Friday, 17 April 2015


The University of St Andrews has a lively array of traditions, from Raisin Monday (can't possibly explain in a few words) to May Dip (students run in to the freezing North Sea at dawn on May Day).  Courtesy of a resident source,  here's another tradition - the Kate Kennedy procession. Students in the procession portray characters from the University's 600 year history, including Robert the Bruce, John Cleese, Mary Queen of Scots and Rudyard Kipling.  Kate Kennedy herself was apparently the niece of Bishop Kennedy, the founder of the University's St Salvator's College.  The character of Kate is played each year by a first year male student. 

It was the end of a long working week during which I had written goodness knows how many thousand words when I wrote this post, and my brain rather ran out of words at this point.  So this paragraph is an update to the original, to mention that the university's Kate Kennedy Club, which stages the procession, originally only accepted male members.  The club is a mixture of charitable good works and highly selective entry processes.  Prince William was a member when he was at St Andrews.  When the first female Principal of the university, Louise Richardson, arrived in 2009, she withdrew university support for the club because it excluded students on gender grounds.  By 2012 the club had abandoned its men-only policy.  The Principal has been involved in another gender issue: the university's Principal is traditionally made an honorary member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews.  However because she is a woman the Club refused to extend membership to Professor Richardson. Recently the Club voted to admit female members, but Professor Richardson was not among the first 15 women admitted. Small minds.  Gie them laldie, Louise! 

Back to the now calmer waters of the procession.  Horses are involved.


As are bishops.

I wish I could tell you who these characters are.  A rich mixture.

And of course when there are horses involved there is always the moment when someone doesn't look where they're stepping.

Monday, 6 April 2015

A proper walk

As promised, some photos from a 'proper' walk, involving a hill of a decent height.  They're from my daughter's recent trip to Skye with her university hillwalking club.  For once they had decent weather - they seem to have spent the autumn and winter walking inside a cloud - but on this occasion the clouds fled and she actually got sunburnt.  

The shot above is looking towards the bridge linking Skye to the mainland.  Before the bridge was built the crossing was made by small car ferries,  of the turntable sort that still make the crossing at the south end of the island.  We crossed on one of these on a summer visit to Skye a few years ago.

The shot below is looking towards the destination for the day's walking - the Storr and the Old Man of Storr.  The Old Man is the pinnacle you can see halfway down the slope to the right of the shot.  My daughter's group walked to it up along the ridge leading from the left of the shot.

And here's the Old Man from up top.

And one of those 'it was worth it' views.

A glimpse of sunrise, from the hostel the group stayed at.  The sun is rising over the mainland of Scotland. 

And to finish, some deer posing for photos.   

Unfortunately the group's latest walk again encountered clouds, made more challenging by the fact that it was the annual fancy dress walk.  Anyone who encountered bizarrely-clad walkers on a Scottish mountain recently - one of them was mine.


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