Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lovely Moonlight

This morning the frost was thick on our car and grass around the house. The thermometer read minus 5 degrees celsius, it was 05:50 and I was running!

It was absolutely beautiful. The moon was at about waxing Gibbous and 98% of it's disc was visible and was quite low in the sky. In fact, I ran in the shadow of the mountain until I got around the headland and it nearly blinded me. I left the headtorch on the doorstep there really was no need for it! A good morning, six miles in 50mins and 15 secs. There was no frost as I climbed up the coast road out of the glen, none at all. As soon as I had about fifty feet of height the frost disappeared and down came the hood and out came the hands (from my sleeves where they had been hiding).

I count myself very fortunate that a friend and colleague has left me their heart rate monitor and road bike to train with whilst they are away in the UAE on a contract. This should provide a little relief for the running muscles but still enable me to keep up the aerobic training. I found that my maximum heart rate seems to be around 193 BPM, my resting hear rate has dropped to about 50 BPM and to run six miles in fifty minutes it averages 164 BPM. All extremely interesting to you all I'm sure. I'm fascinated by it; however, I'm not going to let a sophisticated wrist computer dictate how I enjoy my running/cycling.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Definitely Chilly!

Everything that had thawed or been pressed was frozen to ice this morning. The area in front of the house was like an ice rink! Sarah is not feeling well and I've taken the day to look after Zoe, we tried going to Lochcarron but had to turn back after several episodes of getting to fourth gear on the spot with the wheels spinning and the car began to slide backwards! Eventually, I found a place to turn and we made our way back down. The weather is beautiful - bright sunshine, blue sky etc, etc.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The slushy, sugary snow that we finished the day with on Sunday froze in the -6 degree overnight temperatures creating amazingly slippery conditions this morning. Sarah and Zoe could not get to playgroup and they didn't get the hill open until mid-day.

Last night the slushy snow slid off the roof in mini-avalanches for an hour or so. I guess that as it froze it contracted and lost whatever adhesion it had and made a great whooshoing sound as it slid off the roof!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Interesting Weather for a Run

Yep, it's been snowing.

The temperature this morning was a balmy -4 degrees celsius and there was a good inch of snow on the ground. I decided that an attempt on the hill was probably not sensible and opted for a run around the coast road.

I was out of the door at about six and for the first time I beat the snow plough to it and had fresh snow for the first two-and-a-half miles. Right enough it turned to slush after that, but the fact that it was possible to run without a light which with no moonlight and overcast skies was quite fantastic.

As the twilight started, shadows became evident and despite the sleety drizzle and wet feet it was enjoyable: worth getting out of the front door. The halfway point for the run was the top of the hill on the approach to Sand (200ft of ascent).

I've been lent a heart rate monitor by a colleague at work and Sarah has been given one by her friend, Seonaid. So, we've gone from no HRM's to two, no, three (Seonaid also gave Sarah a basic non-recording one as well as a good one) and it has been interesting working out how much effort is involved in our running.

Sarah went out at mid-day to complete the same run. She had to contend with drizzle/rain and thawing conditions for most of her run. She has been off the running because of a cold/chesty cough for the past three weeks. Apparently, the rule of thumb is that if the cold is above the shoulders its okay to run, not if its below!

The cats had their second inoculation yesterday, after Andrew's swimming lesson and serendipity was on our side.

We found a fish and chip shop in Portree and I didn't have my money, so I told Sarah we had to be careful how much we were spending. Anyway, I left to get some money for two fish suppers (Sarah had Lemon Sole in breadcrumbs) and two portions of chips.

When I got back the chap behind the counter (who was doing all the frying himself) asked for £4.95. I had to ask him twice how much it was; apparently, Sarah had got a loyalty card (on our first visit) which entitled us to half-price meals :-)

The laptop is going to the menders; well, it should have gone last Monday. but owing to a bloke called Mohammed in a Delhi call-centre its been sitting on a shelf at work for a week!
HAving to use the old desktop PC which I'm loathe to leave running all the time: it consumes a lot more power than the laptop!



Monday, November 17, 2008

Jogging or Running?

I needed to publish this post for my own benefit as much as to keep anyone else informed of what I've been doing. My jogging has been going well. I stopped trying to run five/six days out of seven and reduced it to every other day, I've noticed the benefit of doing this. Mainly in not feeling so tired, probably because running at six in the morning means getting up at five-thirty which makes for long days.

For a while (about two weeks) I was managing eight-miles in the mornings and did one ten-mile weekend jog. The furthest I have ever done, it felt great. I now feel confident that I could manage thirteen miles at a reasonable pace. I'm aiming to do that sort of distance at about six-and-a-half miles per hour, which would give me a time of two hours. Pretty reasonable target, I reckon, as I managed an hour and a half for the ten miles (nine-minute miles).

