huez
L'Alp d'Huez from the top

Isle of Lismore

Last week Amy and I took Daniel to stay on Lismore with Jo and David Evans.  They don’t live there but Duncan MacGregor is family and kindly opened his house to us.  Lismore is just off the coast of Argyll near Oban – 50 minutes on MV Eigg gets you to Achnacroich.  From there it is just a couple of minutes up to Newfield (Achadh Ur) farm.

Here are a couple of panoramas I put together showing the view from the farm.  They are 2000px wide.

Towards Oban

From Achnacroich

I’ll load up some more pictures into the gallery when I have a moment.

[edit. the gallery has now been updated]

Penguins?!UsAfternoon picnic

Spring is sprung

Spring is sprung, the grass is ris’

I wonder where my Massey Ferguson is?

As Dad always used to say, back in the day.  Actually, come to think of it he still says that.  And now I am starting to say it too.  The vernal equinox has come and gone, the days are getting longer and brighter and warmer.  And we are heading off to the southern hemisphere to the start of Autumn in Cape Town.  Celebrating family, weddings and Easter in an action packed 19 days.  There is much yet to be done and I should be packing rather than writing this…

We’ll keep you posted.

The Last Mince Pie

Christmas comes but once a year and but once a year do we get to eat mince pies.  The best Christmas mince pie recipe in the world comes from my Gran.  The best implementation of the recipe is, in my opinion, my sister-in-laws.  I’ll justify that in this post using the criteria listed below.  This test is conducted completely from memory on two of the three pies.  I estimate I have eaten at least 400 of Gran’s and Mom’s pies over the years and the distinctive sensory memories are strong.  However, I have most recently eaten Sarah’s pies and maybe those have inluenced my judgement.  In the end though, if you ever get to eat one of the pies made with this recipe you’ll forever want one come the Christmas season.

IMG_4265First Last BiteBliss!So Long! Till Next Year

So, what variables/criteria are considered when assessing a mince pie?  Scored 1 = good, 2 = very good, 3 = best

  1. pastry texture on the tongue
  2. pastry texture on first bite (whole mouth experience)
  3. pastry thickness
  4. pastry taste (both raw dough and the cooked product)
  5. quantity of fruit mince
  6. fruit mince taste
  7. overall taste
  8. overall presentation
  9. a good cup of tea

Continue reading The Last Mince Pie

Dundee Sledging

My godson, Theo, came to stay for a week over Hogmanay.  The visit coincided with fantastic snow and so we went sledging.  Theo had never done it before but after a run on the baby slope (1:8, 15m long) he decided steeper and faster was much better.  Quite right too.  After several afternoon sessions on the steeper slope into the primary school car park we decided to head out to the back country and the BIG slopes.  These are higher and steeper with a longer runout at the bottom.  The transition at the bottom is a bit harsher especially if you are heavier than Theo.


I shot some video as well and I’ll put something up here shortly.  In the meantime have a look at the Christmas Eve sledging Kevin and I did.