Sunday, November 4, 2012

Auto-socks Rock

Excitement and adventure on our shopping trip!

Yep, last night we pulled ourselves over the bealach with some drifts getting to about 2' and covering at least half the road. It was sleety, rain at sea-level at about 21:30 and the sign didn't say road blocked; so, we gave it a go!

After coming to a sliding, spinning halt just at the 1:4 section (the bit that leads straight up to the hairpin bends) in about 3'' of snow I put the auto socks on (front wheels only), and rolled back onto the road. We had a hairy minute or two there: the back wheels had spun sideways, coming to rest with one just off the road. Of course this meant reversing with the front wheels having to go just off the road too. In fact the snow was thick enough to stop us from just rolling backwards and I needed some power to get us moving! After a getting all four wheels back onto the road (without sliding into the corrie), we were ready to continue our ascent!

After some initial slippage, we drove, slowly and carefully, straight up the 1:4 section, around all the bends and right over the top without slipping or sliding. The socks actually came off for some reason as we passed through the deepest drifts on the top, just past the viewpoint, behind the 'rotten rock', but the Yokohama's on the front seemed to keep us on track through the descent.
Autosocks certainly do the trick. Haven't given the chains the same sort of treatment, but for ease of use the socks scored 10/10. For getting us up and on with our journey they scored 10/10. They just let us down by coming off through the deepest drifts.

I'm going to question the company that distribute them in this country to see why that might have happened.
Also to see whether there's value in putting them on all four wheels on a 4x4.

There were a couple of points, most notably close to the car park on the top when we couldn't see any of the road markers; hairy moments in whiteout blizzard condition! Visibilty was reduced to about 15m with the headlights.

We were very glad of the extra ground clearance afforded by the x-trail and, of course for the reflective posts...keep the white on your right!

Hope you're all keeping well :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Bike Day

Well amongst other things Zoe got her new bike day. She has asked me to send out a great big THANK YOU all who contributed to this most magnificent machine; she is very happy with it - six gears! These images were taken as she rode to Katrina's this morning.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Back from Edinburgh

Well, Just got back from Edinburgh; in fact, it was 01:00 this morning when I walked through the door. A great week doing Certification in Reality Therapy, successfully.

I managed a couple of runs, one around Arthur's Seat in a howling gale and the other around a loop in the North of the city. The run around Arthur's seat was only about 4 miles and I used my Merrell Trail Gloves for that; I have been around that route in Xeros but found them a bit fiddly on the steep down hill section over rough ground. The run in the North was interesting as it goes up a hundred metres or so quite quickly, within the first mile or so and then there is no significant uphill at all for the remaining five to six miles; everything is flat or gently downhill :-) Perfect for the Xeros. The one thing that didn't work for me was the wet, every time I've used the Xeros to run five or more miles in the wet I've got a blister under the 2nd toe on the right foot. Definite slippage that doesn't happen in the dry!

Found a fantastic little smoothie bar near where we did the cert week. It's right at the end of Bruntsfield Terrace and it's called Juiced Up, run by a lovely woman who really knows her stuff. I got to try Spelt wheatgrass; which I think should be called s-wheatgrass - still tastes likes raw peas but much sweeter than plain ol' wheatgrass. That and adding tahini and apple juice to a breakfast smoothie - another new one for me.

Check out the links below:

Other new things I've been trying are hemp milk and almond milk; great tasting alternatives to bovine baby food! Yep, I've been reading Scott Jurek's eat & Run, great book, well written full of great nuggets of advice and information. Now reading Running with The Kenyans, Ill let you know how I get on with that one soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Some last!

Run Andrew, run
Well, its worked out pretty much just as forecast. Occluded fronts with tight-ish isobars have meant cloud at sea-level being blown in at around 15 knots. So it was on with the waterproofs and out with the kites.

Less pull up high!
What else were we going to do?
So, in the field just across from the house, with a good fetch right the way from the Isle of Skye Andrew, Zoë, Grandad and I went out to see whether the Flexifoil Buzz would drag Andrew across the field. Not quite, he ended up on his belly once but mostly got pulled across the field as in the top picture!

Perhaps we should try in a 20 knot wind next time or get a bigger kite! Zoë took a small pocket kite, but its not very good and she gave up fairly quickly and I feel she's still a bit small for the Buzz.

Rain for a couple of days and then back to dry weather for the rest of month...apparently.
It's on the ground again Dad!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still dry!

I think there may have been three days rain since my last post! One notable effect has been the absence of 'the midge'. I was out on a training exercise with some guys from the expedition team last week at Ardheslaig. It was overcast, warm and still...normally a recipe for lots of jungle formula, midge nets and/or running around in circles frantically flapping arms/hands/various appendages; however, we were sitting down chatting away about our day's activity in total peace and quiet, how strange! This set me thinking about how a continued dry summer would impact the total midge population of Applecross (as other areas haven't been as dry). If this continued through to the end of the summer and the first frosts, then potentially there would have been very few breeding midge, which would have a huge impact on every creature that has come to depend on the midges as a food source. From spiders and bats right up the food chain. There's no telling how it's affected this years migratory birds, but I know that there are far fewer swallows, swifts and martins around our house than in previous years.

On a different note, I have now taken my running into a new direction with huaraches from these sandals are the closest you can come to coating the world with a quarter inch of rubber and running barefooted. So far, I have managed a varied four miler and a road run of six miles with no ill effects (blisters, chafing, etc) and have worn them everywhere for the last week.

Andrew & Zoë have had a week's holiday already and seem to be having great fun. I've joined them for a few days already, but am looking forward to spending more time with them next week when their grandfather comes to visit. At the week-end we all walked to Uags with Andrew's friend Finlay and spent a night in the bothy there. On the walk back we saw an eagle, an alpine newt, a toad of some description, lots of orchids and dragonflys and generally had a good time playing games and flying our kite. Unfortunately, lack of foresight to take a camera means no pictures, but we had a great time. More trips planned for the rest of the holidays.

A bientot,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Four months later...

Yes, it's been quite a wee while now. We've been having some lovely bright, dry weather; not hot, but dry and bright.

Zoë has lost teeth

 Andrew bit right through his tongue at Kyle play park. 

This is Andrew cleaning his tadpole tank before going to school.

They (the tadpoles) stopped eating when they started crawling out of the water, I suspect they wanted live food and the few worms we could find weren't the right sort, so they were released into a pond to further the future of frog kind.

So, we're all keeping well as you'd expect.
I've run over Ben a'Chlachain and Sarah ran 10 miles to Sand and back.

The children are back to school tomorrow, Highland Council don't seem to have the jubilee public holiday. Still, I've got a day off work which will give Sarah and I a rare day off together without the children...should be fun!

That's all folks,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First Snows

Well, the trip to Edinburgh went well with some skatepark action and a fair old dose of retail therapy. We visited Transgression skate park and Saughton skate park. The children did very well and coped with all the others speeding around amazingly well.

The first few snow flurries for what seems like ages (definitely since christmas) have arrived. Nothing is settling at sea-level and I don't suppose it'll last very long...we'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zoe speacking. How are you question
I am fine
I have just got home from school smile
On the HOLADAYS I am going to Edinbragh.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Hi I am Zoe I have just got back from Highland dancing and eaten my dinner and brushed my teeth razzbiggrin. I am excited about the Holidayswink. I am hoping we are going to see grandma & grandad. Please go on are blog again exclaim. Dad just raised his voice at Andrewsad but he will be OK confused. anyway who are you question please tell me. But I shall go now.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Hi all biggrin

Hoping that you will have a look at Andrew & Zoë's school

You should be able to comment on their posts.

That's about it for now.