Saturday, 17 July 2010

Housing options


Which would you choose? The haunted cottage, or the tents beside the burn?



The tent option comes with wake-up call from the sun at a very early hour:


And running water:




Photos taken by my daughter on her Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver practice expedition in the Southern Cairngorms.

Edited to say that we're off on holiday for a bit. France here we come, via the Ryanair 'bus' to Bordeaux. I'll look forward to catching up with blogs when we're back.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Skywatch Friday - worth it


When you're slogging uphill carrying a pack that's so heavy that it threatens to tip you over backwards, you need some rewards of landscape and cloudscape along the way.





And once at the top, it's a case of "which hill next?"


Photos taken by my daughter on her Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver practice expedition in the Southern Cairngorms. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is an achievement award for young people, founded in 1956 by the said Duke, who is the Queen's husband. And I have to mention as a proud Moravian that there was a forerunner to the Award, called The Moray Badge, based on the same princples. It was started by Kurt Hahn, the founder of Gordonstoun School in Moray, which the Duke attended.

There are 3 levels to what is known in the trade as 'D of E': Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has 4 sections (plus a residential component in Gold): skills, physical, expedition and volunteering. The length of time each section is pursued for increases as you go through the levels. The Silver expedition takes 3 days and 2 nights, with the nights being spent camping. My daughter's group walked 68 kilometres over their 3 days.

If you look at the link to the expedition pages you'll see that there are designated wild areas across the UK where the expeditions take place. Throughout the summer months if you're out on the hills in these areas and see a group of young people bearing heavy loads the chances are it's a 'D of E' group. My daughter said that when fellow hikers encountered them they smiled and asked 'D of E?'.

Over the course of the Bronze and Silver levels my daughter has had a great time, taking up new activities and learning expedition skills. She's not going on to the Gold award, however, as she wants to focus on music performance in her last 2 years of school. Hill walking is still going to be on the agenda tho.

See more hills, with or without moving luggage, at Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Many mountains to climb


A nameless mountain, somewhere in the Southern Cairngorms. Front view, above. Back view below, after an hour of hard walking with a heavy rucksack.

Photos are from my daughter's Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver practice expedition at the end of June. Practice - the real thing is in October. Brrr.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

12 kuvaa /photos - my walk to work July


The chestnut tree is dark green now. It is high summer. The Water of Leith is more like a series of ponds than a river. Small fish dart about in the shallow water. But turn and look across the walkway to Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat. Clouds are moving in, and the sunlight has taken on a strange pewter tinge - the beginning of the change in the weather to today's winds and lashing rain.


See more from the 12 kuvaa/photos series here.

June:

May:



April:



March:



February:


January:


December:


November:


October:

Friday, 9 July 2010

Skywatch Friday - breezy summer


It IS windier than it used to be. I don't remember from my childhood the constant winds that now blow through our summers. And I was outside then far more than I am now ("Mum, I'm bored." "Go outside and play."). Climate change? I don't know, but it does make for good clouds. The River Spey last week, with mares' tails streaming up over the edge of the world and just touching the peak of Ben Rinnes.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Harl


Many Scottish houses have an exterior finish of harl - a covering of small pebbles, stone chips, or shell chips as here, embedded in what was traditionally a base of lime render. The finish is supposed to offer good protection against the Scottish weather. All sorts of buildings are harled. The Great Hall of Stirling Castle (which is having its limewash re-done this summer), Crathes Castle, and my Dad's house, where I took this shot. We have the shell chip variety of harl. The chips are tiny - I used the macro setting on my camera. I'm rather fond of our seashells, and of sharing a building technique with famous castles.

We've been away for a while getting things organised for my Dad's return from hospital, and helping him settle in at home. Six months is a long time to be in hospital, and he still needs a lot of support. But he has a team of carers coming in to the house 4 times a day to help him make the transition to coping by himself. This amazing service is free. Thank you, National Health Service.

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