February 2009

Started working in Perth!! Drove out the first morning and could see the hills around Creiff, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin all covered in snow!! Does it get better than this??

Oh yes it does!!! Celtic rock band Wolfstone have been in touch and have offered signed CDs for raffle. Even better….I’m going to meet the band at a concert in Pitlochry!! Me and Michael are also going to a special concert at the Concert Hall in Glasgow!!

It’s a good month for sponsors……. Gleneagles Hotel have donated a round of golf for 4 on the Ryder Cup course worth £620 and Rab Extreme Clothing are giving me a jacket and sleeping bag!! Haven’t picked them yet. I would say that the list of sponsors has actually doubled this month, with positive replies from companies as diverse as you could imagine….. from Tunnocks as in the Caramel Wafers and Grassroot Organics in the West End of Glasgow to Icebreakers (Merino tops) and Graingers. I even had a positive response from the HBOS branch manager in Perth yesterday!! I’m handing sponsor forms in on Monday along with details of the challenge. To top it all, I spoke to Chris Tiso on Thursday!!! By chance, he was in the Tiso Experience (Glasgow) and I got wind of it, so I just phoned him…. gave me his email address!!

While there have been ma companies that have said no or not bothered to reply, nothing tops the outdoor company OMM. They specialise in rucksacks and I had been recommended to use them and the design would alleviate stress on my neck and shoulders. I bought an OMM Jirishanca 35 which is a great piece of kit. Very lightweight and perfect for day walks or even lightweight overnighters. However it’s going to be too small for May and I was looking at the Mountain Mover or the Villian. Janet emailed them and got a very positive response, they would supply one at a reduced price. However this is where things took a bizarre turn…..after more positive emails, they retracted their offer, citing that they are donating a whopping £6000 to MRT this year!!! I emailed the person involved but have had no response. Odd!!

Never mind, Rab have outdone them!!

On the training front, things are going OK. I’ve joined Bannantyne’s in Perth, it’s an excellent gym, a bit steep at £48 each month, but it’s the best in the area. My hip is still giving me problems. I’m back on Diclofenic and receiving Physio at the NPTC, Auchterarder. It’s a case of “Training through the Pain”!!

As for time on the hills, I managed to finish the 2 Munro’s at Balsporran Farm to the west of Drumochter Pass last week. The previous attempt, I had to turn back, not because of the conditions which were pretty bad, I just ran out of time and would’ve missed the return train. This occasion couldn’t have been different and I finished with 2 hours to spare. After a brisk 4 miles form the station I was up and down in 4 hours, impressive!! I just had to spend a couple of hours by the fire in the Dalwhinnie Inn!! Must have something to eat in there next time, the menu looks impressive. I’d spoken to the owner, Calum, before. He’s going to help out when I pass through in May. I can meet the support team, have a shower and a bowl of soup, grab the bike then head off into the Ben Alder estate. Perfect!!

At work the other day, myself and my partner Kevin (In the Scottish Police, your partner is called your neighbour!! Never got used to that!!) headed up to Dalwhinnie. I met the gamekeeper for the Cuaich Estate and we were chatting about the track from Meall Chuaich to Dalwhinnie. From what he said, I’m going to take the bike from there to the Inn as well.

Well it’s Saturday 28FEB, I’m heading to work for a 12 hour shift. There’s football on and we’re heading to Inverness, expecting a bit of trouble!! For the first time, the blog’s up-to-date and I’m eagerly anticipating the reply from Chris Tiso!!!

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