Lately I have been jogging six miles in the mornings; however, I surprised myself by managing this in under fifty minutes (personal best: 0:48:12). Doing an average seven-and-a-half miles per hour, topping out at nearly eight miles per hour (if I get much faster I'll have to start thinking of myself as a runner)!

This Sunday was a beautiful, clear November day and I was determined to try something a little different, so I headed off to run for one hour (30 mins out then turn round). I found myself heading up towards the Bealach (if you do not know what the Bealach is see below). I had set myself a half hour out time-limit and there I was after twenty-nine minutes and thirty seconds - three and a quarter miles away and six-hundred feet above sea-level. The run back down was exhilarating. Not least because at one point I thought I was goigng to end up going so fast I'd end up going head over heels. The final approach to the cattlegrid was a killer; flying downhill as fast as your legs can go when you get about fifty metres to slow to walking pace to cross a cattlegrid thankfully, the gradient eases slightly. Anyway, I finished the run with a mile along the flat - a decent warm-down. Home to well-deserved bowl of soup and a freshly-baked loaf all amde by Sarah Andrew and Zoe.

Final figures: 6.5 miles - 760 feet ascent in 2.3 miles (1:16) in 52 mins.

So, the jogging/running progresses. I've lost a stone and a half since August and am determined to keep it up through the winter, no matter what the weather throws at us (well, I might wait for the slightly better days)!

The Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle)
A road runs over the Bealach (bee-yalach) from Tornapress in the East to Shore Street (there is no village called Applecross, it is the name of the peninsula) in the West. Heading up from Shore Street (by the Applecross Post Office) the road goes from 14 feet above sea-level to 2060 feet above sea-level in 5.34 miles (a very long hill with some parts steeper than 1:5)! On the other side it drops back to almost sea-level in about 5.75 miles, descending into the Coire na Ba in a series of tight hairpin bends. It's already been shut this year owing to snow blocking the road!

Well that's it for now. Hopefully it will not be six months before I post again, I'll try and fit one or two posts in before Christmas.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn is here

The weather is definitely autumnal; however, it's staying fairly mild, which is a blessing at six-in-the-morning.


Well, the running has taken an upturn. I've lost a little weight and feel fitter. Manging six-miles in the morning before work most mornings and getting in under the fifty-five minute mark. Somewhere around fifty-two is proving usual. I haven't got a clue how I'm ever going to knock ten-minutes off that or double the distance.

I guess, that doubling the distance seems more realistic than getting faster.
Floyd Patterson used to run marathons so there goes my excuse of having the wrong build!


Had the most exciting days fishing for absolutely years. Waves were crashing into the rocks at my feet occassionally sending spray right over me and the Pollack were taking a Mean Popalot, tried a Saltwater Chug-a-Bug with no success, changed over and had a two-pounder within minutes; right out of the impact zone, in about two feet of water! Sometimes the fish were throwing themselves out of the water in an attept to get the lure.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's been a while since the last post...mmmm looking below it's almost exactly two time flies.

So, what's happened since we returned from our peregrinations in France. Well, autumn has arrived in the highlands, Zoe has turned three years old and I've taken up running/ jogging. When does running become jogging? Or, for that matter where is the line between walking, jogging and running...I don't know but in the last month I've progressed from a mile-and-a-half to six-miles before work and managed to lose about ten kilos in the process. I do feel much better for it, I must admit.

It seems to have given me some energy to do other things, like going fishing in the evenings. I've taken to shallow lure fishing with plugs around the area where the waves crash into the rocks at the bottom of the coastal cliffs. Quite exhiliarating when there's a bit of a swell! Limited success so far, just a few samll Pollock to show for my trouble; however, I think it's great fun even when I don't catch anything.

Back to the running/ jogging thisg. I guess running nine/ ten-minute miles qualifies as running whereas running below twelve minute miles would probably qualify as walking/ jogging. I certainly managed to walk at 4.8 mph speed over five miles. I guess it's probably a personal thing, some may like to call it one thing and others another...?

Zoe had a lovely birthday, she spent the morning in Lochcarron playgroup. Sarah baked some cakes to take over for a small party and in the afternoon we had a birthday dinner with jely, ice-cream and cakes to finish. We all watched WALL-E before the kids went to bed.

As I said Autumn has arrived and the trees are turning, I'll post a few photos later.

That's all for now,


Sunday, July 20, 2008

En vacance but not in Provence! Having travelled from Applecross to the Dordogne (in several days I hasten to add). We took two days to get to London where we spent a restful day before catching the ferry and travelling to Orleans (S of paris). Unfortunately, the campsite we had planned to stay at was shut fro refurbishment and a last minute dash around the countryside found us at Parc de les Alicourt a 4* centre parcs type affair. Never again. We left there pretty sharpish, it was completely inundated with Dutch and parisian 'campers' who wanted bars and discos with gangs of (well-behaved bu noisy) teenagers roaming the site :-(
Serendipity in the form of an unscheduled visit to Argenton-sur-Creuse (because we missed the turning for Orleans and couldn't be bothered to look for an alternative route) and the first campsite we saw was a quiet, shady and grassy 3* campsite where we spent a couple of nights. The tipi was great; however, I do not remember camping including a laptop (Horton hears a who) and popcorn at night. Still, it was good!

Then a drive to the Dordogne where the temperature that met us was 35.5 F! The first thing we did when we arrived was got into our swimming gear and dived into the swiming pool.

See the photos in the web album.

I'll be uploading more pictures as we go.


Bon Vacances

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summertime...and the living is...

Perhaps it'll stay nice all day today! Sarah is off to Lochcarron to see her friend Seonaid and his son Oran. Andrew has been looking forward to this for the last few days. The prospect of a day in the office isn't exactly enthralling; but, another day another dollar.

Currently, I have no news about my job prospects. I expect that I will hear whether the bid to fund my post on 8th August or more likely it'll be on the 11th which is when I go back to work after the holiday.

Talking of holidays, we're starting our preparation to leave on Sunday.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Once again the misty drizzle is with us. This time we have stronger winds which are preventing it from being wet all the time. However, the wind is from the north.

The hill in the pictures is Ben A'Clachain which rises to 620m+ a bit further to the right of the picture. The part that can be seen is 300m+ high.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Oh yes, the sun is closer at this time of year

I had forgotten. When the sun comes out it feels quite warm indeed!

You can see shadows on the ground and the colour of the rock on Ben A'Clachain.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Where is it?

For those who do not know where the Robins' Nest is it's approx. 250 miles North of Glasgow and exactly 81 miles due West of the nearest Tesco, Cinema, etc.

To get there you have to travel the longest hill in the UK sea-level to 2053 feet and back to sea-level in approx. 11 miles! The Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle).

After six years here we're kind of used to it, but when I say that Andrew is going to swimming lessons every morning this week you'll appreciate what an undertaking that it is. I guess it requires a certain amount of commitment to put up with the lack of conveniences, because that's how we see the things we used to take for granted when we lived in Wandsworth, London...conveniences, not essentials!


Hurrah, Sunshine & Showers

Yes, finally after what seems like more than a week the cloud has broken! The forecast is for sunshine and showers, occassionally heavy. Andrew is having a course of swimming lessons. He has been going to Kyle swimming pool every morning for a half-hour lesson.

He's getting better and can now manage a width of the pool, five-metres, and can swim through hoops from a crouching dive!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What A Lovely Summer

Actually raining this morning, quite heavily.

We won a tipi from a site that I bought a tipi from (typical), buy one get one free, not exactly the kind of offer one looks for with tipis. Still, nevermind, anyone want to buy a brand new 4-6 person tipi?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Improving by degrees

We did get out of the house yesterday, it was only for a short walk along the river. The rest of the day was indoors-play!

Well the view from the window is markedly better than the previous two days; however, the wind seems to have dropped!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Getting ready for the school holidays

Windy and wet...what a change!

This time it's light rain most of the time with heavy showers passing through.
Definition of a shower: a period of rain that lasts less than an hour!

A slow start to Sunday, hurrah for the school holidays. Less need to rush around meeting deadlines: breakfast, washes, packed lunches, stories at bedtime, etc. At last a chnce to relax and take things as they come. Two lively children indoors a lot of the time is a recipe for a headache! Thankfully, full waterproofs and wellies are at the ready.

Will try and go puddle-jumping or something similar later today

I'm off to get their teeth brushed

Will keep you posted.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

What fly is this?

What is it?
I pulled up the window-blind and this flew out!
Never seen one before, can anyone tell me. It flew with it's body dangling below the wings. As you can see it was about 2 inches long!

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Indoor play this morning

Things that we do when the weather stops us getting out, like today!

Hopefully the weather will improve this afternoon and we will get out :-)

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Another day in paradise

Well, this is what I've come to expect from a West Coast summer: that is, mild, windy and mizzling.

Mizzle (n): a persistent misty, drizzlethat gets you wet before you know it!

I hope the wind keeps up, then we won't have to worry about the midges :-)



Friday, June 27, 2008

Brand New Up & Running

Well I've tried this before, on the Yahoo site, but for several reasons it didn't work out. Mostly because I didn't post regularly enough!

Well this time I'm going to try and make my posts shorter and frequent.


He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
Chinese Proverb